New Speed Limits - Morris Ox
Just read that Autocar is launching a campaign this week to get speed limits changed - urban speed limits down, motorway speed limits up.

Their take is that it\'s in towns that most road accidents causing death or injury occur and that even 30mph is too high in many situations. Traffic calming is only part of the answer, they say, and limits should be lowered in certain circumstances, and certainly be more clearly signed everywhere.

On motorways, Autocar says it\'s commonplace to find people averaging 80mph so why not set that as the limit? The 70mph limit dates back to 1965, when cars had none of the electronic braking aids available today. Their own tests showed a modern Mondeo was able to stop 22 metres shorter than a 1960s Cortina.

Thie suggestion is that we follow France\'s lead and have an 80mph limit in dry, clear conditions, dropping to 65mph in rain, ice or fog.

All sounds like common sense to me. I\'ve said in a number of threads that the measures traffic planners use to slow people down in the urban environment are becoming so complex that they\'re almost self-defeating (too much signage, furniture and baffling traffic calming). Simply signed and thoroughly enforced speed limits are a much better solution.

Ditto on motorways. Why do we persist with a situation where the limit is largely ignored and enforced only above certain thresholds? Change the limit, enforce it strongly.

The floor is yours, guys.
New Speed Limits - SteveH42
I'd broadly agree. There are many, many places where the 30 limit is perfectly adequate and even arguably too low. As long as these are kept at 30 then OK. I do agree that stretches that have, for example, a lot of foot traffic crossing, are in dense residential areas and near schools should be 20 or 25.

My only reservation with having the motorway limit at 80 is that people will then up their speed to 80 - often you see people travelling at the limit rather than at any set speed. This will of course increase pollution and potentially cause more accidents as the slower drivers and lorries will be even more of an obstacle than they are now. I do, however, agree with the variable limits as long as they are sensibly applied. It would really have to be via signage, otherwise you'd get arguments about whether light drizzle counts as rain etc...
New Speed Limits - T Lucas
Hands up anyone that believes the Gov will raise the limit on motorways,it will not happen.
New Speed Limits - Roland Rat
>>Hands up anyone that believes the Gov will raise the limit on >>motorways,it will not happen.

Perhaps it might, T. After all it would be human nature to see 80 as a barrier to be broken and just as now we have people driving at 80 in a 70, surely we'd have 90 in an 80?

Just think of how much more petrol that uses. How much more wear on gearboxes and engines resulting in repair. How much more wear on the tyres, necessitating replacement. And how much more the Government will make on the extra tax it collects on all of the above...
New Speed Limits - Andrew-T
It's true that during the last fuel crisis (can't remember exactly when that was) speed limits were cited as a good way to save fuel. This aspect is pretty well ignored in current arguments to raise our M-way limit. I agree with Ox's and Autocar's proposals from a practical point of view, but I think motorists must allow a bit more thinking than just "I can afford it (including Gordon's swingeing tax) so I'll burn it".
New Speed Limits - bartycrouch
I really can't see motorway limits being raised.

Raising the speed limit could be seen as working against the Kyoto protocol. If looked at from a political view the short-term advantage of raising speed limits would be lost if the Safety lobby also started making links between deaths and the new limit. Even if there were no more accidents there would be a lot more Kinetic energy in crashes.

The only way this is going to appear on a Politician's radar was if there was a concerted lobby from sections of the media and pressure groups.

New Speed Limits - Altea Ego
Cant fault this at all. Agree 100%
New Speed Limits - Marcos{P}
Totally agree with you and the French idea is just common sense. I have found the French Police to be very leniant of fairly high speeds as long as you are driving safely.
As for the lowering of speed limits I think this is great as driving around some residential areas at 30mph can sometimes seem quite fast. The problem here is putting the right speed limit with the right scenario, i.e. a 20mph limit on a road that should be 40mph with a lovely hidden camera is not on but I would welcome our estate's limit bought down to 20mph as the kids are always about.
Probably will never happen though.
New Speed Limits - Nortones2
MO: seems fine to me. Priorities are right, and could release some rsource to monitor urban/rural speeds.
New Speed Limits - Obsolete
In principle I don't have a problem with the proposal, though I will continue to do 70mph on the motorway.

