It annoys the hell out of me the way “safety advocates” only look at speed limits from the one narrow perspective. I am sure that if we listened to these people, and let them have their way in full, we would all be traveling at 5 kilometres per hour and they would still be moaning. They just will not consider the economic cost of slower transport speeds. Yes yes, I hear them now, whining about how lives are more important than money, in the same way they always raise such strawmen. In fact, lower transport speeds give us lower standards of living which in turn makes all the things that save and extend our lives more unaffordable.
The Transport Secretary in the UK has suggested that speed limits on the motorway could be increased to 80mph (roughly 130 kph) in a bid to increase productivity. Vanishing cash reserves in the UK have made it more important to make every pound and therefore every mile per hour count.
Mr Hammond said that safety might no longer be the sole consideration in judging how fast cars can go and that gains to the economy from shorter journey times should also be taken into account. Britain’s maximum speed limit has been 70mph since 1965 and is lower than most in continental Europe.
Mr Hammond said: “We need to do this on a pretty rigorous cost-benefit basis. At the moment there are a clear set of criteria for making these decisions. Perhaps we ought to ask if we are using the right set of criteria.”
There were 132 deaths on British motorways in 2009, the last year for which full figures are available. In France and Italy the maximum speed limit is 81mph. In Ireland, Spain and Portugal it is 75mph.
Sure makes NZ’s obsession with lower and lower speed limits look lame.