OPINION - Talking Point: Would you back the scrapping of motorway speed limits?

·2-min read
Smart motorways can set variable speed limits (Highways England) (PA Media)
Smart motorways can set variable speed limits (Highways England) (PA Media)

Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss says she wants rid of ‘smart motorways’ which have variable speed limits, saying the “experiment hasn’t worked”.

Instead of the usual 70mph limit, sections of road can restrict motorists to lower speeds, decided by a traffic management system and designed to preempt traffic congestion.

At the final hustings event on Wednesday, an audience member asked if the prospective new prime minister would “change the speed limit from mandatory to advisory to allow drivers to make their own judgements on what is a safe speed, rather than having some overcautious man in a remote box decide the speed limit for them?”

Truss responded to the audience member: “I agree with you. I absolutely think that we need to review them and stop them if they’re not working as soon as possible. All the evidence I have agrees with the point you’re making on smart motorways.

“On speed limits, I’d be prepared to look at that. I can’t give you a precise answer on that point. But I do believe that the smart motorways experiment hasn’t worked.”

Smart motorways have been said to cause confusion over what the limit is on different sections of road and how they work.

Some argue that all speed limits should be advisory rather than a legal limit, allowing drivers to decide if road conditions are safe enough to travel faster on.

On Germany’s autobahns, there are areas with an advisory speed limit or even no speed limit at all (as well as there being parts where restrictions are in place).

However, without a set limit, it could create more indecision for motorists in not knowing how fast they ought to be driving at.

Would you back the scrapping of motorway speed limits? Let us know in the comments below for the chance to be featured on the ES website.