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Higher speed limits 'save lives'

Fri, 28 Feb 2014

AN INCREASE in the speed limits on some roads in Denmark has reduced traffic collisions and cut road deaths. The two-year trial has also found that higher speed limits on motorways have helped lower the number of accidents.

The Danish road directorate conducted the trial on rural two-way roads where there had previously been an 80km/h (50mph) speed limit and increased it to 90km/h (56mph). What the study found was that slower drivers increased their speed slightly while faster drivers reduced their speed.

Average speeds on these roads remained almost unchanged but the smaller difference in speeds between faster and slower traffic resulted in fewer accidents. The Danish road directorate says the move helped lessen the frustration of drivers who found themselves behind slower vehicles and reduced the urge to overtake.

Danish police were initially unsure of this trial, but Erik Mather, a spokesman for the Danish Traffic Police, said: ‘The police are perhaps a little biased on this issue, but we've had to completely change our view now that the experiment has gone on for two years.’

Brian Gregory, of the Alliance of British Drivers, added: ‘These findings vindicate that raising unreasonably low speed limits improves road safety by reducing speed differentials and driver frustration.’

By Press Association reporters