Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 8


  This note clarifies the origins of the 70 mph and 60 mph speed limits.

  An overall maximum speed limit of 70 mph was introduced as an experimental measure on all roads in 1965. This followed a number of multiple crashes on the M1. The 70 mph limit was introduced purely for road safety reasons.

  See Hansard 18 May 1966 Col 1271 about the continuation of the experimental speed limit. Monitoring of the experiment by the Road Research Laboratory noted a reduction in killed and seriously injured casualties of 19 per cent on rural and class one roads, including, motorways, in the months of January and February 1966.

  The 70 mph limit became permanent in 1967.

  A 50 mph speed limit on all roads was introduced during the fuel crisis in 1973 as a temporary measure to reduce fuel consumption. The speed limit was restored to 70 mph on motorways in March 1974 and to all purpose roads in May 1974.

  In December 1974 speed limits of 60 mph and 50 mph were introduced on dual carriageway and single carriageway roads, respectively. In June 1977 these were increased to 70 mph and 60 mph respectively, and have remained so since.

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