From the 6th April 2015, the Government increased the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles (HGV’s) travelling on either a single or dual carriageway in England and Wales. Previous legislation had been in place for almost 50 years, during which time vehicle safety and mechanical capability has increased significantly.
What Are The Amended Limits?
The new speed limits are as follows:
- For HGVs weighing more than 7.5 tonnes and travelling on a single carriageway, the speed limit will increase from 40 to 50 mph, removing the 20-mph difference between HGV and car speed limits
- For HGVs weighing more than 7.5 tonnes and travelling on a dual carriageway, the speed limit will increase from 50 to 60 mph
- Speed limits in Scotland remain unaffected
Why Was The Reasoning Behind Government Decision To Raise Speed Limits?
The government is confident that the new increased HGV speed limits will benefit all road users. Firstly, by allowing HGVs to travel at the same speed as other motorists will curb congestion on single carriageways, which in turn will reduce the number of drivers attempting dangerous overtaking maneuverers.
The second predicted benefit of the reform is the fuel-saving which is estimated to save the haulage industry more than £15 million and raise an additional £2 million for the government in fuel duty. Not only will this benefit HGV Operators directly, the knock-on effect of logistics cost reduction can be passed on to UK business as a whole.
Why Is There Opposition To The Speed Limit Increase?
The key concern raised with increasing any speed limit is the increased risk to other motorists, cyclists and members of the public. Their concern stems from findings included within the government’s impact assessment of the changes, which indicate that increasing HGV speed limits could actually produce additional vehicle accidents. The greater amount of turbulence created by speeding HGVs is of particular worry.
However, the government has responded to these real and valid concerns by citing that the increased speed of HGVs will reduce the need for other motorists to overtake the vehicles, subsequently reducing the likelihood of related vehicular collisions. By bringing vehicle speed limits closer together, the government hopes people will be less tempted to overtake HGVs in situations which could increase the risk of accident and injury.
How Will The Change Benefit Businesses?
Road haulage and logistics firms across the UK have welcomed the change as they are projected to receive the greatest amount of benefits from the increase. Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive, Geoff Dunning, said: “This evidence-based decision by ministers, to increase the limit to 50 mph 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 risk.”
Beyond the predicted £15 million that the haulage industry will receive in annual time savings, the government’s impact assessment also estimates that HGV operators will save an additional £2.5 million in vehicle operating costs by being able to make deliveries more quickly. The increased delivery speed will have the added effect of boosting competition among haulage firms and lowered overall cost to end businesses.
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