Brake strongly welcomes move to scrap 80mph plans

Brake has strongly welcomed news reported in The Financial Times that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is resolved to cancel proposals for 80mph motorways, although an official announcement may not be made until later in the year. However, the Department for Transport has said it will be going ahead with trials nonetheless, to which Brake is opposed.

Brake is part of the NO to 80 coalition, which opposes government proposals to increase speed limits to 80mph on motorways, arguing that it will result in more violent deaths and injuries on roads, increased carbon emissions and an increased financial burden on the public, the NHS and emergency services. Read the evidence against 80mph.

Instead Brake is urging the government to invest in more variable speed limits on motorways, with a top speed of 70mph, as this is a proven way to reduce crashes and casualties at the same time as reducing congestion [1].

Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer, Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We welcome this indication that plans for 80mph limits will be ditched, and congratulate the Transport Secretary for the strength of this commitment to road safety. However, we’d like him to go further, by putting the brakes on any trials for 80mph. The evidence is there that 80mph limits would mean more violent deaths and injuries, so even a trial could lead to more families suffering the horror of a serious crash. Going ahead with trials would be a waste of money, given the weight of evidence that 80mph motorways would not deliver the benefits the previous transport secretary expected, and would instead mean increased casualties, costs and carbon emissions. Instead we would like to see commitment from government to invest in more variable speed limits on motorways, with the maximum remaining at 70mph, as this a proven way to reduce casualties while improving traffic flow.”

Brake enthusiastically welcomes reported halt to 80mph plans

Today the Daily Star reported that Prime Minister David Cameron was ‘ready to put the brakes on raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph’ following comments from new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin that ‘safety is paramount’.

Read the article. Read about the No to 80 campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, said: “We are extremely pleased by this news and hope to hear further confirmation from government soon. Evidence shows 80mph limits would cause more people to be killed and seriously injured on motorways, as well as creating more CO2, while it is doubtful they would lead to significant journey time savings.

“We warmly welcome Mr McLoughlin’s comments that his priority is the safety of road users, and his acknowledgement that managing traffic speed is crucial in preventing needless deaths and injuries. We look forward to hearing more from the new transport ministers on how they will usher in a better era for safety on roads and help to counter the recent increase in casualties.”

The No to 80 campaign is coordinated by Brake and backed by Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Greenpeace, Operation Noah, RoadPeace, Road Victims Trust, The UK Noise Association and 10:10.

Liz speaks out

Liz Voysey is campaigning against the government’s plans to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph. Her only daughter, Amy Upcraft, 19, was killed by a speeding driver on a dual carriageway in 2004.

Amy, from Dereham, Norfolk, had been driving to work on 3 March 2004, in the outside lane of the 70mph A47 in Norfolk. Just five minutes from her home, a lorry pulled out to overtake a moped and hit her, sending Amy spinning across the carriageway and into the central reservation.

Because it was such a busy road she was frightened to get out of the car, and the driver’s door was jammed. She put her hazard lights on, called for rescue and then called her mum to let her know she was unharmed. Amy’s step-dad George, 53, rushed to her rescue and when Liz rang Amy again and got no reply, she followed him. When Liz arrived, she was met by carnage and the sight of her only daughter lying dead, still trapped in her car. A van had smashed into Amy’s car, killing her as she waited for help.

At the inquest Liz heard that van driver Glenn Paraman, then 30, was speeding when he hit Amy. She was told that if he had been under the 70mph limit he would have seen her.

Liz said: “Amy was my only daughter. She was, and still is, utterly precious to me. I was so angry at the driver who killed her. Other car drivers saw Amy, slowed down and went around her. Because he was speeding, he lost valuable seconds he should have used to observe the situation ahead and take the action as all the other motorists had and avoided killing a young and innocent woman. He said he didn’t see her and crashed into her.

“I am utterly outraged the government is proposing to raise motorway limits, and maybe other dual carriageways. The government knows it will lead to more deaths, like my Amy’s. But it seems they don’t care about the families who will have to suffer the indescribable pain of losing their loved one in such a violent, sudden and horrifying way. I’m calling on the government to think about the 25 more families each year that would suffer in the way I have, and scrap their plans to increase speed limits.”

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So it begins

No to 80 launched with a letter to The Times, calling on the government to scrap plans for 80mph motorways given the evidence that it would increase casualties, increase pollution and increase costs for drivers.

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Charities, organisations and companies can join the coalition – email brake@brake.org.uk

At what cost?

No to 80 today published a report highlighting the huge costs to society of the proposal, which it predicts would exceed £1 billion annually in economic terms, mean more families needlessly suffering from motorway crashes and casualties, millions of tonnes more carbon pumped into the atmosphere each year and further damage to tranquillity in the countryside.

Get informed! You can read the No to 80 report here.