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Government raises speed limit for lorries on dual carriageways

Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes to be allowed to travel at 60mph - eight in ten already break 50mph limit

Lorries will be allowed to travel at 60mph on dual carriageways instead of the current speed limit of 50mph under plans revealed by the Department for Transport (DfT) last week. The news comes four months after the DfT admitted that a proposed increase of the speed limit for HGVs on single carriageway roads would lead to more casualties.

The increased speed limit on dual carriageways in England and Wales, which will apply to vehicles in excess of 7.5 tonnes and comes into force on 6 April next year, was announced by transport minister Claire Perry last week following the conclusion of a consultation.

The minister said: “The national speed limit increase on dual carriageways will modernise an outdated regulation dating from the 1980s, better reflecting the capabilities of modern HGVs. It will help to free professional hauliers from unnecessary regulation.

“The change will ensure that HGV speed limits are proportionate and better aligned with the limits for HGVs on motorways and single carriageways, and with other vehicles such as coaches and cars towing caravans.”

In an impact assessment, the DfT admitted that 80 per cent of the vehicles concerned already break the speed limit, travelling at an average speed of 53mph in free-flow conditions on dual carriageways.

Unlike the assessment made for increasing the speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads which estimates an increase of between 10 and 20 per cent in the number of people killed or seriously injured, doubt was expressed that there would be any change in such figures on dual carriageway roads.

Ms Perry, Conservative MP for Devizes, said: “Our evidence indicates that actual average speeds are unlikely to change in response to the change in national speed limit.

“Our impact assessment, which has been scrutinised by independent experts, concludes that there is not expected to be an adverse effect on road safety, but we will be monitoring the impacts closely,” she added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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25 comments

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jthef | 9 years ago
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I drive wagons (part time) and cycle and this is really nothing of an increase in 6 mph for HGV,s on the biggest roads will make no difference to cyclists. It may actually improve it. By that I mean the difference in speed between cars and HGV won't quite be as big. hopefully less cars swerving etc.
Personally on SOME single lane roads it would be safe as well but it would be complicated and confusing for the drivers, so it should not happen.

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Stumps | 9 years ago
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Its blatantly obvious to even the most ardent tory voters that this govt only bows to money and no matter what we, as a cycling community, say or do they wont give 2 hoots about us as there is no profit to be made.

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Simon E replied to Stumps | 9 years ago
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stumps wrote:

Its blatantly obvious to even the most ardent tory voters that this govt only bows to money and no matter what we, as a cycling community, say or do they wont give 2 hoots about us as there is no profit to be made.

It was blatantly obvious 30 years ago mate. Nothing has changed.

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kie7077 | 9 years ago
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 14

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antonio | 9 years ago
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80% breaking the law, someone's been missing out on a potential pot of gold, err, perhaps not, far easier to collect parking fines.

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ironmancole | 9 years ago
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I think my main issue with it is that the haulage association can motivate government to change speed limits UP as it makes them cash whilst acknowledging with the middle finger firmly extended that vulnerable lives will defnitely, not might be, taken.

To my mind this is no better than selling matches to children for £30 a box knowing a fire will result but claiming complete ignorance as the party responsible. Would society and a court not anticipate a level of duty from the supposed authority figure towards the less able?!!

Reason given = modern 'A' roads are safer so Claire Perry ticks their little box.

In contrast we have 5 deaths a day average and multiple serious injuries across the board and all manner of campaigns pleading for speed reductions on other roads (with particular emphasis on lethal rural roads) less able to support high speed Imprezas, sorry traffic, is firmly ignored.

You can only conclude that lives are less valuable than supposed monetary return and arguments of road safety are akin to trying to win an arse kicking contest with one leg.

IT SEEMS QUITE CLEAR, GIVEN PREVIOUS INACTION, THAT GOVERNMENT HAS A PRICE FOR YOU AND CONSIDERS YOU ENTIRELY DISPENSIBLE.

I IMAGINE SUCH AN OBVIOUS & WILLFULLY NEGLIGENT DISREGARD FOR LIFE AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS WILL FORM NUMEROUS CLAIMS IN THE HIGH COURT FOR UNLIMITED DAMAGES AS OPPOSED TO THE PRE-DETERMINED PITTANCE CURRENTLY ALLOCATED?

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EddyBerckx | 9 years ago
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How will this possibly improve things for hauliers if almost all of them break the current limit anyway? Are they assuming they'll just add another 10mph onto the limit i.e. now they'll travel at 70mph???

And are HGV brakes so much better than the 1980's? What about the driver reaction times? They better too?

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EnglishmanAbroad replied to EddyBerckx | 9 years ago
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StoopidUserName wrote:

How will this possibly improve things for hauliers if almost all of them break the current limit anyway? Are they assuming they'll just add another 10mph onto the limit i.e. now they'll travel at 70mph???

And are HGV brakes so much better than the 1980's? What about the driver reaction times? They better too?

They should be fitted with restricters that limit them to 56 mph.

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Airzound | 9 years ago
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Trucks on the A14 all do 60mph, some, generally the foreign ones, do 65mph.

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trekker12 | 9 years ago
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I thought lorries above 7.5t were speed limited to 56mph, or is that only the big artics? Most of the ones I see on the roads seem to have a 56 limiter sign on the back.
So this will allow a lorry to run at it's speed limiter rather than just off it which will make it more efficient.

