A change in the law regarding HGV speed limits came into effect very quietly on 6th April 2015.
Following consultation and announcements made last year, the national speed limits for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes, travelling on a single carriageway will increase from 40mph to 50mph. The speed limit for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes, travelling on dual carriageways will increase from 50mph to 60mph. The limits in Scotland are staying the same. European speed limiter requirements also remain unchanged and must be set at 56mph or lower.
This change has created a debate between road safety charities and the haulage industry.
National road safety charity, Brake said: “We are disappointed that the government has gone against the advice of road safety groups on this issue. The decision to increase HGV speed limits is short-sighted and runs against our work to more effectively manage traffic speeds and reduce casualties on our roads. The relationship between speed and casualties is a proven one, so allowing the largest vehicles on our roads to reach higher speeds more often risks more deaths, serious injuries and additional cost to the taxpayer. ”
At the time, the transport minister Claire Perry said “It is really important that speed limits for lorries reflect the needs of a modern transport network and improved vehicle technology. Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world and I am determined to ensure this continues,” and said the change would ensure speed limits for lorry drivers are in line with other larger vehicles on Britain’s roads.