Updated: 26/03/2012 07:17 | By motoringresearch.com

80mph motorway speed limit to be trialled

80mph motorway speed limit to be trialled

An 80mph speed limit is to be trialled on up to seven sections of the UK’s motorway network.

Transport secretary Justine Greening has revealed plans will go ahead to test a condition-dependent 80mph speed limit, similar to that in place in other European countries.

80mph speed limit plans revealed

The new variable 80mph motorway maximum will be tested on existing sections of the UK’s road network, with the facility to enforce variable limits through electronic signage – this will include parts of the M25, M1, M6, M42 and M20.

Speed cameras at the relevant sites will enforce the new trial speed, but the units will not allow the normal amount of leeway for drivers exceeding the set limit.

Police guidelines usually state a “10 per cent plus 2mph” margin, however, if this method were to be employed it would see drivers able to travel at 90mph without getting caught – a speed too fast on the UK’s roads in the eyes of the Government.

Road Minister Mike Penning said: “I hope the public are listening to me, because average speed cameras, especially on managed motorways, are ridiculously accurate.

“The argument, which will be in the public consultation, is what we enforce over 80mph. The answer will be that 80mph will be the speed limit, and not, as we interpret it today, perhaps 90mph.”

According to Department for Transport figures, up to 49 per cent of UK motorists gratuitously flout the national 70mph speed limit.

Thanks in part to advances in car technology and safety – as well as road traffic management systems – a 75 per cent drop in road fatalities in the UK has occurred since the 70mph limit was first introduced in 1965.

It is likely that only motorways with three or more lanes will receive the variable 80mph limit, with Ministers using the French motorway system as an example to implement a lower maximum permissible speed in poor conditions.

A study on the potential for the introduction of an 80mph limit, including details of the proposed pilot scheme, will be publish in early summer.

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