The Government has officially unveiled plans to increase the speed limit on motorways to 80mph.
There will be a full public consultation later this year, with any changes implemented in early 2013.
Transport secretary Philip Hammond said: ‘I want to make sure that our motorway speed limit reflects the reality of modern vehicles and driving conditions, not those of 50 years ago.
‘While we must ensure that our roads remain among the safest in the world, we must also consider the huge economic benefits that can be created by shortening journey times.’
What the Department for Transport (DfT) says
A DfT statement says: ‘Vehicles have changed dramatically since the current national speed limit was set in 1965. Technological advances mean that cars are significantly safer than they were – contributing to a fall of more than 75% in the number of people killed on British roads since 1965. That is why the Government feels it is now time to look again at whether the speed limit set in 1965 is appropriate.’
The move would also generate economic benefits worth millions of pounds, due to shorter journey times, according to the DfT.
The increase would apply to cars and motorcycles only, with no proposal to increase the speed limit for lorries.
Some stretches of motorway would retain a 70mph limit because of their engineering and environment.
The Government is also considering increasing the speed limit on selected ‘high-standard, near-motorway’ dual carriageways.
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