So should they raise the motorway limit to 80mph?

Published: 29 September 2011

So after decades of chat, the Government is finally considering changing the speed limits on Britain's motorways.

The Department of Transport is about to announce a consultation which could see most 70mph limits rise to 80mph, according to the BBC which has had a tip-off about an announcement this weekend.

Britain's motorway speed limits: to increase from 2013

Transport secretary Phillip Hammond is expected to announce the consultation at the start of the Tory party conference this weekend and - if approved - the higher limits would take effect by 2013.

A quick straw poll in the CAR office confirms it's good news all round. Motorway limits were first introduced during the 1960s, and have remained stubbornly inflexible despite increasing safety measures in cars, a lowering mortality rate and widespread rule-breaking by the majority of motorists.

It only takes a few minutes on your average M-way drive to notice that the comfort zone on our fastest roads is nearer 80-85mph. It's seemingly good news that the Government has seen sense.

So it's backslaps all round?

Hardly. We'd expect any higher limit to be more strictly enforced, and it may yet prove that other limits could be lowered elsewhere. A blanket 50mph limit on rural roads has already been mooted and digital speed cameras are slowly encroaching on more of our road network.

As ever, it's not the speed limit that matters, it's the skills deployed by the majority of drivers. And judging by the worrying number of motorists driving in thick fog this morning with no foglamps - and in some instances, no lights whatsoever - the general standard of driving on British roads is far from class-leading.

>> Should the Government raise the speed limit from 70mph to 80mph? Click 'Add your comment' and sound off

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet