Report warns 80mph speed limit is bad for... everything
Proposals to increase the maximum speed limit will cost lives, harm the environment and produce few of the economic benefits claimed by the Government, a report warns.
Ministers are considering raising the speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways from 70 miles per hour to 80mph as part of plans to cut red tape and speed up Britain.
But public health experts, writing in the British Medical Journal, are "amazed" by the idea, which they insist contradicts international road safety evidence. Comparable speed increases introduced in the US in 1995 led to a 16.6 per cent rise in deaths in road accidents.
Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said there was little evidence to support claims of economic benefits as heavy goods vehicles would still be capped at 60mph. "If the limit moves to 80, most people will drive at 90," he added.
The authors of the report suggested the proposal was nothing more than a "populist gimmick" and wrote: "It is difficult to see how any benefits of an 80mph speed limit would outweigh the costs. Past evidence shows that speed limit increases lead to substantial rises in road deaths, as well as other potential negative health and economic impacts."
Citing the recent crash on the M5 in which seven people lost their lives the authors challenged the Government to provide solid evidence to justify its hopes of pleasing the motoring lobby by raising the limit.
Mike Penning, the Roads minister, said: "[We are] carrying out detailed work to assess the potential impacts of increasing the speed limit and will consult fully on our proposals."
One of the statistical models being used by the Department for Transport suggests that an 80mph limit would lead to a 20 per cent rise in fatalities on the UK's motorways.
Life & Style blogs
Men in tights: getting to the bottom of the latest trend
Night Nurse could put drivers over new drug limit
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Xbox Live down: gaming service breaks itself, but hackers claim credit
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...