HGV Speed Limit Plans

The Department for Transport released information today on its consultation regarding the speed limit for HGVs. Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are restricted to 40mph on single carriageways, and concerns have risen that this restriction is taking a financial toll on companies involved in freight and logistics, is creating congestion, as well as potentially causing unnecessary accidents on the roads due to driver frustration at being stuck behind slow moving vehicles.

The freight and logistics sector is vital to the economy and to businesses, and the financial cost of maintaining the lower speed limit as required by the Road Traffic Act of 1984 can cost companies both time and money. Vehicles under the 7.5 tonne restriction (those between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes) have a higher speed restriction of 50mph, and there is also concern that this is creating an unfair playing field between businesses, with smaller vehicles able to make journeys faster than those over 7.5 tonnes.

This time last year the Government agreed to re-evaluate the issue, opening the doors to this consultation scheduled to run until February of next year. While an increase in the speed limit for larger HGV vehicles would be beneficial to the companies behind them, the environmental impact, as well as the potential effect the higher limit could have on road safety is a big concern for the Department for Transport.

Documentation has been made available on the Department’s website regarding the consultation and the results of their impact assessment, clearly showing how the three proposed options would affect not just the businesses, but other motorists on the road as well as the environment. While the first option is to make no changes, options two and three propose increasing the speed limit for HGV’s above 7.5 tonnes to 45 or 50 mph on single carriageways, with all potential ramifications and cost explored.

With discussions on going, the final result is expected at the end of the consultation around 1 February 2013, when all potential ramifications have been carefully weighed and a decision made. A raise in the speed limit could positively impact the economy, helping to aid economic growth due to quicker journeys and lower costs for the haluage sector.

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