'Lower speed limits would damage economy' says Worcestershire MEP Nikki Sinclaire

MEP Nikki Sinclaire says lowering speed limits on motorways would damage the economy

MEP Nikki Sinclaire says lowering speed limits on motorways would damage the economy

First published in News
Last updated
Droitwich Advertiser: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

LOWER speed limits on motorways have been attacked by a Worcestershire politician who claims it could damage the economy.

Nikki Sinclaire, an MEP for the county, says reducing speed limits to below 70mph will “cost businesses money” and should be stopped.

Her opinion has been refuted by environmentalists in Worcester, who say she is ignoring the potential it has to save lives.

The Highways Agency is planning on reducing the speed limit on a 32-mile stretch of the M1 in Yorkshire to 60mph limit from 7am-7pm by April.

The agency says the move is aimed at meeting strict EU air quality guidelines, and could be rolled out across many other parts of the UK including the West Midlands.

Miss Sinclaire, who belongs to the ‘We Demand a Referendum Now’ party, which is strongly anti-EU, said: “We are proposing to spend billions on HS2 to speed up travel, yet we are complying to EU rules which will slow down drivers all over the country.

“This will cost businesses money, and will prove to be detrimental to our economy. 

“The biggest joke of all is that the EU claims that this is based on environmental targets.

“Since when did the EU itself, the institution that knows no restraint, meet its own environmental targets?

“This is yet another example of how Britain is losing out as EU members, and just another reason why we need a referendum.”

The Highways Agency is consulting over hte plans until Monday, March 3.

It comes despite the Government revealing last year that it could even consider raising motorway speed limits to 80mph in parts of Britain in the future.

Feedback from businesses suggest a rise in limits could help productivity by allowing people to get around quicker, but opponents say it would increase deaths.

Councillor Neil Laurenson, from Worcester Green Party, said: “I’m not an engineer but I know the slower you go, the less fuel you’re using and the better it is.

“With the amount of cars on the road anyway, are people able to do 70mph all the time? Whenever I’m on the M5 it often seems to be 40, 50 or 60 miles an hour. 

“If it’s going to save lives and reduce emissions I’m all in favour of it.”

Comments (31)

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4:20pm Thu 9 Jan 14

i-cycle says...

Reducing speed limits will increase average journey times, but their impact may be much less than expected and there are certainly some benefits which will actually reduce costs for businesses.

At peak times reduced speed improves traffic flows, reduces collisions and therefore actually reduces delays and costs to businesses.

Travelling at 60mph rather than 70mph significantly improves fuel efficiency and reduces business transport costs.

HGV's over 7.5 tonnes (some of the biggest business users of the motorway network) aren't affected anyway as they are already limited to 60mph on motorways.

Reduced noise and air pollution improves health outcomes which should mean those of working age take less sick leave and are more productive.

Reduced carbon footprint will help to reduce global warming and the adverse effects it is already having on businesses and as evidenced by traffic delays due to recent flooding.
Reducing speed limits will increase average journey times, but their impact may be much less than expected and there are certainly some benefits which will actually reduce costs for businesses. At peak times reduced speed improves traffic flows, reduces collisions and therefore actually reduces delays and costs to businesses. Travelling at 60mph rather than 70mph significantly improves fuel efficiency and reduces business transport costs. HGV's over 7.5 tonnes (some of the biggest business users of the motorway network) aren't affected anyway as they are already limited to 60mph on motorways. Reduced noise and air pollution improves health outcomes which should mean those of working age take less sick leave and are more productive. Reduced carbon footprint will help to reduce global warming and the adverse effects it is already having on businesses and as evidenced by traffic delays due to recent flooding. i-cycle
  • Score: -7

4:43pm Thu 9 Jan 14

JackBarley says...

If this was extended across the Motorway network I would spend an extra 60 hours a year travelling, who would pay for this?
If this was extended across the Motorway network I would spend an extra 60 hours a year travelling, who would pay for this? JackBarley
  • Score: 1

5:07pm Thu 9 Jan 14

i-cycle says...

JackBarley wrote:
If this was extended across the Motorway network I would spend an extra 60 hours a year travelling, who would pay for this?
Unless you're really lucky some of that time would be in traffic which is flowing at less than 70mph anyway?

Either you or if you have a company car your employer (which is what the article was about) will also benefit from fuel savings and probably servicing and maintenance costs.

Quote from the AA
"Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph"
[quote][p][bold]JackBarley[/bold] wrote: If this was extended across the Motorway network I would spend an extra 60 hours a year travelling, who would pay for this?[/p][/quote]Unless you're really lucky some of that time would be in traffic which is flowing at less than 70mph anyway? Either you or if you have a company car your employer (which is what the article was about) will also benefit from fuel savings and probably servicing and maintenance costs. Quote from the AA "Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph" i-cycle
  • Score: -2

5:37pm Thu 9 Jan 14

JackBarley says...

i-cycle wrote:
JackBarley wrote:
If this was extended across the Motorway network I would spend an extra 60 hours a year travelling, who would pay for this?
Unless you're really lucky some of that time would be in traffic which is flowing at less than 70mph anyway?

Either you or if you have a company car your employer (which is what the article was about) will also benefit from fuel savings and probably servicing and maintenance costs.

Quote from the AA
"Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph"
If I was stuck in traffic then the speed limit is immaterial as I could only travel as conditions allow. As most of my travelling is outside peak hours then most of the time that does not apply. If the limit was dropped to 50mph this would entail even more travelling time which at the end of the day would cost more as I would be limited in the amount of work I could do in a day thus increasing the charges to the customer and then onto the consumer. This is similar to people wanting vehicles banned from towns during the day but someone has to deliver and carry out servicing to the places people want to go.
[quote][p][bold]i-cycle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JackBarley[/bold] wrote: If this was extended across the Motorway network I would spend an extra 60 hours a year travelling, who would pay for this?[/p][/quote]Unless you're really lucky some of that time would be in traffic which is flowing at less than 70mph anyway? Either you or if you have a company car your employer (which is what the article was about) will also benefit from fuel savings and probably servicing and maintenance costs. Quote from the AA "Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph"[/p][/quote]If I was stuck in traffic then the speed limit is immaterial as I could only travel as conditions allow. As most of my travelling is outside peak hours then most of the time that does not apply. If the limit was dropped to 50mph this would entail even more travelling time which at the end of the day would cost more as I would be limited in the amount of work I could do in a day thus increasing the charges to the customer and then onto the consumer. This is similar to people wanting vehicles banned from towns during the day but someone has to deliver and carry out servicing to the places people want to go. JackBarley
  • Score: 4

5:43pm Thu 9 Jan 14

pudniw_gib says...

I am a bit of a slow poke on the M ways, usually due to using my van... its old and very happy at 55mph,,, thank you very much....
However I recently travelled to Somerset in a small sportscar, going down stuck to 65-75 and coming back .... somewhat faster, not saying who was driving or what it was in apart from being under 2 litre engine.. averaged about 80 the difference in fuel consumption was staggering. 40mpg on way down, around 20 on way back.
The other thing is the effect faster driving has on your brain... it is more tiring driving quickly than pottering at 60.
I am a bit of a slow poke on the M ways, usually due to using my van... its old and very happy at 55mph,,, thank you very much.... However I recently travelled to Somerset in a small sportscar, going down stuck to 65-75 and coming back .... somewhat faster, not saying who was driving or what it was in apart from being under 2 litre engine.. averaged about 80 the difference in fuel consumption was staggering. 40mpg on way down, around 20 on way back. The other thing is the effect faster driving has on your brain... it is more tiring driving quickly than pottering at 60. pudniw_gib
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Thu 9 Jan 14

3thinker says...

A factor and cost that often gets forgotten is the reduction 60mph would give in terms of reduced collisions, deaths and injuries.
Its been estimated that a reduction from 70mph to 60mph on the motorways would reduce the Killed and Seriously Injured by 600. Deaths would be more than halved.
When the DoT estimates that each fatal collision costs society £1,790,200 and a serious injury £205,060 (and a large proportion of this is loss of productive work time - a direct cost to business) there are substantial extra costs which taxpayers and business.
Add to this improved health benefits from reduced noise and air pollution for drivers and those living in close proximity to the motorways.
A factor and cost that often gets forgotten is the reduction 60mph would give in terms of reduced collisions, deaths and injuries. Its been estimated that a reduction from 70mph to 60mph on the motorways would reduce the Killed and Seriously Injured by 600. Deaths would be more than halved. When the DoT estimates that each fatal collision costs society £1,790,200 and a serious injury £205,060 (and a large proportion of this is loss of productive work time - a direct cost to business) there are substantial extra costs which taxpayers and business. Add to this improved health benefits from reduced noise and air pollution for drivers and those living in close proximity to the motorways. 3thinker
  • Score: -4

5:48pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Geoffery1966 says...

The limit should be increased to 80mph not reduced to 6mph, modern cars are designed far better than those of days gone by. I guess all the tree huggers will be licking their lips for a reduction
The limit should be increased to 80mph not reduced to 6mph, modern cars are designed far better than those of days gone by. I guess all the tree huggers will be licking their lips for a reduction Geoffery1966
  • Score: 3

6:04pm Thu 9 Jan 14

3thinker says...

Geoffery1966 wrote:
The limit should be increased to 80mph not reduced to 6mph, modern cars are designed far better than those of days gone by. I guess all the tree huggers will be licking their lips for a reduction
I assume you've not been affected by the recent floods and bad weather!

Perhaps time for even you to consider hugging a few more trees?
[quote][p][bold]Geoffery1966[/bold] wrote: The limit should be increased to 80mph not reduced to 6mph, modern cars are designed far better than those of days gone by. I guess all the tree huggers will be licking their lips for a reduction[/p][/quote]I assume you've not been affected by the recent floods and bad weather! Perhaps time for even you to consider hugging a few more trees? 3thinker
  • Score: -6

8:32pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Jabbadad says...

Apart from those who consider themselves the speed kings of the road and whose driving is probably the cause of many accidents, where they operate the rolling road / convoy 40 mph sytem on the motorways during peak times the stress of having to have eyes up yours, and the intensity making so many calculations as to distances and those who just have to pass and then swing in to your lane, after a very short time you realise how relaxing and safe it feels when you are just pleasantly moving along at the same speed as those in the lanes next to you, and those behind and in front of you, and without the constant speeding up then slowing down again a few hundred yards along the motorway. And when you complete your journey in a much more relaxed state you are but a few minutes longer on your trip.
So higher speeds are a no-brainer and slower speeds would be / are just great.
Apart from those who consider themselves the speed kings of the road and whose driving is probably the cause of many accidents, where they operate the rolling road / convoy 40 mph sytem on the motorways during peak times the stress of having to have eyes up yours, and the intensity making so many calculations as to distances and those who just have to pass and then swing in to your lane, after a very short time you realise how relaxing and safe it feels when you are just pleasantly moving along at the same speed as those in the lanes next to you, and those behind and in front of you, and without the constant speeding up then slowing down again a few hundred yards along the motorway. And when you complete your journey in a much more relaxed state you are but a few minutes longer on your trip. So higher speeds are a no-brainer and slower speeds would be / are just great. Jabbadad
  • Score: -4

12:58am Fri 10 Jan 14

Brummagem Bertie says...

Whilst there may be a small minority of business users who might be adversely affected, such as Jack Barley, the evidence from the various sections of managed motorways, where speed limits are routinely lowered to 60 or less, is that traffic flows improve and congestion reduces, which benefit the majority of business users.
Whilst there may be a small minority of business users who might be adversely affected, such as Jack Barley, the evidence from the various sections of managed motorways, where speed limits are routinely lowered to 60 or less, is that traffic flows improve and congestion reduces, which benefit the majority of business users. Brummagem Bertie
  • Score: 0

7:13am Fri 10 Jan 14

green49 says...

Another pointless article, nothing will change if you go to 80mph drivers will still do and a want more, 60mph is good for ecnomy i suppose but safety has got to be the factor here not anything else.
Another pointless article, nothing will change if you go to 80mph drivers will still do and a want more, 60mph is good for ecnomy i suppose but safety has got to be the factor here not anything else. green49
  • Score: 3

9:26am Fri 10 Jan 14

imustbeoldiwearacap says...

It would be interesting to have the figures of the average journey distance on motorways. I would imagine that most are lot less than 50 miles, so a reduction in journey time will not make much difference. The long haul journeys are mainly made by HGV's and will not be affected by the lowering to 60! Anyway on my usual drive to my mothers in Manchester, given the amount of traffic on the M6, I'm lucky to get above 60!
It would be interesting to have the figures of the average journey distance on motorways. I would imagine that most are lot less than 50 miles, so a reduction in journey time will not make much difference. The long haul journeys are mainly made by HGV's and will not be affected by the lowering to 60! Anyway on my usual drive to my mothers in Manchester, given the amount of traffic on the M6, I'm lucky to get above 60! imustbeoldiwearacap
  • Score: 3

11:34am Fri 10 Jan 14

Jabbadad says...

Anyone who has the slightest awareness of how our combustion engines work will tell you that cars which travel at 60 mph and a litle less will cover more miles to the Gallon / litre, than those who travel at 70+mph. So the economy from that should more than compensate for a few minutes on a journey.
And I am convinced that at steady speeds the traffic flows more freely instead of speeding up then slowing down which no matter which vehicle you drive uses more fuel.
So without much suprise current MEP Nicky Sinclair demonstrates an ignorance on vehicle fuel ecconomy, and personal comfort for those who travel on motorways
I recently went on a coach trip to Telford and the driver just travelled along at a most reasonable speed, making the journey a real pleasure, plus we saw Barry North in Panto.
Anyone who has the slightest awareness of how our combustion engines work will tell you that cars which travel at 60 mph and a litle less will cover more miles to the Gallon / litre, than those who travel at 70+mph. So the economy from that should more than compensate for a few minutes on a journey. And I am convinced that at steady speeds the traffic flows more freely instead of speeding up then slowing down which no matter which vehicle you drive uses more fuel. So without much suprise current MEP Nicky Sinclair demonstrates an ignorance on vehicle fuel ecconomy, and personal comfort for those who travel on motorways I recently went on a coach trip to Telford and the driver just travelled along at a most reasonable speed, making the journey a real pleasure, plus we saw Barry North in Panto. Jabbadad
  • Score: -1

11:52am Fri 10 Jan 14

walkerno5 says...

"Anyone who has the slightest awareness of how our combustion engines work will tell you that cars which travel at 60 mph and a litle less will cover more miles to the Gallon / litre, than those who travel at 70+mph."

Isn't that more to do with the transmission than any inherent law of the speed of a combustion engine? If gearing on cars was set correctly the most effiicient speed could be in much higher surely?

"plus we saw Barry North in Panto."

You have my condolences.
"Anyone who has the slightest awareness of how our combustion engines work will tell you that cars which travel at 60 mph and a litle less will cover more miles to the Gallon / litre, than those who travel at 70+mph." Isn't that more to do with the transmission than any inherent law of the speed of a combustion engine? If gearing on cars was set correctly the most effiicient speed could be in much higher surely? "plus we saw Barry North in Panto." You have my condolences. walkerno5
  • Score: 2

1:01pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Jabbadad says...

The job of the gearbox is to maintain the correct efficient engine revolutions under all load and road conditions.

EX REME Vehicle Mechanic Training Manual 1956

And Barry was brilliant as always, was he not, what a Star.
The job of the gearbox is to maintain the correct efficient engine revolutions under all load and road conditions. EX REME Vehicle Mechanic Training Manual 1956 And Barry was brilliant as always, was he not, what a Star. Jabbadad
  • Score: -2

1:42pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Andy-Apache says...

As much as I hate to say it ;-) Jabba is correct.

You also need to factor in wind resistance which rises with the square of speed. This means that, all things being equal, it is nearly always more efficient to travel slowly than quickly - unless you are able to exceed the speed of sound, where there is a drop in drag. Obviously only BMWs and Mercedes Sprinter vans can do this.

Personally, I believe the M5, M42 and M25 all move more consistently now variable speed limits have been introduced. A main factor in safety is the speed differential between the impatient sales 'exec' travelling at 90+, and granny travelling at 50, and the suddenness with which they approach each other. Seen it catch folk out many times. Caught out the BMW behind my old employer's Defender (with NATO hitch) approaching a roundabout off the M5 once. You wouldn't believe how far a NATO hitch penetrates a 5 series rad / engine! After a bit of tutting and exchanging details, I had to leave him there in a cloud of steam, water and oil as I was off to an important meeting.
As much as I hate to say it ;-) Jabba is correct. You also need to factor in wind resistance which rises with the square of speed. This means that, all things being equal, it is nearly always more efficient to travel slowly than quickly - unless you are able to exceed the speed of sound, where there is a drop in drag. Obviously only BMWs and Mercedes Sprinter vans can do this. Personally, I believe the M5, M42 and M25 all move more consistently now variable speed limits have been introduced. A main factor in safety is the speed differential between the impatient sales 'exec' travelling at 90+, and granny travelling at 50, and the suddenness with which they approach each other. Seen it catch folk out many times. Caught out the BMW behind my old employer's Defender (with NATO hitch) approaching a roundabout off the M5 once. You wouldn't believe how far a NATO hitch penetrates a 5 series rad / engine! After a bit of tutting and exchanging details, I had to leave him there in a cloud of steam, water and oil as I was off to an important meeting. Andy-Apache
  • Score: 3

2:13pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Brummagem Bertie says...

What a refreshing change!

A motoring story where the comments section is dominated by an emphasis on facts and evidence rather than why the law should be changed/shouldn't apply to the poster because of how good a driver the poster thinks s/he is!! ;-)
What a refreshing change! A motoring story where the comments section is dominated by an emphasis on facts and evidence rather than why the law should be changed/shouldn't apply to the poster because of how good a driver the poster thinks s/he is!! ;-) Brummagem Bertie
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Fri 10 Jan 14

walkerno5 says...

Thanks Jabbadad and Andy for responses.

I use the M42 to commute everyday and the bit after 3a going north used to be a nightmare. The variable speed limit thingy (and opening the hard shoulder) has been a massive success. I'd certainly support that being in place in more locations, but I think any blanket reduction in speed regardless of traffic levels or conditions (I know this is time limited, but that doesn't cut it) is probably wide of the mark.

I reckon go for it for six months and see what the effect is, tinker with it if it doesn't help, is the answer here.
Thanks Jabbadad and Andy for responses. I use the M42 to commute everyday and the bit after 3a going north used to be a nightmare. The variable speed limit thingy (and opening the hard shoulder) has been a massive success. I'd certainly support that being in place in more locations, but I think any blanket reduction in speed regardless of traffic levels or conditions (I know this is time limited, but that doesn't cut it) is probably wide of the mark. I reckon go for it for six months and see what the effect is, tinker with it if it doesn't help, is the answer here. walkerno5
  • Score: 2

11:41pm Sat 11 Jan 14

3thinker says...

Brummagem Bertie wrote:
Whilst there may be a small minority of business users who might be adversely affected, such as Jack Barley, the evidence from the various sections of managed motorways, where speed limits are routinely lowered to 60 or less, is that traffic flows improve and congestion reduces, which benefit the majority of business users.
Safety is certainly a key factor. Its estimated that deaths on our motorways would halve. Surely a good enough reason on outs own.
The problem is that all too many drivers feel its their 'right' to drive at whatever speed they feel fit regardless of the consequences on others either through the increased chances of collisions and injuries, air and noise pollution and increased delays due to the jams caused by heavy braking and accidents.
[quote][p][bold]Brummagem Bertie[/bold] wrote: Whilst there may be a small minority of business users who might be adversely affected, such as Jack Barley, the evidence from the various sections of managed motorways, where speed limits are routinely lowered to 60 or less, is that traffic flows improve and congestion reduces, which benefit the majority of business users.[/p][/quote]Safety is certainly a key factor. Its estimated that deaths on our motorways would halve. Surely a good enough reason on outs own. The problem is that all too many drivers feel its their 'right' to drive at whatever speed they feel fit regardless of the consequences on others either through the increased chances of collisions and injuries, air and noise pollution and increased delays due to the jams caused by heavy braking and accidents. 3thinker
  • Score: 2

8:10pm Sun 12 Jan 14

JackBarley says...

3thinker wrote:
Brummagem Bertie wrote:
Whilst there may be a small minority of business users who might be adversely affected, such as Jack Barley, the evidence from the various sections of managed motorways, where speed limits are routinely lowered to 60 or less, is that traffic flows improve and congestion reduces, which benefit the majority of business users.
Safety is certainly a key factor. Its estimated that deaths on our motorways would halve. Surely a good enough reason on outs own.
The problem is that all too many drivers feel its their 'right' to drive at whatever speed they feel fit regardless of the consequences on others either through the increased chances of collisions and injuries, air and noise pollution and increased delays due to the jams caused by heavy braking and accidents.
Quick calculation as to the difference in cost between 60mph and 70mph even if I used an extra gllon of diesel per hour, which I do not, the cost to the customer who is charged at £45 per hour overrides this.
[quote][p][bold]3thinker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Brummagem Bertie[/bold] wrote: Whilst there may be a small minority of business users who might be adversely affected, such as Jack Barley, the evidence from the various sections of managed motorways, where speed limits are routinely lowered to 60 or less, is that traffic flows improve and congestion reduces, which benefit the majority of business users.[/p][/quote]Safety is certainly a key factor. Its estimated that deaths on our motorways would halve. Surely a good enough reason on outs own. The problem is that all too many drivers feel its their 'right' to drive at whatever speed they feel fit regardless of the consequences on others either through the increased chances of collisions and injuries, air and noise pollution and increased delays due to the jams caused by heavy braking and accidents.[/p][/quote]Quick calculation as to the difference in cost between 60mph and 70mph even if I used an extra gllon of diesel per hour, which I do not, the cost to the customer who is charged at £45 per hour overrides this. JackBarley
  • Score: 1

1:26pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Vox populi says...

Just a bit of info for you which the highways agency will confirm. Variable speed limits on the M42 are infact triggered automatically by volume of traffic therefore if everyone is happily travelling at 70mph with no issues and no incidents the speed will still be reduced. Hence the mess often seen when all the traffic slows to 40mph for no reason…

Amazing how we want everything quicker in this world except traffic.
Driving faster tires you quicker because it focuses the mind. This is called concentration, something all people should be doing on our roads. Yes there is a balance to be had but really… are people getting more incompetent than they were in the 1950s when stopping distances and speed limits were introduced based on a Morris Minor with drum brakes? The tools you are using to drive are better and more efficient than they ever have been so neither the safety or environmental arguments stand up in reality…

