Do Higher Speed Limits Save Lives?

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According to a two year study by the Danish authorities higher speed limits reduce the number of accidents.  To carry out the study the Danish Government increased speed limits on two way rural roads, and certain sections of their motorway network by 6mph (10kph).  When the move was first proposed there was many that opposed it, but the people who opposed it (including the Police) have had to change their minds, as the figures show a reduction in crashes.

The reasoning behind it

The vast majority of accidents are not caused by speed alone, but by the misapplication of speed, dangerous manoeuvring, and risky overtaking.  These are more likely to happen when the difference between the slowest and the quickest cars on the road is greater.  By increasing the speed limit the vast majority of slower drivers have increased their average speed, while it has been discovered the majority of speeders did not.

This means that overall there is less of a difference in speed between various road users, meaning drivers are less likely to feel the need to overtake, and are also less likely to tailgate and get frustrated.

What does this mean for the UK?

Well much like the Danish authorities, proposals to increase speed limits in the UK have been met with much scepticism.  A group who campaigns for increased speed limits on UK roads, the ABD, says this research vindicates what they’ve been saying for years. They also added that those who have argued for lower speed limits have been proven wrong, as all they do is increase driver frustration.

What’s your take on it all?  We can understand why people would make the assumption that cars travelling at higher speeds would mean more accidents, but people who take this view tend to consider speed as the primary factor in most accidents, which completely neglects research that suggests the opposite.

Do you think British road users would feel the same benefits as the Danish drivers.  Do you think imposing a minimum speed limit would also have the same effect, and reduce the speed differential?

Can you argue with the facts?

Speed limits

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