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Time For Tea? 80mph Motorway Oddness

Why do Guardianistas need to get places faster than Autocar readers?

By Riggers / Monday, October 3, 2011

Here's one to mull over as you sip a hot cup of lapsang souchong (or similar):


readers are more in favour of an increase of the speed limit to 80mph than are readers of



Yes, you read that first sentence correctly. A new survey conducted by Autocar (that would be the world's oldest car magazine, whose readers surely have more than the odd millilitre of petrol flowing through their veins) has revealed that only 41.5 per cent of respondents are in favour of raising the motorway speed limit.

Guardianistas, on the other hand (whom, you would think, would be somewhat less keen on higher motorway speeds) are 68.4 per cent in favour of a move to an 80mph limit.

Weird, huh? (Okay, we know the questions were asked in different ways by the two august organs, but it's still an odd discrepancy).

Somewhat less unexpected is the revelation that that 94.6 per cent of motorists admit to breaking the speed limit on the motorway, though the 1.9 per cent who don't know if they speed or not is more than moderately alarming.

You can read the full survey results below:

How often, if at all do you break the speed limit on the motorway/highway, even if only by a fraction?

Always,  37.3%

Nearly every day,  23.7%

A few times a week, 12.2%

A few times a month,  11.9%

Less than often, 9.5%

Never, 3.5%

Don’t know, 1.9%

How often, if at all do you break the speed limit on the motorway/highway by more than 20mph?

Always, 6.1%

Nearly every day, 8%

A few times a week, 11.8%

A few times a month, 16.1%

Less often than this, 30.5%

Never, 25.5%

Don’t know,  2%

If the speed limit was raised, would you be in favour of a corresponding increase in penalties for speeding?

Yes,  34.7%

No, 59%

Don’t know, 6.3%

In your view, would raising the speed limit damage the government’s environmental credentials?

Yes, a great deal, 7.2%

Yes, a fair amount, 10.1%

No, not very much, 36.9%

No, not at all , 43.8%

Don’t know, 2%

Which of the following motoring initiatives would you most like to see introduced?

A higher speed limit,  41.5%

Less roadworks, 13.8%

More roads, 7.7%

More police on the roads, 16.1%

Fewer speed cameras, 16.4%

None of these, 4.3%

Age of survey respondents


Under 24, 14.4%

25-34, 25.9%

35-44, 27.3%

45-54, 17.3%

55-64, 9.3%

65-74, 3.6%


Rather not say, 1.1%

Image: David Medcalf

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