Want to increase traffic flow? Introduce lane discipline or even apply speed limits to the lanes: 50, 60 and 70 or even 60, 70, 80. Sure competent well trained drivers reduce accidents with anticipation and smooth driving that also reduces pollution. Sitting 3 miles back from the variable 40mph speed limit stationary with my engine running because idiots are jamming their brakes on 3 miles ahead for the sign is far worse for the environment.
Just a bit of info for you which the highways agency will confirm. Variable speed limits on the M42 are infact triggered automatically by volume of traffic therefore if everyone is happily travelling at 70mph with no issues and no incidents the speed will still be reduced. Hence the mess often seen when all the traffic slows to 40mph for no reason… Amazing how we want everything quicker in this world except traffic. Driving faster tires you quicker because it focuses the mind. This is called concentration, something all people should be doing on our roads. Yes there is a balance to be had but really… are people getting more incompetent than they were in the 1950s when stopping distances and speed limits were introduced based on a Morris Minor with drum brakes? The tools you are using to drive are better and more efficient than they ever have been so neither the safety or environmental arguments stand up in reality… Want to increase traffic flow? Introduce lane discipline or even apply speed limits to the lanes: 50, 60 and 70 or even 60, 70, 80. Sure competent well trained drivers reduce accidents with anticipation and smooth driving that also reduces pollution. Sitting 3 miles back from the variable 40mph speed limit stationary with my engine running because idiots are jamming their brakes on 3 miles ahead for the sign is far worse for the environment. Vox populi
  • Score: -1

1:52pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Andy-Apache says...

Vox, it's been stated many times that the best way to improve driving would be to fit a big spike in the middle of the steering wheel.

More safety systems fitted to cars can have an adverse effect due to the feeling of invunerability. Did you see the Ford advert which showed a woman in a Focus yacking away to her passenger and not noticing the stationary traffic in front? The car automatically braked and saved her (and the guy in front!) from an accident. Ergo, I no longer need to pay attention as the technology will save me.

Variable speed limits have been shown to work as far as increasing traffic flow. That's fact, not opinion. Agree with the idiots jamming their brakes on, but that's only because they're too close to the car in front. If you have a reasonable gap, there's frequently no need to touch your brakes to modify your speed a little for a variable speed limit.

The best safety measure is going to be to take the driving away from the driver and use GPS, inter-car datacomms and short range radar to automate the motorway network. This will also allow the higher speeds again.
Vox, it's been stated many times that the best way to improve driving would be to fit a big spike in the middle of the steering wheel. More safety systems fitted to cars can have an adverse effect due to the feeling of invunerability. Did you see the Ford advert which showed a woman in a Focus yacking away to her passenger and not noticing the stationary traffic in front? The car automatically braked and saved her (and the guy in front!) from an accident. Ergo, I no longer need to pay attention as the technology will save me. Variable speed limits have been shown to work as far as increasing traffic flow. That's fact, not opinion. Agree with the idiots jamming their brakes on, but that's only because they're too close to the car in front. If you have a reasonable gap, there's frequently no need to touch your brakes to modify your speed a little for a variable speed limit. The best safety measure is going to be to take the driving away from the driver and use GPS, inter-car datacomms and short range radar to automate the motorway network. This will also allow the higher speeds again. Andy-Apache
  • Score: -2

3:04pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Vox populi says...

Andy-Apache wrote:
Vox, it's been stated many times that the best way to improve driving would be to fit a big spike in the middle of the steering wheel. More safety systems fitted to cars can have an adverse effect due to the feeling of invunerability. Did you see the Ford advert which showed a woman in a Focus yacking away to her passenger and not noticing the stationary traffic in front? The car automatically braked and saved her (and the guy in front!) from an accident. Ergo, I no longer need to pay attention as the technology will save me. Variable speed limits have been shown to work as far as increasing traffic flow. That's fact, not opinion. Agree with the idiots jamming their brakes on, but that's only because they're too close to the car in front. If you have a reasonable gap, there's frequently no need to touch your brakes to modify your speed a little for a variable speed limit. The best safety measure is going to be to take the driving away from the driver and use GPS, inter-car datacomms and short range radar to automate the motorway network. This will also allow the higher speeds again.
My experience of variable speedlimits everyday for 5 years was as above. Driver training was the main issue nothing else.
So then technology over common sense and training? This will only further decrease the driving standard…. Oh and increase the cost considerably. Save the people from themselves….ban or automate it….
When you find me a computer that is superior to the human brain and can process as many different inputs quicker then I will be inclined to agree but it doesn't exist yet. When it does I am sure we can all turn ourselves into fat lazy jelly moulds incapable of anything but stealing oxygen from useful mammals….
[quote][p][bold]Andy-Apache[/bold] wrote: Vox, it's been stated many times that the best way to improve driving would be to fit a big spike in the middle of the steering wheel. More safety systems fitted to cars can have an adverse effect due to the feeling of invunerability. Did you see the Ford advert which showed a woman in a Focus yacking away to her passenger and not noticing the stationary traffic in front? The car automatically braked and saved her (and the guy in front!) from an accident. Ergo, I no longer need to pay attention as the technology will save me. Variable speed limits have been shown to work as far as increasing traffic flow. That's fact, not opinion. Agree with the idiots jamming their brakes on, but that's only because they're too close to the car in front. If you have a reasonable gap, there's frequently no need to touch your brakes to modify your speed a little for a variable speed limit. The best safety measure is going to be to take the driving away from the driver and use GPS, inter-car datacomms and short range radar to automate the motorway network. This will also allow the higher speeds again.[/p][/quote]My experience of variable speedlimits everyday for 5 years was as above. Driver training was the main issue nothing else. So then technology over common sense and training? This will only further decrease the driving standard…. Oh and increase the cost considerably. Save the people from themselves….ban or automate it…. When you find me a computer that is superior to the human brain and can process as many different inputs quicker then I will be inclined to agree but it doesn't exist yet. When it does I am sure we can all turn ourselves into fat lazy jelly moulds incapable of anything but stealing oxygen from useful mammals…. Vox populi
  • Score: -2

4:54pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Andy-Apache says...

The system to drive a car safely doesn't need to be anywhere as 'bright' as a human brain, and they are much faster already, and have been for a long time.

All it needs to do is follow rules, creativity isn't necessary. It will happen one day. Streams of cars travelling at 100mph 6" from each other with no accidents.
The system to drive a car safely doesn't need to be anywhere as 'bright' as a human brain, and they are much faster already, and have been for a long time. All it needs to do is follow rules, creativity isn't necessary. It will happen one day. Streams of cars travelling at 100mph 6" from each other with no accidents. Andy-Apache
  • Score: -1

5:03pm Mon 13 Jan 14

i-cycle says...

