13 May 2012.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

'Unfit for 80' Report Seriously Flawed
ABD criticises new report from the Road Safety Foundation
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory responding to the new Road Safety Foundation report 1 said:
“Motorways are our safest roads by a huge margin with an accident rate one-seventh that of rural A-roads and one-eleventh that of all rural roads.

'Unfit for 80' appears to base its assumption that Britain's motorway network is not suitable for an increased motorway limit mainly on three points:
1. Impact speeds will be higher on motorways.
2. Crash levels rise with increased traffic flow.
3. There are "widespread faults with run off protection".

Despite higher travelling speed, impact speeds are actually lower as all traffic is moving in the same direction. 2

On two-way rural roads a head-on crash can result in higher impact speeds than on a motorway (excepting extremely rare crossover crashes).

Of course impact speeds are usually well below travelling speed, as almost all crashes involve some braking or deceleration. Ironically the few full speed impacts are often where the driver has fallen asleep - such crashes may be increased by enforced unrealistically low speeds.”
Brian Gregory continues:
“While crash levels rise with traffic flow, speeds decrease, but the majority of the motorway network is not heavily trafficked most of the time.

Speeds naturally reduce in congestion and bad weather without the electronic speed control deemed necessary in the report. Whilst run off protection can never be perfect, it is vastly superior on motorways in virtually all cases to that on other roads, where solid objects such as trees can often be inches from fast traffic.”
The ABD supports the established principle that speed limits should be set assuming good conditions and free flowing traffic. To set them to assume permanent congestion and bad weather on all motorways would be ridiculous and would totally undermine respect for limits.

Drivers should and do reduce their speed to allow for circumstances.

1. Milton Keynes Citizen — Motorways are not fit for 80mph limit
& Daily Telegraph — England`s motorway network "unsuitable" for an 80mph limit
2. (Figures for 2009):
Motorway fatals per billion vehicle-miles: 114. Rural A road fatals per billion vehicle-miles: 790. All rural roads fatals per billion vehicle-miles: 1,222.
Motorway KSI per billion vehicle-miles: 790. Rural A road KSI per billion vehicle miles: 5,559. All rural roads KSI per billion vehicle miles: 10,152.
(KSI = Killed or seriously injured)
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