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According to an article on the BBC website, Would Raising the Motorway Speed Limit Make Pile-ups Worse?, the government is keen on raising the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80mph. I accept the point that there are a lot of vehicles on the road that can comfortably travel over the existing limit and, indeed, many that frequently do. However, as vehicles travel faster they also get more dangerous both for the occupants and for the others they share the road with. You might travel smoothly in your sports car at 80mph, be able to hear the stereo with perfect clarity and have an impressively short distance between the instant when your foot hits the brakes and the point when you stop moving but you will still have traveled significantly further while your brain was getting the signal that danger was ahead, not to mention increasing the chance that someone fails to spot your attempt to zoom past and pulls out into your side.

Even apart from the safety consideration there is also the issue that the speed increase will cause a disproportionately large gain in fuel consumption and emissions. If anything, I think people are driving at a slower average speed than they did a few years ago and I am sure it is as much the carrot and stick of environmental awareness and higher fuel prices as the fact there are speed cameras all round the place. Throw into that mix, too, the fact that a lot of people are investing in the tiny cars that are more economical to run and those won’t be cruising comfortably above 70mph and I can’t understand that this is a change in the law that would even justify the time it would take to discuss.

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