Announcement of HGV speed limit increase causes conflict

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 17:00
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Is the speed increase best for everyone?

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) have voiced their support of the announcement that the speed limit will increase for HGVs, whereas Brake want the government to hold their horses.

The Government decision followed a public consultation stating that the national speed limit for heavy goods vehicles on single carriageways will increase from 40mph to 50mph.

Commenting on the announcement Malcolm Bingham, FTA 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.”

The current speed limit was introduced in the 1960’s and since then lorry technology has obviously advanced. The change will modernise an antiquated restriction, which is not matched in most other European countries.

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 The current limit is long out-of-date and the frustration it generates causes unnecessary road safety risk.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that the change of the national speed limit on single carriageways is planned to come into force early in 2015 and the existing 40 mph limit continues to apply until the change has been put into effect. They also urged English councils to use local powers to restrict traffic to 30, 40 or 50 mph where necessary because of pedestrian and cyclist use of roads, where the road is located and the layout.

The news comes in contrast to today’s survey released by Brake regarding speeding on country roads. Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for Brake, said: “Our own survey has just revealed the worrying extent of dangerous fast driving on country roads. We should be taking steps to address this, through driver education, lower speed limits and better enforcement.

“We are disappointed and concerned by this announcement. Put simply, when vehicles travel faster, it takes them longer to stop, increasing risk. At the same time, the road safety justification for this move is dubious: we are not aware of evidence it will help tackle risky overtaking, which should be addressed through other means. The minister says she wants to get the country moving, but we ask at what cost to road users and the environment?”

Do you think the speed increase is best for everyone? Let us know in the comments below


  1. This is long overdue and further changes need to be made for motorways and dual carriageways. Trucks now have better braking abilities than cars from the sixties even at 44 tonne, along with intelligent braking systems and lane wander controls. Their is no reason why limiters are even fitted, Like all road users, truck drivers should be responsible for keeping within the law yet have the added flexability to use a bit extra when required for overtaking etc….this would stop 1 hour overtakes and frustration for other road users.

  2. Trucks overtaking duels are because they are both bouncing off the speed limiter all the time,56mph/90kph for most vehicles.Drivers have to get the most out of their vehicles,and getting held up behind a even as lightly slower truck can cost the haulier dear,maybe 30-40 miles in a working day,(drivers can only drive for 9 hours most days,or 10 hours three times a week).
    On most European motorways the actual truck speed limits are lower than the limiter speed,so they have a power and speed margin when overtaking.
    Additionally they have extra slow vehicle lanes on any significant inclines,and stretches of motorway every so often where truck overtaking is prohibited .
    We could learn a lot from the Europeans….

  3. this is long overdue needs to put up across the bored

  4. I agree with Dave’s comments below (12.41) having travelled from Inverness to Northampton lately there are far to many trucks overtaking slower trucks (Tesco) that keep to the limit and they usually take the length of the overtaking lane to do so and you wonder why car drivers get frustrated. Increase speed limit to 50 and ban trucks from overtaking in the overtaking lanes.

  5. Lance – interesting comment you make about advances in trucks and the massive improvements in their ability to stop. Presumably you would therefore also agree that since cars have improved so dramatically over the last 40 years, no drum brakes now, the 70 mph speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways and 60 mph on single carriageway roads for cars should be similarly increased?

  6. I agree that this change will be good for operators, in that it should help reduce their fuel bills as their MPG increases, due to the change in the speed limit. Lower HGV fuel bills should also have a direct benefit to consumers, as reduced transportation costs should be reflected in prices at the supermarket etc.

    As a business we are actively trying to help our haulage customers make their businesses more sustainable, and this action will result in less green house gases being omitted into the environment, so again a win, win situation.

  7. About time to. However this should be in conjuntion with limiting lorrys overtatking on parts of our dual and motorway network as on the continent. Nothing more frustrating for a motorist when in a huge tailbac due to a hgv travelling at 50mph overtaking a hgv at 49.9mph saving a colossal 2mins on their Lands End – John o’Groats journey

  8. Raising the speed limit will reduce the frustration felt by many car drivers when stuck behind HGVs at 40mph on A roads,and therefore reduce the number of accidents caused by risky overtaking manoeuvres.
    Trucks are now so advanced that the stopping distances from 50mph are far shorter than they were back in the 60’s,even at the higher gross weights that are now allowed.
    This finally harmonises the limit that many other European countries have had for years,however many of the naysayers and doom mongers typify the British attitude that road transport is an unnecessary nuisance and trucks should be banned from British roads…. a far cry from the Europeans,where road haulage is both understood to be absolutely vital to national economies,and where road hauliers/truck drivers are highly respected..
    “if you’ve bought it,a truck brought it”

  9. Mmm? there are always two schools of thought but I know from personal experience that a great percentage of hauliers actually limit the speed of their fleets in order to save thousands (and I mean thousands) of ££££’s on their fuel bills. As far as overtaking is concerned, we should adopt the system used in many European countries where A) HGV’S can only overtake in specified areas and where B) HGV’s are not allowed on the road at all on Sunday’s. Wherever they are on Saturday night is where they stay or get very hefty fines in caught driving. Some of the most dangerous HGV drivers on our roads and those in mainland Europe,are eastern European drivers and their poorly maintained tractor units and trailers.

  10. Just as many motorists do not understand that the limit for lorries is only 40mph, very many more do not understand the extremely high level of training undertaken by HGV drivers, their higher than average driving and attention skills, as well as the exceptional amount of regulation imposed on them. I would suggest that, in the UK, standards of driving among HGV fleets is far greater than the average road user who appears to be able to do what he likes and get away with it. Perhaps we should look at allowing HGV drivers more freedom on out roads and restricting drivers of certain brands of motor car! Thank you.

  11. Brake once gain completely out of touch. Education at learner stage about driving- not just passing a test and lorries able to keep. Its time Brake was disbanded/discounted as a source of information. Prosecution is not the way forward either as zero risk is not possible.

  12. This will increase the chances of “risky overtaking” not reduce it. If the speed differential between the HGV and the car behind it is only 10 mph (60 – 50) then it will be more difficult for the car to overtake than it was when the differential was 20 mph (60 – 40). The manoeuvre will take longer and therefore the risk will be higher – it may be good news for hauliers but I fear that it will just mean more hold ups behind HGV’s as even less people attempt to overtake to travel within the 60 mph for cars.

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