Government plans are afoot to change our speed limits: we weigh up the pros and cons and discuss what these changes will mean for company drivers.

Speed matters a look at plans to change UK speed limits

Speed kills. The simple fact is that the higher the speed when an accident occurs, the greater the damage to the car on impact and the greater the chance of the occupants being maimed or killed. And in this age of austerity, financial controllers have to worry about the fuel costs associated with a heavy right foot, too. Research has shown that driving at a steady 55-65MPH is the optimum speed for making that tank of fuel last longer and go further (when combined with a company fuel card, of course).

The Long Foot Of The Law

There are plans afoot to shake up speed limits on motorways, in town and on country roads:

Motorways – the government is currently consulting on lifting our motorway speed limit from 70MPH to 80MPH. The recent announcement, though, that road deaths increased last year for the first time since 2003 could put pay to such plans. Also, research shows that a car traveling at 80MPH uses 10% more fuel than one driving at 70MPH according to official Department for Transport figures.

Towns – councils are being given even more freedom to introduce 20MPH zones in their towns and cities. This move is to protect pedestrians and cyclists with official figures showing that 97% of pedestrians hit by a vehicle going at 20MPH survive compared to 80% when hit at 30MPH.

Rural Roads – the government is considering allowing councils to lower speed limits on rural roads. Depending on the nature of the country road, this could mean a reduction down to 40MPH for roads near National Parks or for those known for having ‘collision problems’.

Punishing Speed

For those company drivers caught speeding, the ramifications can be serious for themselves and for the company that needs them:


The current Fixed Penalty Notice includes a fine of up to £60. It’s worth bearing in mind that the government is consulting on raising this FPN fine to £90. If you are taken to court for speeding, then expect up to £1,000 in fines and for motorway offences (the cap is £2,500).


The real issue for any company driver is the number of points handed out for speeding; these can be up to six points depending on how stupid you were being with your right foot. For excessive and reckless speeding, you could even face an instant ban. Whatever the case, if you accrue 12 points, you can kiss your licence goodbye.

Training courses

For minor speeding infringements, you may be offered the option of attending a speed awareness course (that carries a cost equal to or more than a FPN fine) to keep points off your licence. We recommend you take it.

  • Are you one of the very few, very rich financial controllers who finds speed limits frustrating? Then relocate your business to the Isle of Man where out-of-town roads can be attacked at any speed!
  • Beware of male company drivers called Rupert, Piers, Justin, Julian or Giles, or female drivers called Susannah, Justine, Juliet, Alexis or Deirdre; research by Diamond Insurance has shown they are the names of drivers most likely to speed!
  • All vehicles in Japan are restricted to 87MPH; despite the country producing some of the most powerful vehicles on the planet
  • Former Formula One champ Damon Hill told the Radio Times that the idea of raising our speed limit to 80MPH makes him “shudder… Most people aren’t safe to drive over 55MPH”

International Speed Limits

How does the UK maximum speed limit of 70MPH stack up against those of other countries?

Hawaii – 60MPH

Japan – 62MPH

Spain – 68MPH

Britain – 70MPH

Utah – 80MPH

France – 81MPH

Australia – 81MPH (only introduced in 2007)

Abu Dhabi – 87MPH (previously 99MPH between 2005-10)

Germany – on autobahns, as fast as that repmobile can go…

For information on our company fuel cards, visit our compare fuel cards page for full details on the range that includes Texaco FastFuel fuel cards, Shell CRT fuel cards, Keyfuels fuel cards and Esso Commercial fuel cards.

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