The problem here is putting the right speed limit with the right scenario

Indeed. I see some roads marked as 20 where 20 seems rather low and some roads marked as 30 (usually residential) where 20 is more than enough.

Who sets speed limits? Are there guidelines or do councils make them up as they go?
New Speed Limits - Clanger
You won't have to worry about speed limits any more soon. The day will arrive when a speed limiter will do the job for you. You will pass the 30 sign and the car will slow on its own. How about retro-fitting those electronics to your classic 6 volt VW Beetle?


New Speed Limits - Obsolete
The day is not that far off when you will get in your car, dial in the destination, and then fall asleep, or watch TV, while the car does the rest. The technoology already exists.
New Speed Limits - CM
It should not be too difficult to have variable speed limits. It works perfectly well on the M25 in busy times (albeit that this is lowering not increasing). Why can't we use the matrix signs to post the limit.

For example at 3am on a warm dry summers night why not push it higher than 80?
New Speed Limits - PhilW
There would seem to be a good case for variable speed limits on motorways. This weekend on a very quiet M1 (we were driving late at night and there were very few trucks) keeping to even 80 mph made us one of the slowest cars on the road, yet it seemed perfectly safe that others were cruising at 90. This is a reason why the higher limit works in France - in general their motorways are much less congested than ours. They also seem to view speed limits as a safety measure rather than just a "blanket" limit for all under all conditions so that there are different limits for truck/caravans on "steep" downhill sections, when there is a danger of crosswinds etc. They also sensibly have no overtaking on uphill sections by trucks/caravans which avoids the conggestion caused by left and centre lanes being filled for miles by slow moving vehicles. Add the frequent "crawler" lanes and you have recipe for better flows of traffic. Perhaps safety is the key - where it is safe allow faster flows, where dangerous slow traffic down.
New Speed Limits - cabsmanuk
It just will not happen. No British government would be seen copying Johny Foreigner no matter how sensible it may be.

Keep upright.

New Speed Limits - RogerL
The argument may go on but never be resolved until the EC bureaucrats impose a motorway limit of 130 kph (81mph) across Europe, as they will. Any political party that is even considering dropping Sterling and adopting the Euro will certainly not resist pan-european speed limits.

Just to bother the antis, these pan-european limits will mean that caravanners will also be able to do 81mph, frightening isn't it?
New Speed Limits - Dave_TD
Just to bother the antis, these pan-european limits will mean that caravanners will also be able to do 81mph, frightening isn't it?

But at the moment caravanners are restricted to 60mph on motorways, 50 on NSL dual c/ways and 40 on NSL single c/ways!
This will of course increase pollution and potentially cause more accidents as the slower drivers and lorries will be even more of an obstacle than they are now

But the lorries travel at 56mph across continental Europe, including on 81mph French autoroutes, already.
until the EC bureaucrats impose a motorway limit of 130 kph (81mph) across Europe, which they will

Which begs the question, how much longer before the UK road network goes metric?
New Speed Limits - RogerL

Caravan speed limits have changed in the last 20 years, the current limit is 60 on motorway AND NSL dual carriageways and 50 on NSL single carriageways. Lorries aren't held up currently by caravans because of the differential 56/60 limits. Come on, keep up!

Under proposed EC pan-european legislation there will be no reduction for caravans so 81 will be legal for these on motorways.

I forecast the our roads will go metric at the same time as we change to driving on the right, about 10 years after entry into the Euro.
New Speed Limits - Tynesider
MO cites French speed limits as an excample and also says that if people regularly drive 10mph above the limit then it should be raised. The french universally ignore their speed limits as part of national pride, but the French government has no intention of raising its limits ... so why should we?
New Speed Limits - Morris Ox
I didn't actually say anything; if you read the opening statement I was quoting what had appeared in Autocar.

But...I do agree with them. Put aside any views you may have of the French, as the starting point is not French motorway speed limits but the fact that our own motorway speed limit is effectively ignored by both motorists and the police, a fundamental acknowledgement that people with regular, direct experience of motorways think 80mph is a comfortable speed to travel at (note I didn't say 'safe': I don't think 80mph is likely to be any less safe than 70 as both are fast).

