Does high speed cause more injury and accident?
The government is reviewing national speed limits in an effort to reduce incidents of accident and injury on our roads. The national speed limit on motorways could be increased to 80 mph, whereas speed limits on some rural roads could be reduced.
It’s the economy, stupid
The analysis will be done, not only on the basis of safety, but also on a cost-benefit analysis, in an effort to reduce journey time and ideally inject a little life into our moribund economy. No doubt businessmen, salesmen and the legendary white van man will welcome the change, but the policy is unlikely to please the green lobby. Whilst it’s a fact that most motorway drivers are hurtling along at speeds of 80 mph and higher, it’s also a fact that driving at higher speeds burns more fuel and requires greater stopping distances.
Pulled up short
It remains to be seen whether making higher speeds official will increase rates of injury and accident on our motorways, simply because traffic density is so high. The safety factor is set by the ability of the least able driver: one mistake can have extensive repercussions. Stopping distance increases with speed and older models of vehicle, especially poorly maintained ones, need still more space. It’s generally accepted now, however, that the better engineering of modern vehicles means that stopping distances have reduced. In practice, drivers are not prosecuted unless caught at speeds higher than 79 mph, but it will be interesting to see whether some drivers see the new limit as a licence to hurtle along at 90 mph plus. Accident and injury at those speeds will make a proportionally larger mess. However, if the long tail is constrained at 80mph by the car in front, traffic densities may prevent maverick drivers letting rip.
Injury and accident claim
The commonest injury and accident on the roads is from the rear end shunt. Drivers or passengers seeking personal injury compensation can seek advice from a company like Accident Advice Helpline. Details about how to claim can be found on our main web site.
Date Published: February 26, 2013
Author: David Brown