Andy-Apache wrote:
The system to drive a car safely doesn't need to be anywhere as 'bright' as a human brain, and they are much faster already, and have been for a long time.

All it needs to do is follow rules, creativity isn't necessary. It will happen one day. Streams of cars travelling at 100mph 6" from each other with no accidents.
As some will have seen, Guy Martin recently managed 112.5 mph on a bike at a similar distance behind a truck, but I wouldn't recommend it as a way to improve road safety.
[quote][p][bold]Andy-Apache[/bold] wrote: The system to drive a car safely doesn't need to be anywhere as 'bright' as a human brain, and they are much faster already, and have been for a long time. All it needs to do is follow rules, creativity isn't necessary. It will happen one day. Streams of cars travelling at 100mph 6" from each other with no accidents.[/p][/quote]As some will have seen, Guy Martin recently managed 112.5 mph on a bike at a similar distance behind a truck, but I wouldn't recommend it as a way to improve road safety. i-cycle
  • Score: 0

7:56pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Brummagem Bertie says...

Vox populi wrote:
Just a bit of info for you which the highways agency will confirm. Variable speed limits on the M42 are infact triggered automatically by volume of traffic therefore if everyone is happily travelling at 70mph with no issues and no incidents the speed will still be reduced. Hence the mess often seen when all the traffic slows to 40mph for no reason…

Amazing how we want everything quicker in this world except traffic.
Driving faster tires you quicker because it focuses the mind. This is called concentration, something all people should be doing on our roads. Yes there is a balance to be had but really… are people getting more incompetent than they were in the 1950s when stopping distances and speed limits were introduced based on a Morris Minor with drum brakes? The tools you are using to drive are better and more efficient than they ever have been so neither the safety or environmental arguments stand up in reality…

Want to increase traffic flow? Introduce lane discipline or even apply speed limits to the lanes: 50, 60 and 70 or even 60, 70, 80. Sure competent well trained drivers reduce accidents with anticipation and smooth driving that also reduces pollution. Sitting 3 miles back from the variable 40mph speed limit stationary with my engine running because idiots are jamming their brakes on 3 miles ahead for the sign is far worse for the environment.
1. Whatever the level of traffic, there will never be an occasion when everyone is travelling happily at 70 mph. Lorries will always be travelling at 50-60 mph. There will always be middle-lane hoggers travelling at 60-65, who will never move into the inside lane until they reach their exit slip-road. Whenever someone faster comes up on a lorry or a slower moving car they will pull out to overtake. Often they will do so by pulling out in front of someone travelling faster, especially if they are driving a BMW ;-) . That will cause the other driver to brake hard, which will cause the person behind them to brake hard, etc. That's why you frequently get phantom jams on non-managed motorways.

2. There will never be an occasion when the limit will suddenly drop from 70-40. Speed limits decrease by 10mph decrements.

3. Phantom or ripple effect jams may just as easily be caused by "surfing" between the gantries displaying the variable speed limits. Most of them, on the M42 at least, have speed cameras. A number of motorists will speed up between gantries and slam their brakes on at each one, to avoid being snapped.

4. People who are tired are more prone to make mistakes, so if driving faster tires you out quicker that would be reason enough to reduce speeds, especially because the greater the speed the lower the margin for error.

5. I'm sorry, but the safety and environmental arguments do stand up in reality because the evidence is that managed motorways are safer and vehicles that travel at 60 have lower emissions than vehicles that travel at 70, both in terms of absolute speeds and because there are fewer jams. A significant reason is that whilst most of the tools used to drive are better and more efficient than ever, that does not hold true for the most important tool involved, the one behind the wheel!

6. On managed motorways you are already supposed to stay in your lane when the variable speed limits are triggered, as the signs often advise.

7. Competent, well-trained drivers would reduce accidents. In other news, bankers agree to give up bonuses and be paid what they are worth to the economy, resulting in an immediate pay cut to just below the wage earned by a newly-qualified nurse. Meanwhile, in the real world, where the vast majority of drivers have been well-trained and assessed as competent, a significant number will still screw-up occasionally: there's a reason why the phrase is "human error". A larger number will have an unjustifiably inflated sense of their own self-worth, competence and importance, a lot like bankers, and will screw-up far more often, driving too close or pulling out in front of others, causing themselves and others to slam their brakes on to avoid accidents, causing jams.

