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50 is the new 40: road transport gives rise in speed limit the thumbs up

  • 01 August 2014
  • By admin

The road transport industry has been given the news that the speed limit for trucks on single carriageways is to increase from 40mph to 50mph.

The announcement, made last week by transport minister Claire Perry at WH Barley Transport and Storage’s Milton Keynes HQ, will see the limit increase in Wales and England in early 2015.

The Department for Transport (DfT) described the decision as “part of a package of measures to cut congestion, reduce dangerous overtaking and help get the country moving”, that it claims could save the haulage industry £11m a year.

A separate six-week consultation on plans to increase the speed limits for HGVs on dual carriageways from 50mph to 60mph has also been launched.

If successful, it would see this limit raised at the same time as single carriageways.

Perry said: “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 such as coaches and caravans.”

Speaking to CM at the policy launch event, Jack Semple, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, said: “Drivers need to drive appropriately for the road conditions – 40mph was unnecessarily low and inappropriate.”

Perry told CM: “When I looked at this it just made sense. It brings HGVs in line with other heavy vehicles, such as buses and coaches.

“It must be so frustrating for a lorry driver knowing that he’s holding up traffic, and for the car drivers he’s holding up too.”

Volvo Trucks MD Arne Knaben has supported the decision also. “The increase from 40 to 50mph is good news for road safety as it should help keep traffic flowing more smoothly. It will also potentially reduce the incidence of risky overtaking manoeuvres by car drivers frustrated by tailbacks that often develop behind trucks that are limited to 40mph on single carriageway roads.

“Modern trucks have fast reacting disc brakes and EBS. I believe that the safety technology that is built into the latest Volvo trucks, provides a counter to the argument that the increased road speed could adversely affect safety,” he said.

Operators give their views:

  • Ian Suttie, head of transport at Bradford-based Advanced Supply Chain, said: “The introduction of an increased speed limit on single carriageway roads is one to be welcomed industry-wide. The lauded economic benefits will certainly trickle down to each company within the industry. Our business will see significant fuel and time savings, as a result of us being able to utilise our vehicles to a bigger potential on a wider scale. Rural deliveries have often been the scourge of the road transport haulier. This ruling will now allow for quicker journey times and more efficient route planning.The industry is developing across the board. Higher specification equipment is now standard and operators are seeking to up-skill drivers, as we do at Advanced Supply Chain with our CPC training centre. It’s great to see law-makers have the backing of an industry that is seeking to push its own success at every opportunity.
  • Peter Barber, chairman at WH Barley (Transport Storage), said: “This is a win-win for hauliers and Joe Bloggs in his car. CVs have definitely been refined since the 1960s.”
  • Meachers Global Logistics commercial director Gary Whittle said: “The increase in speed limit should improve efficiency and save the haulage industry millions of pounds a year.”
  • Malcolm Gibson, MD at Isle of Wight-based haulier Steve Porter Transport, said: “The change will remove an antiquated restriction and bring the UK into line with many other European countries, cutting congestion and reducing the risk of accidents through dangerous overtaking.” 
  • Richard Fry, deputy MD at Framptons Transport Services in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, said he was pleased, and added: “I am sure it will have a positive effect on road safety as well as reduce carbon emissions.”
  • Andy Boyle, MD at ABE Ledbury, said: “It looks like they slipped the announcement under the gate before parliament went on holiday for the summer. They probably hoped that nobody would notice – especially the Green Party, which is predicting Armageddon on the roads as a result.”

By the CM news team

This article appeared in this week’s Commercial Motor magazine. Why not subscribe today?


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