What is the speed limit on the roads?

Written by By Jack Heath, CNN

British scientists warn that overly fast automobiles could endanger pedestrians in extreme cases, but research commissioned by the Department for Transport proves their fuel efficiency is superior.

In August last year, the safety committee for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that the average US passenger car accelerates between 10.2 and 10.7 mph (16.8 to 16.6 km/h) on average.

But some speed models can speed up on roads with a gradient of more than 11%, or 21.4 mph (37.5 km/h) on urban roads, according to research commissioned by the Department for Transport

The research included a speed test on the UK’s A1 near Bakewell, England, which killed 44 people over the course of five years.

“The average travel speed at the edge of a gradient was 11.9 mph (20.8 km/h), and the maximum travel speed was 46.3 mph (77.6 km/h),” the department said in a statement.

While science has not yet arrived at a definitive conclusion, the research found that a more humble 44 mph (72 km/h) top speed would “likely be safe for all road users.”

And while increase in speed might not kill, some vehicles have been known to boost fuel efficiency through little more than cutting corners.

The Ford Focus costs $3,300 more to run than the Honda Civic, a fuel economy study from Texas A&M University found in November 2017.

The Honda Civic costs $3,300 more to run than the Ford Focus, a fuel economy study from Texas A&M University found in November 2017. Credit: Ford

Gambling (not science)

The authors of the IIHS report also acknowledged that the preferred small-scale studies at issue failed to account for reductions in the depth of tunnels to test over time.

“The researcher error for the team of published studies at issue was considerable,” said IIHS scientific adviser Charles Territo.

“We’re at the point now where we may have to reassess our ideal speeds.”

A new study from Professor Michael Peters of the University of Cambridge casts doubt on the ability of experiments to accurately assess the differences between pre- and post-recharge driving.

In 2016, the AA reported that premature combustion of cars cost the UK economy more than 4 billion pounds ($5.49 billion) in 2009 alone.

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