Today, the fastest speed you can legally travel on a highway in the United Kingdom is 70 miles per our. Like our own 55 mile per hour speed limit (or our current 70 mph speed limits), the number is considered by most drivers to be a suggestion, not an absolute. Reflecting this, Britain’s Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, has announced his intention to raise the UK’s maximum speed limit to 80 miles per hour, beginning in 2013.
Applying common sense isn’t something you necessarily expect from a government official, but Hammond is clear about his reasons. “I want to make sure that our motorway speed limit reflects the reality of modern vehicles and driving conditions, not those of 50 years ago,” Hammond was on record as saying.
The secretary also cited the economic benefits that shortening journeys could create, which is more logic that we’d buy into. Still, don’t expect common sense to take hold in the United States, not with the “speed kills” mentality of government officials. I’d be willing to bet that Britain’s roads are in better shape than our own crumbling infrastructure, and I’ll bet that Brits are less likely to be texting, reading, eating, applying makeup or shaving behind the wheel than their American counterparts.