Other than that, good points, well made.
[quote][p][bold]Vox populi[/bold] wrote: Just a bit of info for you which the highways agency will confirm. Variable speed limits on the M42 are infact triggered automatically by volume of traffic therefore if everyone is happily travelling at 70mph with no issues and no incidents the speed will still be reduced. Hence the mess often seen when all the traffic slows to 40mph for no reason… Amazing how we want everything quicker in this world except traffic. Driving faster tires you quicker because it focuses the mind. This is called concentration, something all people should be doing on our roads. Yes there is a balance to be had but really… are people getting more incompetent than they were in the 1950s when stopping distances and speed limits were introduced based on a Morris Minor with drum brakes? The tools you are using to drive are better and more efficient than they ever have been so neither the safety or environmental arguments stand up in reality… Want to increase traffic flow? Introduce lane discipline or even apply speed limits to the lanes: 50, 60 and 70 or even 60, 70, 80. Sure competent well trained drivers reduce accidents with anticipation and smooth driving that also reduces pollution. Sitting 3 miles back from the variable 40mph speed limit stationary with my engine running because idiots are jamming their brakes on 3 miles ahead for the sign is far worse for the environment.[/p][/quote]1. Whatever the level of traffic, there will never be an occasion when everyone is travelling happily at 70 mph. Lorries will always be travelling at 50-60 mph. There will always be middle-lane hoggers travelling at 60-65, who will never move into the inside lane until they reach their exit slip-road. Whenever someone faster comes up on a lorry or a slower moving car they will pull out to overtake. Often they will do so by pulling out in front of someone travelling faster, especially if they are driving a BMW ;-) . That will cause the other driver to brake hard, which will cause the person behind them to brake hard, etc. That's why you frequently get phantom jams on non-managed motorways. 2. There will never be an occasion when the limit will suddenly drop from 70-40. Speed limits decrease by 10mph decrements. 3. Phantom or ripple effect jams may just as easily be caused by "surfing" between the gantries displaying the variable speed limits. Most of them, on the M42 at least, have speed cameras. A number of motorists will speed up between gantries and slam their brakes on at each one, to avoid being snapped. 4. People who are tired are more prone to make mistakes, so if driving faster tires you out quicker that would be reason enough to reduce speeds, especially because the greater the speed the lower the margin for error. 5. I'm sorry, but the safety and environmental arguments do stand up in reality because the evidence is that managed motorways are safer and vehicles that travel at 60 have lower emissions than vehicles that travel at 70, both in terms of absolute speeds and because there are fewer jams. A significant reason is that whilst most of the tools used to drive are better and more efficient than ever, that does not hold true for the most important tool involved, the one behind the wheel! 6. On managed motorways you are already supposed to stay in your lane when the variable speed limits are triggered, as the signs often advise. 7. Competent, well-trained drivers would reduce accidents. In other news, bankers agree to give up bonuses and be paid what they are worth to the economy, resulting in an immediate pay cut to just below the wage earned by a newly-qualified nurse. Meanwhile, in the real world, where the vast majority of drivers have been well-trained and assessed as competent, a significant number will still screw-up occasionally: there's a reason why the phrase is "human error". A larger number will have an unjustifiably inflated sense of their own self-worth, competence and importance, a lot like bankers, and will screw-up far more often, driving too close or pulling out in front of others, causing themselves and others to slam their brakes on to avoid accidents, causing jams. Other than that, good points, well made. Brummagem Bertie
  • Score: -1

9:31pm Mon 13 Jan 14

worcestersfinest says...

Where there's variable speed limits they should be higher, with today's standard of cars it's perfectly safe to drive at 80mph on a quiet motorway, everybody does it anyway, including the police!!!!
Where there's variable speed limits they should be higher, with today's standard of cars it's perfectly safe to drive at 80mph on a quiet motorway, everybody does it anyway, including the police!!!! worcestersfinest
  • Score: 1

10:38pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Andy-Apache says...

The car itself is perfectly safe at 140mph. The person driving it generally isn't. Reaction times, risk awareness and just general competence combine to make some perfectly capable of driving safely at 140mph, and some barely capable of safe driving at 40mph! When you put one of the latter amongst lots of the former, chaos ensues. This is why I suggest that one day, when networked computers have control of our vehicles, road travel will be as safe as air travel.

iCycle, your point about bicycle tailgating was brought home to me on Sunday near the retail park when I saw a cyclist go pretty hard into the back of a stationary car at the roundabout on Townsend way. It did look like the car driver overtook him, pulled back in and immediately braked hard for the roundabout though. Not too clever!
The car itself is perfectly safe at 140mph. The person driving it generally isn't. Reaction times, risk awareness and just general competence combine to make some perfectly capable of driving safely at 140mph, and some barely capable of safe driving at 40mph! When you put one of the latter amongst lots of the former, chaos ensues. This is why I suggest that one day, when networked computers have control of our vehicles, road travel will be as safe as air travel. iCycle, your point about bicycle tailgating was brought home to me on Sunday near the retail park when I saw a cyclist go pretty hard into the back of a stationary car at the roundabout on Townsend way. It did look like the car driver overtook him, pulled back in and immediately braked hard for the roundabout though. Not too clever! Andy-Apache
  • Score: 2

10:40am Tue 14 Jan 14

i-cycle says...

Andy-Apache wrote:
The car itself is perfectly safe at 140mph. The person driving it generally isn't. Reaction times, risk awareness and just general competence combine to make some perfectly capable of driving safely at 140mph, and some barely capable of safe driving at 40mph! When you put one of the latter amongst lots of the former, chaos ensues. This is why I suggest that one day, when networked computers have control of our vehicles, road travel will be as safe as air travel.

iCycle, your point about bicycle tailgating was brought home to me on Sunday near the retail park when I saw a cyclist go pretty hard into the back of a stationary car at the roundabout on Townsend way. It did look like the car driver overtook him, pulled back in and immediately braked hard for the roundabout though. Not too clever!
Unfortunately cutting in and not allowing cyclists enough room is all too often a problem. Whether some drivers like it or not, cyclists have just the same rights to be on the road as any other vehicle and as some of the most vulnerable road users its actually more important motorists give us due consideration. I've seen examples locally where motorists deliberately threaten our safety by passing too close and cutting us up, which sounds as though what happened in the incident you report.
Equally I'm fully aware and certainly don't condone the actions of those who cycle irresponsibly.
To me the key message is that all road users need to use the roads more responsibly and with due regard for others no matter what their mode of transport.
If roads are safer and/or more cycle routes are created then more will cycle. This is in everyones interest as it means fewer cars on the road, less traffic congestion and more parking spaces when you get to your destination.
[quote][p][bold]Andy-Apache[/bold] wrote: The car itself is perfectly safe at 140mph. The person driving it generally isn't. Reaction times, risk awareness and just general competence combine to make some perfectly capable of driving safely at 140mph, and some barely capable of safe driving at 40mph! When you put one of the latter amongst lots of the former, chaos ensues. This is why I suggest that one day, when networked computers have control of our vehicles, road travel will be as safe as air travel. iCycle, your point about bicycle tailgating was brought home to me on Sunday near the retail park when I saw a cyclist go pretty hard into the back of a stationary car at the roundabout on Townsend way. It did look like the car driver overtook him, pulled back in and immediately braked hard for the roundabout though. Not too clever![/p][/quote]Unfortunately cutting in and not allowing cyclists enough room is all too often a problem. Whether some drivers like it or not, cyclists have just the same rights to be on the road as any other vehicle and as some of the most vulnerable road users its actually more important motorists give us due consideration. I've seen examples locally where motorists deliberately threaten our safety by passing too close and cutting us up, which sounds as though what happened in the incident you report. Equally I'm fully aware and certainly don't condone the actions of those who cycle irresponsibly. To me the key message is that all road users need to use the roads more responsibly and with due regard for others no matter what their mode of transport. If roads are safer and/or more cycle routes are created then more will cycle. This is in everyones interest as it means fewer cars on the road, less traffic congestion and more parking spaces when you get to your destination. i-cycle
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Vox populi says...

