80mph speed limit still on Government agenda

Transport minister Stephen Hammond
12 Jun, 2013 10:00am Graham Hope

Trials of 80mph speed limit could start in 2014, Auto Express can reveal

The raising of the motorway limit to 80mph is still on the Government’s agenda, transport minister Stephen Hammond has confirmed.

In an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Hammond said there would be a major announcement later this year on the prospect of an increase.

The move was strongly backed by former Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, but has fallen down the Department for Transport’s list of priorities under current Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

But Stephen Hammond told Auto Express: “It is not dead. We are thinking about it; we are thinking about how we could trial it rather than go to a consultation.

“I think it would be important to have a good evidence-based trial. We are still working on that and I suspect that we are going to be able to say something on that in the autumn.”

According to Hammond, this could mean trials taking place during 2014.

He continued: “If we are realistic, you probably will not see it happen before the summer of next year. It might need a whole year to put the right regulatory format in place.

“What we want to do is choose the two or three areas where we trial it fairly carefully. It [80mph] has not been lost is my answer.”

Hammond added: “Our philosophy is that we should have the right speed on the right road.”

Philip Hammond was a major supporter of raising the limit, arguing that it could “provide hundreds of pounds for the economy”, generated by lowering journey times.

But road safety charity Brake has been a vocal opponent of plans to increase the limit to 80mph, arguing it is likely to “lead to more deaths, crashes and serious injuries”.

Don’t miss the 19 June issue of Auto Express for the full interview with transport minister Stephen Hammond, where he talks to us about the road network, young drivers, road tolling, cyclists and much more.

Disqus - noscript

good... wish they'd fix some potholes though...

Introduce a motorway test as it is different to driving on A & B roads. How to join or exit motorways, driving at higher speeds, using the lanes correctly, it's about education!

Im not reducing my speed to 80 for anyone ;)

Won't make a bit of difference. Along with many drivers, I drive to the conditions of the road, not to the speed limit.

Agreed. Its about time Pass Plus was made mandatory for all new drivers.

Can we trial it from J33 on the M1 to about J46 please?

True and a great point but it might hurry up some of the other slower drivers who think 60 is acceptable in the middle lane.

three Police cars doing 85 yesterday all together on the m1 so looks like we have 80 mph anyway so it would waste money changing the signs so just not fine drivers for doing 80 to 85

To be fair we may as well. A cop once told me that they wouldn't have pulled me for doing up to 80, was only because I was doing 82 I got stopped, still didn't get a ticket.

I'm going to stick my neck out and say I don't want an 80 mph speed limit. As said here, you can do that speed anyway if you want to. However, fuel economy drops sharply between 70 and 80 mph, so for very long journeys I always stick to 70 mph.

If the speed limit was 80, I probably wouldn't be able to do this, as the road would divide into those doing 55-60 and everyone else doing 80-85. At present, especially on quieter motorways, it's easy enough to cruise at 70 without getting in the way of folk doing 80, or getting held up by trucks etc doing 56, My guess is that about 1/3 of the traffic drives below 60, another 1/3 at 70 and the final 1/3 at 80+.

Change the limit to 80 and I suspect the dynamics would alter significantly, and not necessarily for the better. Especially if more people push it to 90+ with so many slow trucks on the road doing the "10 mile overtake".

If it's the national limit, then there'd be no signs to change.

Except in Scotland, where for some reason they sign motorways at 70mph specifically.

I really don't understand UK's speed limits and mentality,,, Cars' safety has evolved alot in the last 50 years!!

I'm Portuguese and never drive on the highway doing less than 85mph and usually drive around 100mph. Our speed limit is 75mph but there are no tickets below 90.

Just get 3 lane highways and raise the limit for each lane so that the middle lane requires 60 and the 3rd lane requires 75...

On the flip side, if it's dry and 10 at night and the motorway is deserted, you could potentially drive at the speed the conditions dictate without fear of being pulled over for driving 'over the limit' but without being a danger to anyone whatsoever.

Agreed, although they shouldn't be in the middle lane if the inside lane is clear (and that applies whether they are doing 60, 70 or 150...)

80MPH is he "off his rocker" who just does 80MPH today????? On motorways, answer.

"But road safety charity Brake has been a vocal opponent of plans to increase the limit"

That's because they have no real interest in road safety - it's a travesty to label them as a road safety charity. They're an anti-car group that uses emotional propaganda to gain support and donations. Any illusion of a focus on road safety is entirely incidental.

If they were genuinely interested in road safety they'd be *vocally* campaigning for better driving standards, less potholes and a crackdown on unlicensed drivers.
They show their hand by what they don't say...


My wife got three points from a camera van on a motorway bridge for 79. The prosecution threshold in my area is 10% + 2 (i.e that's when they start issuing tickets).

Well IAN, I would have disputed that for sure, I have been doing 80 ish and pasted many times by Plod and not got a glance.

Why does BREAK try to regulate the rest of us? motoring policy in England should not be their concern, and a government representing the majority should not listen to them, they are probably all ex transport 2000 crack pots anyway.
All 80mph means is that you will not now get a ticket for driving at that speed, 80 mph is quite a normal speed which modern cars and drivers are comfortable with.

What John said.
South Yorkshire is 10% + 3

Oh fully agree. But you know as well as I do those who think 60 is acceptable on a motorway anyway will prob be in the middle lane too.

No, it was some scumbag in a Talivan", not a "proper" copper. I've never been bothered by one of those for under 85.

It must have been fun driving a drum braked,terrible engined car at 70 mile an hour in 1967, I can still remember the struggling Vauxhall Victor my dad had. It's about time in my opinion and it should be 100 MPH, it would force people to concentrate instead of "going to sleep" at a constant 70MPH.