On this day in auto history – March 18th

Thu 18th Mar 2021

It was on this day in 1935 that the 30 mph speed limit for built-up areas came into force in Britain.

Having originally introduced a 20 mph speed limit for all cars in 1903, the speed limit was abolished altogether for light vehicles in the controversial Road Traffic Act of 1930, however, a sharp rise in fatal accidents caused a rethink.

Though not everyone was in favour, Parliament eventually settled on a compromise of 30 mph for built-up areas and, though it seems that the figure was decided in somewhat arbitrary fashion, the same limits endure to this day.

Away from built-up areas, motorists were free to drive at whatever speed they liked until a top speed of 70 mph was introduced for dual carriageways and motorways in 1965.