Speed limit for HGVs to increase | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Speed limit for HGVs to increase

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The speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads will increase to 50mph next year.

According to the government, hauliers across England and Wales could see a £11 million boost as a result of the speed increase.

Transport Minister Claire Perry has announced the move as part of a package of measures to cut congestion, reduce dangerous overtaking and help get the country moving.

Heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are currently stuck at 40mph on single carriageway roads – a speed limit set in the 1960s and at odds with other large vehicles on our roads.

The government has also today (24 July 2014) launched a six-week consultation on plans to increase the speed limits for HGVs on dual carriageways from 50mph to 60mph.

Claire Perry said: “We’re are doing all we can to get Britain moving and boost growth. This change will do exactly that and save our haulage industry £11m a year.

“Britain has one of the world’s best road safety records and yet speed limits for lorries have been stuck in the 1960s. This change will remove a 20mph difference between lorry and car speed limits, cutting dangerous overtaking and bringing permitted lorry speeds into line with other large vehicles like coaches and caravans. Current speed limits for HGVs were introduced around 50 years ago and need to be updated given improved vehicle technology.”

Geoff Dunning, from the Road Haulage Association, said: “This evidence-based decision by ministers, to increase the limit to 50mph will be strongly welcomed by hauliers and their drivers. The current limit is long out-of-date and the frustration it generates causes unnecessary road safety risks.”

The change in speed limits for HGVs on single carriageways will come into force in early 2015 and will bring England and Wales in line with other European road safety leaders, such as Denmark and Norway. Depending on the consultation responses, the increase for dual carriageways will come in at the same time. The existing limits continue to apply until the change has been put into effect.

The Department for Transport is also urging English councils to use local powers issued last year to restrict traffic to 30, 40 or 50mph where necessary because of pedestrian and cyclist use of roads, where the road is located and the layout. The Department has also announced today the intention to carry out a major study about rural road safety in the near future.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has also backed the speed limit increase.

Malcolm Bingham, head of road network management policy, said: “The FTA strongly supports this decision as we believe there is evidence confirming that road safety will be improved if the differential between HGVs and other road users is reduced. Many motorists do not understand that the limit for lorries is only 40mph and this can lead to frustration and on occasion risky overtaking.”


Well, if we accept a braking distance plus a 1 sec thinking/action distance at 70 mph is around 100m, (yes, the word ‘around’ has and will be be used) then you will find that at 80 mph the braking distance is 135m and if you think about that it is 35m between 80 to 70 mph and 100m between 70 – 0 mph. That 10 mph drop takes up a lot more distance to get to 70 mph; it takes around a third of the distance it takes to drop from 70 and 0 mph. When you get to the real life speeds that vehicles will travel at, say 100 mph, you get the same distance to drop from 100 to 70 mph as it takes from 70 mph to 0 mph.
If one of the reasons Britain has such an enviable road safety record is a 70 mph max speed limit do we really need to change it? Especially in an area where there are heightened dangers created by already dispensed with safety zone that was the hard shoulder?

Do we need a higher speed limit when what we really need is a better road network so we can reach the 70 mph speed limit on the roads we are allowed to! A higher limit is simply a sop for the masses to believe in, if we can’t reach the 70 we currently have what is the point is raising it?