Speed trial yields some useful results

Increased speeds on selected roads did not adversely impact traffic safety on high-quality roads

A trial involving increased speeds on selected roads in Denmark has not adversely impacted traffic safety on high-quality roads, according to the road authority Vejdirektoratet.

The results have been sent to the Transport Ministry and transport minister Hans Christian Schmidt intends to discuss the findings with the rest of Parliament with a view to increasing speed limits on additional stretches of road.

“The report shows us that the trial with raising the speed limit has generally proceeded well,” said Schmidt.

“I want to praise the drivers for driving reasonably during the trial period, but we can also see certain issues we need to be aware of.”

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Road quality important
Since 2011, 18 stretches of road in Denmark have had speed limits increased from 80 to 90 kilometres per hour.

During the trial period, 15 accidents and 11 cases of personal injury were reported on the trial road stretches per year, compared to the 11 accidents and 13 cases of personal injury that took place the year before the trial started.

But the report (here in Danish) did convey one significant concern in particular. The increased speed limits did not lead to a decrease in accidents on low-quality roads – such as where there were ditches and trees close to the road.

“On roads of a high standard, the 90 km/h speed limit doesn’t look to have had an effect on traffic safety,” said Sune Impgaard Schou, a spokesperson for Vejdirektoratet.

“But on a number of roads with a relatively low standard and in areas with merging roads, there hasn’t been as much of a drop in accidents as we saw between 2011-2014.”