Andy-Apache wrote:
The system to drive a car safely doesn't need to be anywhere as 'bright' as a human brain, and they are much faster already, and have been for a long time. All it needs to do is follow rules, creativity isn't necessary. It will happen one day. Streams of cars travelling at 100mph 6" from each other with no accidents.
And that day humans will congratulate themselves on the brave new world they have created...
[quote][p][bold]Andy-Apache[/bold] wrote: The system to drive a car safely doesn't need to be anywhere as 'bright' as a human brain, and they are much faster already, and have been for a long time. All it needs to do is follow rules, creativity isn't necessary. It will happen one day. Streams of cars travelling at 100mph 6" from each other with no accidents.[/p][/quote]And that day humans will congratulate themselves on the brave new world they have created... Vox populi
  • Score: -1

7:48pm Fri 24 Jan 14

John05 says...

When people are forced to drive at an unreasonably low speed on the motorway the traffic bunches up and the level of tailgating increases. This means more people touching their brakes and waves of ever increasing braking going back through the traffic. Ultimately that leads to a traffic jam or, worse still, a pile up. The psychology of how drivers behave in the real world isn't taken into account by computer models of how drivers might behave.

Managed motorways are extremely dangerous because there is no hard shoulder and therefore nowhere for drivers to go in an emergency if they can't make it to one of the infrequent laybys and no way through for emergency services vehicles. The speed limits are set inappropriately and do suddenly drop for no apparent reason, no matter what is supposed to happen. All you need at a quiet time is a lorry going along at 50mph and the limit is set by the HATO system at 50mph. As the limit is mandatory and enforced by cameras, no one can travel quickly enough to have it reset.

The fact there are drivers with no lane discipline shouldn't be used as an excuse to lower the speed limit. They need to be dealt with and taught to use the motorway as it was designed to be used. When our motorways were designed and built it was with the intention that drivers should be able to drive fast on them and it's a frustration to road engineers that low speed limits are applied to fast roads so they can't be used for the fast, reliable travel they've been built for.

When the federal 55mph speed limit was dropped in the USA it had reduced oil consumption by 0.1%. It was introduced to reduce oil consumption when oil levels were low but had little to no impact on it. That would have meant little impact on the environment as well, even though that wasn't the direct aim at the time. Raising the speed limit also reduced accident rates as it meant drivers weren't clustered up on the roads.

Higher speed limits mean people will spend less time travelling and more time being productive. It will also increase the distances people can travel and therefore increase the sphere of influence for businesses as people can reach them from further away and they can deliver further away from where they're based.

Lower speed limits will just lead to unnecessary, costly delays and dangerous clusters of frustrated drivers and accidents where there is no escape route, no safe place to move out of the way and no way through for emergency vehicles.

The contact details for the person running the consultation where you can send your objections are as follows:

Andy Kirk
Senior Project Manager
Highways Agency
The Cube
199 Wharfside Street
Birmingham
B1 1RN

Email: m1j28-35aconsultatio
n@highways.gsi.gov.u
k
When people are forced to drive at an unreasonably low speed on the motorway the traffic bunches up and the level of tailgating increases. This means more people touching their brakes and waves of ever increasing braking going back through the traffic. Ultimately that leads to a traffic jam or, worse still, a pile up. The psychology of how drivers behave in the real world isn't taken into account by computer models of how drivers might behave. Managed motorways are extremely dangerous because there is no hard shoulder and therefore nowhere for drivers to go in an emergency if they can't make it to one of the infrequent laybys and no way through for emergency services vehicles. The speed limits are set inappropriately and do suddenly drop for no apparent reason, no matter what is supposed to happen. All you need at a quiet time is a lorry going along at 50mph and the limit is set by the HATO system at 50mph. As the limit is mandatory and enforced by cameras, no one can travel quickly enough to have it reset. The fact there are drivers with no lane discipline shouldn't be used as an excuse to lower the speed limit. They need to be dealt with and taught to use the motorway as it was designed to be used. When our motorways were designed and built it was with the intention that drivers should be able to drive fast on them and it's a frustration to road engineers that low speed limits are applied to fast roads so they can't be used for the fast, reliable travel they've been built for. When the federal 55mph speed limit was dropped in the USA it had reduced oil consumption by 0.1%. It was introduced to reduce oil consumption when oil levels were low but had little to no impact on it. That would have meant little impact on the environment as well, even though that wasn't the direct aim at the time. Raising the speed limit also reduced accident rates as it meant drivers weren't clustered up on the roads. Higher speed limits mean people will spend less time travelling and more time being productive. It will also increase the distances people can travel and therefore increase the sphere of influence for businesses as people can reach them from further away and they can deliver further away from where they're based. Lower speed limits will just lead to unnecessary, costly delays and dangerous clusters of frustrated drivers and accidents where there is no escape route, no safe place to move out of the way and no way through for emergency vehicles. The contact details for the person running the consultation where you can send your objections are as follows: Andy Kirk Senior Project Manager Highways Agency The Cube 199 Wharfside Street Birmingham B1 1RN Email: m1j28-35aconsultatio n@highways.gsi.gov.u k John05
  • Score: -1

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