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Increasing the speed limit

30 September 2011 No Comment

It’s a signal perhaps of quite how central driving is to the British public, that we’re making such a fuss over increasing the speed limit by 10mph. Some people would suggest that this is eminently sensible, as most motorway drivers regularly do/exceed this speed anyway. Some have also claimed that by giving people this greater license, and thereby making the law less of an ass, we will change gung-ho attitudes in rural and built up areas where people think they can get away with the extra ten or twenty percent on top of the legal limit.

This will form part of a wider cultural shiftin which the excessive speed limit becomes less and less acceptable, as happened with drink driving.

But then if you use this analogy all we are doing here is saying, Well, most people drink a couple of pints and drive. So let’s raise the alcohol limit to accomodate this.

The other reality we have to confront her is that our roads are really too clogged to accomodate the change. If you drive the M1 with any regularity you will recognise the long stretches of roadworks, which restrict you to fifty for much of your journay. 80mph will only ever be possible in in bursts.

The Transport Secretary is phrasing this policy change as a move ot boost the British economy by cutting down journay times, thereby making our lives more efficient. But as any increase in the speed limit is also likely to result in increased fuel consumption, individual consumers will just be spending more money at the pump.

This seems slightly disengenuous of Mr Hammond.

And yes, raising the speed limit does just brgin us into line with other European countries. But then driving in Europe is generally a more pleasurable experience than driving in the UK. That may just be the holiday factor of course. And the traffic around Antwerp can be terrible.