When you realise that 70mph was set for the automotive technology of 38 years ago you can also say with some confidence that the march of progress means vehicles are easily capable of travelling faster and safer: disc versus drum brakes, low-profile radials versus tall cross-plies, independent suspension versus live axles, electronic brake controls systems versus your right leg, CAD deformable structures versus paper calculations, supplementary restraint systems versus non-mandatory seat belts...need I go on. In the average 1960s car (designed in the 1950s in all probability) 70mph felt fast. These days it's like a cruise.

I'd also argue that we live in a world where people are used to things happening faster in all sorts of ways. Not suggesting it was cart and horse in 1965 but motorways had come into existence only six years previously when the 70mph limit arrived and people didn't casually hop on to them and zoom down a couple of junctions to IKEA.

So a variable 65/80mph limit just isn't that big an issue provided it's policed properly. If the government does oppose an 80mph limit I suspect the only reason - whatever it might say - would be that it doesn't want to resource strict enforcement. In the usual British way, it would rather settle for an unofficial turn-a-blind-eye fudge.

That or it will wait until we have a Europe-wide limit.
New Speed Limits - Tynesider
Many countries/states have even lower motorway speed limits than UK despite improved automotive technologies the prime example being 55mph in much of USA and Canada. The reasons behind national speed limits are as diverse as the nations setting them, but as far as I know no country increases its limits merely because they are flouted.
Even in UK there are variable limits on some motorways which are LOWER when traffic is heavy, which perversly improves average speeds. Perhaps these variable limits should be universally applied so that the limit could be higher (say 80mph) in light traffic and lower, say 60mph in rain or even 50mph in heavy traffic. This sort of intelligent application of speed limits could be more widely accepted than a blanket increase alone.
New Speed Limits - Morris Ox
With you all the way on variable limits, but you do have to ask yourself why the limit is consistently flouted and work back from there.

All laws are consistently flouted in one way or another (courts would be empty otherwise) and you sometimes get to the stage where a law is flouted because it is an old law which no longer reflects the situation it is being applied to. If there is widespread 'disrespect' for the 70 limit then we should certainly debate its future.

I don't think there has been any suggestion in this thread that we got for a blanket increase; indeed, an increase in the maximum would for the first time go hand-in-hand with a statutory decrease in certain circumstances.

So this is a multi-faceted solution to a multi-faceted problem.

My only experience of the US is Manhattan, but I'm sure there are states where higher limits apply. Don't know how many though.
New Speed Limits - PhilW
Interestingly, in France there is also a MINIMUM speed limit for the outside lane of 3 lane motorways - it's 50 mph (80 kph). Could we apply this to the M25, M1, M6, M5 et al???
New Speed Limits - Yoby
Interesting Canada and USA was mentioned above - I have just come back from canada where the limit is 110kph on highways and 90 kph in the national parks. I thought this would all seem a slow experience, but with the cruise control selected (most cars have it there) you got used to it really quickly and it did not feel deathly slow. I have decided to have cruise control fitted to my car as it made the motorway drives so much more pleasant as you were not worried about the speed creeping up. Y
New Speed Limits - Andrew-T
I drove in Canada/US for 4 years in the mid-60s, and once or twice on visits since. Limits varied from state to state (in Canada, so did driving licences) but usually seemed low, and were 10 mph less at night IIRC. A few Wild West states had no limit but 'safe and reasonable'.

I think most of this boils down to good old Human Nature. When most traffic sticks to a limit (whatever it is) it will 'not feel deathly slow' as Yoby puts it. When a significant number flout the rule and steal a march on the law-abiders (as usually happens in UK) the why-shouldn't-I effect takes over. Picking up Ox's point, the 30 limit came in in the 1930s (IIRC!) but hasn't been raised since, either. If the M-way limit became 80 or more, I believe flouting would continue, but 10mph faster, as many cars are quite capable of it, as has often been stated. Is that really what we want?
New Speed Limits - chris p crisps ©
Interestingly, in France there is also a MINIMUM speed limit for
the outside lane of 3 lane motorways - it's 50 mph
(80 kph). Could we apply this to the M25, M1, M6,
M5 et al???

you could apply it but you would not often reach such speeds,tooo congested;)



Value my car