Last month we were pleased to hear the new Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, appear to put an end to the nonsense talk of increasing the speed limit on the motorway to 80mph. It’s dangerous and the logic behind the move – namely, shorter journey times and increased productivity – is downright wrong.
But this week a spokesperson from the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced it’s still considering the idea. Now, not only is the DfT and Transport Secretary throwing out conflicting messages, which is an annoyance in itself, but it means the spectacularly bad idea could still go ahead!
Road safety charity Brake has made it clear that at 80mph more people will be killed and seriously injured on British roads. Plus, the Road Safety Foundation voiced its concern after inspecting all 4,350 miles of England’s motorway network and finding it simply “unsuitable for 80mph”.
Yet not only is there an increased risk of accidents, but the argument at the centre of this debate is that faster speed limits mean increased productivity and this just isn’t the case. The Transport Committee’s report on Road Traffic Speed found higher speeds would do little to reduce journey times on congested motorways and that an 80mph limit might actually increase them due to an uneven traffic flow.
What’s worse is fleets will be forced to fork out even more on their fuel bills as travelling at 80mph rather than 70 uses between 10 and 15 percent more fuel. Can you afford a 15 percent hike on your fuel bill? Not to mention what this means for CO₂ emissions!
So all in all it’s less fuel efficient, has a greater environmental impact, makes journey times longer and could mean more serious accidents – why is this idea even still being entertained?
We think we’re speaking for all fleet managers when we say we’d like to see this idea put to bed now and for the Government to look at the things that will make a real positive difference. For one, try reducing fuel duty which is crippling the industry and stopping the British economy at large from recovering. Secondly, spend a bit of money on improving Britain’s roads which are falling apart. And finally, create truck only lanes which would ease congestion problems and increase fuel efficiency.
Anything but 80mph!