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2mph limit for towns? A quick look at the history of speeding

Speed camera.

Speeding's one of the most common bad habits committed by UK drivers. In fact, a national survey conducted by RED Driving School earlier this year found half of British motorists break the speed limit daily. But the speed limits in the UK have not always been what they are now.

Did you know Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, became the first person in the UK to be charged with speeding after he was caught travelling around 8mph, exceeding the 2mph limit for towns, on 28 January 1896?

At this time, as well as having a 2mph speed limit for towns, all other roads had a limit of 4mph. As the capabilities of cars increased, so too did the speed limit, increasing to 14mph in 1896 and 20mph in 1903. Then, in 1930, speed limits for cars and motorcycles were abolished.

Speed limit-free roads in the UK didn't last long though. The general speed limit of 30mph on roads in built-up areas, essentially roads with street lighting, that's in place today was imposed in 1934.

The national upper limit of 70mph for cars and motorcycles on dual carriageways and motorways and the speed limit of 60mph on single carriageways were not implemented until 1977.

Speeding around the world

In recent years there have been calls to increase the speed limit on motorways in the UK to 80mph, but just how do our speed limits compare to those around the world?

Germany's famous for its autobahns, which have no speed limits. But, according to official figures, the average speed's 88mph.

But it's not just Germany that's without speed limits. The Isle of Man has abandoned them, too, but, unlike Germany, it has no motorways.

While the rest of mainland Europe also has higher limits than the UK, Sweden, Latvia and Moldova are among some of the few that reside in the comparatively gentle 68mph group.

What do you think about the current motorway speed limit? Should it be increased to 80mph? Let us know your thoughts.