The British government is seriously considering dropping the national speed limit from 60mph to 50mph.
There will be an option for local authorities to increase the speed limit on major roads back to 60mph if they can give a good enough reason to do so. Although, as the highways departments of most local authorities seem to be filled with car-hating nazi’s, it isn’t likely to happen very often.
The state propaganda machine kicked into action as soon as the story got out, quoting statistics about deaths on country roads and blaming “speeding” motorists (which includes anyone driving anywhere near the speed limit on a country road) for the deaths.
The BBC are, of course, dutifully mis-representing the facts, telling us that the British government is planning to reduce the speed limit on rural roads. This isn’t the case – the plan is to reduce the national speed limit on all single carriageway roads with average speed cameras to enforce the speed limit.
Jim Fitzpatrick, the British minister for Transport in England, said:
There will be some in the driving lobby who think this is a further attack and a restriction on people’s freedom. But when you compare that to the fact we are killing 3,000 people a year on our roads, it would be irresponsible not to do something about it.
And how many of those 3,000 were killed by speeding motorists? And of those speeding motorists, how many were drink driving, using their mobile phone, playing with their car stereo, doing their make-up in the rear view mirror? I’d be surprised if more than a quarter of those were killed because of someone speeding and no other reason but you won’t get statistics like that out of the British government because that doesn’t fit in with the evil motorists ethos.
He went on to say:
If you look at the figures on rural roads, there are disproportionately more people dying there than on any other roads. The nature of some rural roads, with dips and bends and difficult conditions, means that the 60mph limit is not enough.
So why can’t local authorities use the powers they already have to reduce the speed limit on dangerous rural roads? The national speed limit applies to roads that don’t have a specific speed limit so if there is a dangerous road, the relevant local authority just needs to put a speed limit on it.
Fitzpatrick finishes by saying that:
I’m sure that the vast majority of motorists would support the proposals.
Well, there’s one easy way of finding out isn’t there? Put it to a referendum, I’m sure we’d all love to tell you what we think.
One thing I’ve not been able to determine – and the British government certainly wouldn’t say in a press release – is whether this is another England-only policy being imposed on us by the British government. Transport is devolved, after all, and most single carriageway roads aren’t trunk roads.