Brits Plan to Boost Speed Limit to 80 MPH
Limit of 70 is stifling economy, government argues
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2011 1:52 AM CDT
"Now it is time to put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies," Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Britain's government—citing major advances in vehicle safety and the fact that half the country's drivers are ignoring the current limit of 70 miles per hour—is planning to raise the speed limit to 80 on the nation's highways. "Britain's roads should be the arteries of a healthy economy and cars are a vital lifeline for many," the country's transport secretary said, slamming the previous administration's "shortsighted and misguided war on the motorist."

Highway deaths have fallen by more than 75% since the 70 limit was introduced in 1965, the transport secretary noted. Safety campaigners and environmentalists plan to fight the move, while motorist groups warn that the rise is likely to result in many drivers doing 90 mph, the Guardian reports. The new limit would be as high as any that can currently be found on American highways. Lawmakers in Texas recently approved a maximum speed of 85 miles per hour, but they have yet to identify any stretches of highway where the new limit can be applied.