The ABD believes that drivers have a responsibility to travel at a speed that is safe for the prevailing conditions at all times. The misuse of speed, resulting from inexperience or poor hazard perception, is a contributory factor in many accidents. Speed limits, when used correctly, help drivers to recognise changes in the road environment and adjust their speed accordingly.
 
“An arbitrary limit allows sloppy policing. Officers don`t have to determine if there has been dangerous driving, as they just ticket everyone.”

Paul Taggart
Hawke's Bay Today (NZ)
2006-01-12
In recent years, however, the overuse of speed limits and reductions in existing limits, unsupported by objective analysis, has undermined the credibility and potential benefits of all speed limits. Moreover, speed limit reductions are being used as a panacea for accident prevention instead of (more expensive) engineering solutions. Because exceeding a speed limit is an absolute offence and speed is easy to measure, speed limit enforcement has assumed an importance in road safety policy that is not warranted by objective studies into the effectiveness of speed limits.
 
It is easy to see why government, both national and local, finds it attractive to give speed limits and their enforcement such a high priority: it gives the impression of taking road safety seriously, while costing very little. Indeed, the introduction of camera partnerships and the cost-recovery system led to funding being released for use elsewhere in the budgets of local authorities and police forces. Although the cost-recovery scheme was ended in 2007 and there is no longer direct government funding of speed cameras, some camera partnerships are now financing their operations from the fees paid by drivers to attend speed awareness courses, as an alternative to prosecution. The criteria for offering these courses have been relaxed to obtain more income for the partnerships.
 
In order to maintain public support for current speed limit policies, the government and local councils must continue to assert that breaking speed limits (as opposed to travelling too fast for the prevailing conditions) is a major cause of road accidents. The links on this page give access to studies and analyses that take a closer look at the claims made. As a first step, the first link below sets out the ABD's views on the correct use, setting and enforcement of speed limits.
 

Principles

Countering Lies & Spin

"speed limits should be made very low and rigidly enforced to take all the glamour out of motoring"
Friends of the Earth, 1995

Reference

ISA Recklessness

Examples

Response to 20mph consultation

20mph Speed Limits

ABD Responses to Government Consultations

Miscellaneous

ABD Press Releases on Speed Limits

Archive Documents

The original content of these pages should be read in the context of later events.

Speed Doesn't Kill
Stephen Moore of the National Review reports on how raising US speed lmits has not led to the increase in accidents that was foretold by the doom-mongers.

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