Higher speed limits for commercial vehicles on dual carriageways are to become law later this month though in the House of Commons debate Mr Nicholas Ridley, Secretary of State for Transport, refused us be drawn on higher limits for cars on motorways and dual carriageways. “I have only just received the national speed limit survey. I am looking carefully at the evidence on car speed limits in the light of what it reveals,” the Minister told the House. Sir Hector Monro, Member for Dumfries, said it was “essential that the motor car speed limit on motorways is raised to 80 mph or 85 mph as soon as possible”. Sir Hector referred to the MOTOR SPORT petition which gathered 76,000 signatures, commenting “I know that millions more would have signed that petition had they known the opportunity was available”.
Much of the case for raising speed limits for commercial vehicles was based on technical improvements, and on widespread disregard for the existing limits; some 89% of lorries were exceeding the 40 mph speed limit on dual carriageways, making it difficult to enforce.
Mr. Ridley stated that 40% of motorists are breaking the 70 mph limit on motorways, and 15% are exceeding 79 mph.
While these ratios may not be as high as in the case of coaches and commercial vehicles, they still clearly indicate that motorway and dual carriageway limits are too low, if four motorists out of ten are prepared to break the law. We hope that the same logic will apply to motorists as to commercial drivers. Sir Hector also pointed out that, if commercial vehicles are to travel faster, it Will be more difficult and more dangerous for motorists to overtake them Without breaking existing speed limits — the differential of speeds needs to be maintained, and this can only be achieved now by increasing legal car speeds,