Doctors against 80mph speed limit
Doctors are calling new plans by the government to increase the limits of motorway speeds in Wales and England up to 80mph from 70mph a populist decision to gain public approval that will end up playing adversely on the health of citizens that are far more devastating than any effect it may have on the economy.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine doctors wrote an editorial on bmj.com that criticises the new proposals that the speed limit will be increased by the time next year rolls around. According to the Government, this move is qualified by the fact that road deaths across the UK have been reduced by around 75% over the last five decades as a result of the many car safety advances and therefore it is of little concern to heighten the speed limits since most drivers break the current limit and drive at this rate anyway.
Ministers also cite the fact that since 1967 the rate of fatal accidents in the UK continues to decrease and the country has one of the lowest rates global of road deaths. However, the authors of the editorial question how good the move will be for the economy since the heavy good vehicles will not be affected by the speed limit increase and they are concerned about other evidence that they say links an increase in speed limits to heightened injuries and death.
When the US increased their speed limits in 1995 there was a 16.6% increase in road deaths that followed. In addition, the scientists also mention that there are other health reasons, such as a pollution, that should be considered when setting the speed limits as there is also an increase in gas emissions. As people take more advantage of car journeys there is also the potential for a further increase in obesity.