Call to cut speed limit on stretch of M1

Published: 17/01/2014

Part of one of the UK’s busy motorways could see its speed limit cut to 60mph to reduce not road traffic accidents but pollution.

The Environmental Agency is calling for the 32-mile section of the M1 between junction 28 at Mansfield and 35a at Sheffield to have a 60mph speed limit from 7am to 7pm seven days a week. It claims this 10mph reduction will help ‘manage traffic speeds’ and ‘reduce congestion and air pollutants’.

However the proposals have been criticised by motoring groups who fear such a move could prompt further moves on other motorways which will ultimately have a ‘negative impact on business efficiency and individual mobility’.

While this debate continues it’s worth considering if a reduction in speed limit could also help reduce road traffic accidents as well as pollution levels. Personal Injury solicitor Kevin Smith isn’t convinced:

“It wasn’t that long ago that the government was considering upping the motorway speed limit to 80mph.

“Motorways are widely recognised to be the safest type of roads. In 2012 there were just over 9000 motorways casualties compared to nearly 140,000 accidents on other built up roads. Whilst every idea to reduce road traffic accidents should be considered, particularly given that high speed incidents often carry more serious consequences. But it is not clear that a drop to 60mph would have a positive impact on this.

“In fact it could be argued that a reduction in the speed limit could actually result in more road traffic accidents.

“Tailgating is one of the contributing factors to accident on our motorways with 61 per cent of male drivers and 46 per cent of women drivers admitting to tailgating in a survey by road safety charity, Brake, and insurance company, Direct Line. The kind of aggressive driving resulted in nearly 3500 road traffic accidents in 2012. Any kind of speed limit reduction could see an increase in this kind of aggressive driving behaviour.”

Content correct at time of publication

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