Car accident rates and 70mph speed limit

The car accident safety charity RoadPeace has opposed calls from the AA to increase the 70mph speed limit on motorways to 80mph.

The AA have stated that the changes, aimed at easing congestion, would affect parts of motorways which have variable speed signs, such as the M25 around London.

The suggestions are now being passed on to the Highways Agency which is responsible for motorways and major trunk roads in England.

AA Motoring Trust director Bert Morris has expressed support for variable motorway speed limits. He said: "The current 70mph limit on motorways works well and should not be altered. However, on motorways where there are variable speed signs a limit of 80mph should be introduced when traffic flow and road conditions permit."

But Mr Morris also added a note of caution, saying there was a need to ensure that drivers did not break the 80mph limit if it were introduced.

However, the suggestions have been criticised amid safety concerns.

Mary Williams OBE, the chief executive of car accident safety charity Brake, said: "The proposal to raise the limit on motorways is irresponsible and flies in the face of road safety advice and convincing evidence from the USA and elsewhere that raising limits increases car accident casualties."

Safety Fears
Paul Watters, the AA Motoring Trust's head of road policy, dismissed fears that the proposal would cause more car accidents: "The changes described would improve safety," he said.

Mr Watters said many accidents stem from the different speeds adopted by drivers, which can vary "between 70mph and 90mph".

He said: "This would recognise what happens at the moment, while trying to get better compliance by using speed cameras."


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