Drivers could be allowed to travel at higher speeds through motorway roadworks on quiet days like Sundays.

Speed limits could be increased from 50mph (80km/h) to 60mph (97km/h) when there is less activity by road workers, Highways England announced.

Highways England will test the plan which is aimed at reducing drivers' frustration in roadworks.

The RAC welcomed a trial but said continued use of average speed cameras was also "essential".

Simon Williams, RAC spokesman, said: "The safety of road workers is paramount but the use of average speed cameras have been very successful in controlling speed.

"Increasing the limit will do away with some of the frustration for drivers."

'Roadworks necessary'
Highways England said various speed limits could also be used within one set of roadworks, meaning higher speeds are allowed when vehicles are further away from road workers.

The agency said there were nearly 300 incidents a week of drivers entering coned-off areas or subjecting road workers to physical or verbal abuse on motorways or major A roads.

Should the proposals be brought in, they would come in to effect in late 2018 or early 2019, Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan said.

He added: "People understand roadworks are necessary but are also frustrated by them.

"At the same time we have to ensure as they drive through them that they, and our road workers, are safe.

"So we are always thinking of new ways to improve journeys at the same time as keeping everyone as safe as we can.

"That is why over the next 12 months we will test changes to the design and operation of roadworks."

A study by Highways England released in October 2017 found 60% of drivers who drove at 60mph through a roadworks zone had a decreased average heart rate indicating a reduction in frustration.

Motorways in Scotland and Wales are controlled by the countries' respective governments through devolved powers.

Transport Scotland and the Welsh Government both said they currently had no plans to copy the Highways England plan.