Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says the safety of the roads will be his overriding concern when considering plans to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph.
Striking a much cooler note on the proposals than their author, former transport secretary Philip Hammond, Mr McLoughlin stressed that "speed does kill".
The Government is consulting on the plans for a higher limit on English and Welsh motorways after Mr Hammond said last year that the existing 70mph threshold was "discredited" and brought the law "into disrepute".
But Mr McLoughlin, who was appointed Transport Secretary in this month's reshuffle, said today that many serious accidents occurred when people were breaking the speed limit.
"What's very important is that we never lose sight about the issue of safety on our roads," he told the Murnaghan programme on Sky News.
"First and foremost in my mind will be road safety, but I will look at the evidence - there's a consultation taking place on that.
"But nothing will detract me from what is safe overall, and road safety and our record on road safety has to be paramount in my mind.
"What we have to have in our mind is that speed does kill and most of the very serious accidents that take place on our roads involve people disobeying the speed limits."