Experts Welcome Report’s Concerns Over Speed Limit Proposals

New Research Highlights Safety Issues

06.01.2012

Serious injury specialists at Irwin Mitchell have backed a new report which has raised safety concerns over government proposals to increase the speed limit on motorways to 80mph.

According to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the move could lead to more crashes, with past evidence showing that the introduction of higher limits leads to a rise in the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

Among the research highlighted was data which showed there was a 16.6 per cent increase in deaths in the US after higher limits were introduced in 1995.

The authors said that, when viewed alongside likely increases in gas emissions and air pollution, it is unlikely that any benefits would outweigh the costs. They added that the government needs to produce evidence to justify the policy and ‘its attendant risks to life’.

Irwin Mitchell’s serious injury team, which specialises in acting for those who have suffered life-changing injuries in road traffic collisions, revealed their concerns over the plans to increase the speed limit when the proposal was first put forward at the end of September last year.

Neil Whiteley, a Partner and expert in such cases at the firm’s Sheffield office, said: “It is vital that the government reacts to this report and puts forward a strong case for making this change before going ahead with it.

“Through our work we have seen the truly devastating impact that high-speed road traffic collisions can have on so many lives and have helped many people seriously injured in such incidents to secure the funds they need for rehabilitation and a lifetime of care.

“At present there is compelling evidence that an increase in the limit could put more road users at a higher risk of serious injury and, potentially, even death.

“We have said all along that the fundamental issue is that the government carries out a full assessment into this issue, as the change may run the risk of undermining all of the work done to improve road safety on the country’s motorways in recent years.”