I don't ride a bike on A roads anyway.

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bobbypuk | 9 years ago
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I have always found it weird that two roads that are of very similiar construction and layout indeed maybe even identical, the only difference one has a blue sign so lorries can do 60mph the other has green so can only do 50mph. Similiarly, with towing vehicles.

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Wolfshade | 9 years ago
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I think that this is somewhat a sensible measure. In reality a dual carriageway A road, is often indestinguishable to a two lane motorway. Both will have a central barrier both may have a hardshoulder but it is not compulsory.
I have always found it weird that two roads that are of very similiar construction and layout indeed maybe even identical, the only difference one has a blue sign so lorries can do 60mph the other has green so can only do 50mph. Similiarly, with towing vehicles.
Similiarly, I find it strange that just because one road has been labelled a motorway a cyclist can't ride it, yet if it were just an A road then we can, despite that it could be more busy than a motorway.
Regardless, given the desire to reduce emissions I am not sure how allowing lorries to go faster because they do so anyway is a good thing. It does seem quite a poor arguement. Surely a better one is that lorries speeds should be enforced better.
It also seems to be counter intuitative to allow lorries to go faster and then produce more CO2.

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RedfishUK | 9 years ago
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“The national speed limit increase on dual carriageways will modernise an outdated regulation dating from the 1980s, better reflecting the capabilities of modern HGVs. It will help to free professional hauliers from unnecessary regulation.

very odd comment, it doesn't reduce regulation on iota. It simply changes it from one number to another.
More bullshit from the "War against the Motorist" dung heap

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noether replied to RedfishUK | 9 years ago
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Increasing speed limits is at odds with the broad wish of society to limit CO2 emissions and encourage alternative modes of transport. Well done by the truckers' lobby to push through an amendment that flies in the face of the wish of most people, shame on the citizen pressure groups not to have halted it. Voters have now a clear picture of where the conservatives stand on environment and road safety issues, and will hopefully draw the proper conclusions; actions say more than a diarrhea of words and false promises.

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GREGJONES | 9 years ago
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Surely if 80% break the law, you enforce the law. You don't change to law to permit the law breaking.

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bdsl replied to GREGJONES | 9 years ago
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That rather depends what the law is. Presumably you're not calling for enforcement of the law requiring pedal reflectors on bikes.

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Simon E | 9 years ago
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"80 per cent of the vehicles concerned already break the speed limit"

Yep. Most HGV drivers already travel at 55mph+ (or on the limiter) everywhere, whatever the conditions.

If 80 % of cyclists broke the law all the time...

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ironmancole | 9 years ago
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This in any sensible world is going to end in more deaths...how can it not?

Given the number of HGVs regularly found in unworthy condition, tacho tampering with magnets, distractions such as watching movies as they look to relieve the inane boredom of driving endless miles, the obligatory drink and drug specialists and the fact they're typically morbidly obese makes throwing more speed in an act of complete stupidity.

Presumably the association of hauliers have found some way of persuading Claire Perry this was needed? If there is expected to be no perceivable difference in speed why the increase?

We then have the ever present left hand drive trucks (who according to a highways officer attending my wife who had been sideswiped by a foreign lorry on the motorway before driving off 'do this all the time') to contend with. Hey, why not, more the merrier.

Another step backwards, given the ample evidence to the contrary that motorists are incapable of playing nicely we should be looking to slow everything down...not throwing petrol on the bonfire.

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jacknorell replied to ironmancole | 9 years ago
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ironmancole wrote:

Presumably the association of hauliers have found some way of persuading Claire Perry this was needed? If there is expected to be no perceivable difference in speed why the increase?

Because, I sh*t you not, the haulage industry will save a mahoosive £12 million per year because of it...

Clearly, that's worth a few dead pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders, right? Well, our politicians seem to think so as they were told by the DfT it was expected to increase the number of road deaths.

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dodgy | 9 years ago
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How come the HGV drivers didn't have to prove they can 'behave' before getting their new speed limits? That's what was said to cyclists in order to get improved cycling facilities  3

Anyway, I personally don't have problems with HGVs and their drivers, it's the smaller but much less regulated and qualified tipper truck drivers I worry about.

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stealth replied to dodgy | 9 years ago
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dodgy wrote:

How come the HGV drivers didn't have to prove they can 'behave' before getting their new speed limits? That's what was said to cyclists in order to get improved cycling facilities  3

Anyway, I personally don't have problems with HGVs and their drivers, it's the smaller but much less regulated and qualified tipper truck drivers I worry about.

Witness the power of a very powerful lobby group (RHA, I think...)

Us timetriallists will be really lucky now...

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oldstrath | 9 years ago
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So then they'll drive at 70 because they get away with it, and in a year's time they'll be bleating for an increase in the speed limit to reflrct their need for legality. Pity they can't campaign for proper retesting and responsibility to go with the leniency they are allowed.

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Topcat replied to oldstrath | 9 years ago
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Does a 3 Mph potential increase in speed of HGVs on dual carriageways have a great affect on cyclists? Does anyone know if there is a plan to increase the speed limit for commercial vehicles below 7.5t on dual carriageways?

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Some Fella | 9 years ago
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By this logic i look forward to RLJ-ing and riding on the pavement to be legalised sometime soon.

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Some Fella | 9 years ago
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By this logic i look forward to RLJ-ing and riding on the pavement to be legalised sometime soon.

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