The Speed Limit At Roadworks Has Finally Been Increased
Frustrated motorists rejoice. Following successful trials, the speed limit at roadworks on major roads has finally been increased…
The Speed Limit At Roadworks Has Been Increased
How many times have you been cruising down the motorway, only to come across roadworks and the inevitable 50mph signs? This is frustrating at the best of times, even more so when there’s not a single workman in sight. Well, Highways England has heard your complaints. Following a successful 18-month trial, it’s decided to raise the speed limit at roadworks (on motorways and major A roads) to 60 mph. As a consequence, you’ll only have to drop 10mph the next time you see hard helmets and traffic cones.
What’s most striking about Highways England’s trials is that they demonstrated that the higher speed limit is actually safer. More drivers were found to stick to the 60mph speed limit than the 50mph limit; a third more in total. Moreover, the efficiency of the concerned roads has improved, too. Motorists were found to have made time savings of between 8% and 14%. Overall, then, the speed limit increase has made journeys faster and the roads safer – for motorists and road workers alike.
Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive at Highways England, welcomed the trial’s results. He said, “road users benefit from 60mph limits in roadworks. They have shorter journey times and feel safe”. He added, “we have a huge programme of work planned, so being able to use 60mph where save will continue to improve everybody’s experience of our roads”.
Will There Be Further Increases?
The speed limit increase is the first in the UK since 1965 – when the 70mph limit was set for motorways. Since then, some politicians and lobbyists have called for this to be raised to 80mph. Highways England has suggested that road capacity would allow for it. Edmund King, President of the AA, has also said “driving at 80 mph at an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front, in a modern car in good weather on a decent motorway is probably safe. Driving at 50 mph tailgating the car in front is never safe”. It’s also been noted that up to half of all drivers exceed the 70 mph limit on motorways and that very few are prosecuted; as a result 80mph is often considered the true, ‘de facto’, speed limit.
Back in 2011, then Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced plans to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph. The plans were dropped due to environmental concerns; and safety fears amongst some sections of the public. Given the increased awareness of the environmental impact of cars today, this would undoubtedly be an even bigger obstacle to a potential increase.
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