IRONIC timing by the Department for Transport (DfT) has seen it release data that shows UK road casualty statistics are at an all-time low and within days confirm recent speculation that it would consult on raising the motorway speed limit for cars, light vans and motorcycles to 80 mph. Road crashes, according to the DfT cost the UK economy an estimated £32 billion a year. One of the benefits of an 80 mph speed limit, also says the DfT, is that the economy will benefit due to shorter journeys times. However, opponents of the 80 mph plan say the rise in the speed limit will result in more road crashes. In addition, the increase will compromise the Government’s ‘green’ agenda with the 10 mph increase resulting in 20% more fuel being consumed and a 20% rise in exhaust emissions. The DfT says it is to consult on the speed limit rise, but the indications from Transport Secretary Philip Hammond are that his mind is made up. The Government is putting a desire to get the economy moving ahead of road safety and environmental considerations.
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