National speed limit may be cut

* Could be cut by 10mph on some roads * Up to 250 lives could be saved each year * Motoring groups raise concerns about plan...

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What Car? Staff
09 March 2009

National speed limit may be cut

The speed limit on rural roads in the UK may be cut from 60mph to 50mph.

Government ministers are considering a plan to change limits on "non-built-up single-carriageway roads" that make up more than 50% of the national network.

Research has shown that such a change could save up to 250 lives a year. The move is also favoured because it would save fuel and cut CO2 emissions.

The lower speed limit would automatically apply to rural roads unless the local authority could demonstrate that it was safe for the 60mph speed limit to remain.

Motoring groups have expressed concerns that cutting the limit could actually result in more casualties on rural roads.

AA president Edmund King said: 'There are many single-carriageway roads where 60mph is appropriate, but local authorities may not bother to make the case for keeping the existing limit. This will lead to frustration and could raise the risk of dangerous overtaking of law-abiding drivers doing 50mph.

'Many crashes on rural roads happen not because the speed limit is too high, but because reckless young drivers lose control.'