Motorway speed limit increase 'could cause more accidents'

UK motorists may be more likely to need convicted driver car insurancein future if new plans to increase the motorway speed limit come into effect, according to industry bodies.

A number of road safety organisations have expressed concerns over new proposals to change the speed limit on motorways from 70mph to 80mph, suggesting it will cause a number of negative repercussions on accident rates and environmental efforts.

Announced by transport secretary Philip Hammond last week, the government's intention is to reduce journey times - thus creating benefits for the country's economy - as well as reflecting the fact that many drivers currently exceed the 70mph limit anyway.

Safety charity Brake was highly critical of this stance, suggesting that this is akin to legitimising lawbreakers and that it will only encourage drivers to travel even faster, while continuing to disregard the legal limit.

Meanwhile, the efficiency benefits of the revised limit were also called into question, with the organisation suggesting this will do nothing to reduce congestion on the roads, while encouraging reckless driving and leading to more collisions and pile-ups.

Mary Williams, chief executive of Brake, said: "The best way to improve our motorways for those who need them, such as freight and long distance coaches, is to reduce cars on them."

This view was echoed by breakdown assistance firm GEM Motoring Assist, with chief executive officer David Williams describing the proposed law as a "disaster" in terms of road safety.

Meanwhile, eco motoring website Next Green Car has observed that vehicles are much less fuel-efficient when travelling at a higher speed, meaning the new limit would also be damaging to efforts to meet carbon reduction targets.

The publication's Dr Ben Lane said: "In a stroke, this would undo ten years of hard work by the industry in reducing new car emissions and makes a nonsense of EU legislation to cut carbon from vehicles."

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