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National speed limit for HGVs to be increased

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Claire Perry, announced yesterday that the government is proposing to increase the national speed limit for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes on single carriageways from 40 mph to 50 mph.

The change will be implemented via a change in the law for early 2015. The existing 40 mph limit will apply until the change has been put into effect. The amended speed limit will cover single carriageway roads outside built up areas in England and Wales, unless specific lower local speed limits are in effect.

The government also announced the start of a 6 week consultation closing 5th September to seek views and evidence about increasing the national speed limit for HGVs on all purpose (non-motorway) dual carriageways from 50 mph to 60 mph – the intention would be to implement this at the same time.

The current 40 mph speed limit is broken by about 75% of HGV drivers when they are not constrained by other traffic or the road layout.

The speed increase should reduce delays and congestion. Removing the 20 mph differential between HGVs and car / motorcycles will reduce dangerous overtaking on single carriage roads. It will also bring HGVs into line with other large vehicles like coaches and caravans. Assessed benefits to business are estimated to be £11.8 million per year.

The Government will seek to focus on road safety by applying tougher procedures and sanctions for HGV drivers exceeding the new speed limits. It will also reinforce the other safety-critical laws with similar sanctions, including the prohibition on hand held mobile devices and the 30 mph limit in towns and cities.

The Government will also introduce a new offence of driving with a drug in the body over specified limits and tightening up drink drive enforcement.  In 2013 fixed penalties for many traffic offences were increased and they will also be applied to historic offences. Enforcement against drivers’ hours offences will remain a top priority for the authorities.

Posted on: 25.07.2014

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