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New 80mph Speed Limit For UK Motorways – Lemmings To The Slaughter?

Piston Heads carried an article about government plans to raise the speed limit to 80mph.

An organisation called Brake said, it more or less, that this would be suicide for the UK. Deaths would be up fuel costs would be up.

I have no problem with people coming up with facts and figures but I do not know where Brake comes from with theirs.

Lets look at similar situations in other parts of the world where the speed limit has been increased and see for yourself if you think Brake’s’ claim adds up, ie road casualties will increase with an increase in the speed limit.

The USA abandoned federal setting of speed limits in 1995 and states were then free to set their own limits. This article details what happened.

It is very concise and very informative.


One of the most serious
of a series of methodological flaws in the IIHS
studies is IIHS’s examining only a sample of
the states that raised speed limits, rather than
examining all of the states with higher speed
limits. Using the methodology of computing
the rate of change of fatalities on all roads in
the IIHS sample of states, we found that the
fatality rates were only 1.5 percent higher in
the states that increased the speed limit, not
15 percent higher. The more important mea-
sure of the fatality rate actually fell in the states
with the higher speed limits.14 One year after
the IIHS 1997 report was released, 8 of the 12
states with higher speed limits in its analysis
had a decline in traffic fatalities.

The automobile insurance industry argued
that higher speeds would lead to more acci-
dents and thus higher auto insurance rates for
drivers. Yet during 1997 and 1998 auto claims
and auto insurance premiums have dramati-
cally declined—reversing a decade of higher
costs. Collision claims were down 3.1 percent
in 1997 and bodily injury claims fell by a huge
4.7 percent.15 In June of 1998 State Farm
Insurance announced that it was offering
rebates of $900 million to policyholders
because of the decline in claims and costs.16
This news completely contradicted the
gloomy scenarios laid out by the insurance
industry lobby in Washington before the
speed limits were raised.

On balance, there
is no basis in fact
for the IIHS
conclusion that
repealing the
maximum speed
limit led to a 15
percent increase
in fatalities.

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This page was last modified May 21, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

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