80mph speed limits on the way for Dual Carriageways

Earlier this year, in September, Think Insurance brought to you the news that our motorways could be seeing a rise in the speed limits, to 80mph.  Now we bring you the news that this could also be the case for the dual carriageways across the country.

Last night it was revealed that ministers are now focusing on more than just motorways in terms of increasing speed limits in a bid to reduce red tape.

The proposal to increase the speed limits initially came from Philip Hammond, the former Transport Secretary.

It is thought that early in 2012 a ‘formal consultation’ will be launched into raising the speed limits.  The document issued from the Department for Transport, confirmed the following, “We have announced our intention to consult about changing the national speed limit on motorways from 70mph to 80mph. We are also examining whether an 80mph should be extended on a case by case basis to some other dual carriageways”.

This news will be welcomed by many, with some supporters of the proposals claiming that the economy will be boosted as a result of the changes.

As expected not everyone is supporting the plans.  The Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne is against the proposals, claiming it will certainly lead to increased carbon emissions. Motoring and road safety groups are also opposing the plans, mainly because of the current police guidelines which means they are able to issue speeding fines with discretion using the 10% + 2mph formula. Safety groups are worried that if the speed limits are increased to 80mph, then drivers will be able to get away with speeding up to 90mph.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, is in support of the increased limits on the motorways, but is said to be concerned about the proposals for the dual carriageways.  He comments, ‘”Eighty miles per hour on a five star motorway, in a five star car, with a five star driver in good weather, is probably a safe speed. However, 80mph on some lower standard stretches of motorway and dual carriageway is probably not a safe speed. We need to ensure that adequate enforcement and highway safety standards are in place before contemplating increasing speed limits”.

Robert Gifford, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety is in agreement with King, saying, “While I accept that there is a perfectly legitimate case for reviewing the speed limit on motorways, I would be very concerned about extending it to dual-carriageways.

Gifford goes on to say, “These have often been designed for lower speeds and are used by a variety of traffic, often for local journeys. The government should think very carefully before extending such a proposal to completely inappropriate routes”.

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