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Transport Agency cool on higher speed limits

Experts at the Finnish Transport Agency do not believe raising speed limits on Finnish roads would bring significant safety benefits. Their view contrasts with a majority of MPs on parliaments Transport committee, who want to see an increase of 10km/h.

Liikennemerkki loskaisen moottoritien reunassa.
Image: YLE

The Transport Agency is, however, not keen to raise speed limits.

"Finnish roads, especially if you leave moterways aside, are in quite poor condition,” said the agency’s director Raimo Tapio. ”We have narrow, sometimes winding roads and it has been considered in places that speed limits should be lowered simply on the grounds of geometry.”

Accidents and emissions "would rise"

Faster driving would increase both emissions from traffic and road accidents, according to the experts. Raising speed limits by ten kilometres an hour mights seem like a small change, but in practice the significance would be great, says Inkeri Parkkari of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi.

”When speed limits in Denmark were raised from 120 km/h to 130 km/h, the average speed increased by 1 km/h and accidents causing injuries rose by nine percent,” noted Paakkari.

Some MPs based their support for higher speed limits on modern technology, arguing that cars in use today are considerably more advanced than those in operation when speed limits were originally set. Paakkari emphasises that the laws of physics have remained the same, and humans observation and endurance have not kept pace with the technology under the bonnet.

”It’s bad for safety,” said Paakkari. ”Emissions and fuel consumption would also increase. It is difficult to see anything positive (about the proposal).”

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