Although it is still too early to say what caused the M5 tragedy last weekend, it is more than likely the awful loss of life in the conflagration may have far reaching effects on the future of motoring in the UK. Speed limits, the number of lanes on motorways, health and safety issues surrounding fireworks will all be closely examined over the next few months.
Financial benefits from an increase in limits
In recent months the Ministry of Transport have been suggesting that they may consider increasing the limit on motorways from 70 mph to 80 mph. Philip Hammond who recently left the Ministry had been a champion for the increase saying drivers who typically cover their vehicles with commercial vehicle insurance would benefit greatly from reduced travelling times, and the country as a whole would benefit by the millions of pounds worth of savings lower transport costs would generate. The argument put forward by supporters of the increase was that modern cars and vans were built much better than their counterparts of fifty years ago when the motorway network was started, and that the safety features built into cars today made them much more robust, a fact confirmed by van insurance companies and regular car insurance providers. Proponents of the plan also believe roads and the motorway infrastructure are much better than when the 70 mph limit was introduced back in the 1960s.
Motoring organisation calls for trial
Already some motoring groups are stating that the disastrous crash on Friday evening which left 7 people dead, over 50 injured and 34 mangled and burnt out vehicles should not stop the consultation over an increase in the speed limit. The Institute of Advanced Motorists has already called for a trial at 80 mph on a designated stretch of motorway saying that most motorists ignore the 70 mph limit when conditions are appropriate already.
Safety groups opposed
Road Safety groups have been opposed to the proposals from the start and spokespeople for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and BRAKE both confirmed that the accident had not changed their opinions in any way; they believe that any increase in the speed limit will put more lives at risk.