Mixed feelings over lorry speed limit rise

April 8 2015  

Mixed feelings over lorry speed limit rise
Monday saw an increase in the speed limit for Heavy Goods Vehicles in England and Wales. Commentators are divided as to whether the move will lead to improved road safety.
 
The Freight Transport Association hailed the decision to raise the limit from 40 to 50MPH for vehicles over 7.5t on single carriageway roads outside of built up areas.
 
“This is a move to improve safety for all on single carriageway roads where the 20MPH speed differential between cars and trucks can lead to hasty overtaking manoeuvres that sadly often result in casualties,” said FTA head of road network management policy Malcolm Bingham.
 
But the Campaign for Better Transport warned that the increase is likely to lead to an increase in deaths and injuries. “HGVs are six times more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than cars on minor roads,” said Philippa Edmunds from the group. “The interests of the road haulage industry are being put above people’s safety.”
 
The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “There is widespread ignorance about current speed limits leading to frustration and road rage as platoons build up behind lorries being driven legally. The new limits should reduce stress and ease bad overtaking.”
 
The Government consulted on the higher speed limit for HGVs last summer. Transport Minister Claire Perry said at the time that the increase “will bring up to date a speed limit introduced over 40 years ago, modernising an antiquated restriction which puts us out of step with many other European countries”.
 
She had said that the higher speed limit will help to reduce delays and congestion, and acknowledged that responses to the consultation contained both concerns about potential increased risks due to higher speeds and views about improved safety due to less overtaking. But out of 703 responses asking whether the speed limit rise would be your preferred policy option, 515 replied no.
 
(Photo: Highways England)

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