UK to raise motorway speed limit – will NZ follow?

UK to raise motorway speed limit – will NZ follow?

“The faster you go, the bigger the mess” and “Speed Kills” are some of the hard-hitting messages we receive through public service television advertising but is going a little bit faster really that dangerous. Over in the UK the powers in charge don’t think so and a new plan has been revealed to increase the open road/motorway speed limit.

The announcement was made by UK Transport Secretary Philip Hammond who revealed the plan raise the national speed limit on motorways from 70 to 80 mph (112 to 128 km/h) beginning as early as 2013.

“I want to make sure that our motorway speed limit reflects the reality of modern vehicles and driving conditions, not those of 50 years ago”, said Hammond. “While we must ensure that our roads remain among the safest in the world, we must also consider the huge economic benefits that can be created by shortening journey times.”

The 70mph law was put in place in 1965, before there were seatbelt laws and modern safety features like airbags and ABS braking. According to data almost half of British motorists already break the 70 mph speed limit and raising it would bring them back inside the boundary. There has also been a decrease of almost 75% in the driving fatality rate since 1965.

In comparison to European nations the UK is off the pace. The Irish and Spanish can drive at 75mph, in France and Italy there is a 81mph limit and German autobahns are unlimited.

Naturally, there are those opposed to raising the speed limit and safety campaigners are already voicing strong opposition.

Could we raise the speed limit here in NZ? At just 100 km/h on the open road it is low by world standards and we have stretches of flat straight open road and motorway where 110 km/h would surely be safe in a modern vehicle. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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