Speed Limit Changes Coming for Truck Drivers

Raising the Limits

According to GOV, the national speed limit for heavy goods vehicles that are in excess of 7.5 tonnes is set to increase from 40mph to 50mph, and this will be implemented on all roads that are single carriageways. The exact date when this change will be introduced is uncertain at present, but it’s expected that early 2015 will see the proposal finalised. Until that date, the existing 40mph speed limit will continue to be enforced.

However, this isn’t the only adjustment to be under debate, as the suggestion to increase the speed limit for HGVs upon dual carriageways is also being mulled over, in this case upping the speed limit from 50mph to 60mph. Theoretically, this change is being planned in parallel with the single carriageway developments, but it’s not yet decided whether it will go ahead.

Advantages?

Apparently, the idea behind the confirmed single carriageway changes is to allow UK roads to be used better and more efficiently, as it’s theorised that an increased speed limit will vastly reduce congestion. Traffic flow is always a problem, so this simple speed change could help to assuage that.

As an additional benefit, safety could well be increased upon the roads as well. Because of the current wide discrepancy between the permitted speeds of cars and HGVs, potentially dangerous overtaking could be eliminated. Cars can currently travel at 60mph on single carriageway main roads, and the BBC relates how many parties are claiming that lorries need to be brought into line with ‘improved vehicle technology’.

Following on along the same lines, the amendment will also bring lorries and the like in line with the speed limit that coaches or caravans can legally travel at, and therefore it should be a popular development with most HGV drivers. As mentioned, numerous motorist groups believe that the existing HGV speed limits are extremely dated, so this proposal is being viewed in the manner of a long-required update.

Drawbacks?

In spite of this optimism, there could be a sting in the tail of this plan to raise the speed limits, as tougher measures will be exercised upon truck drivers who choose to exceed these newly raised limits. With a high speed limit in place, there will be even less reason for HGV drivers to go beyond their permitted speed limit, so safety laws in this area are likely to become even more rigidly enforced.

Additionally, some are not convinced that raising the speed limits for HGVs will be conducive to safety. Whilst it may indeed serve to combat bunching or aggressive overtaking, some claim that the plan ignores the ‘basic physics’ of lorries being much heavier than cars, and they would therefore become ‘downright lethal’ if the permitted speeds are raised. Concern particularly abounds for cyclists or pedestrians on rural roads, and it’s argued that crashes could become much more severe.

Fuel Efficiency

Clearly, there’s much to think about with regards to the new speed limits, but even if you may soon be able to go faster as a HGV driver, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Indeed, if you’re the owner of a HGV fleet, you should constantly be reminding your drivers to prioritise efficient driving, and if that means getting places more slowly at times, then so be it.

Of course, an optimal speed is only one way to improve fuel efficiency, and here at Fueltek we can provide a variety of fuel tanks – including bunded fuel tanks – and management systems that will work wonders for your fuel storage and efficiency. To find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact us now by calling 01254 291391 or emailing support@fueltek.co.uk. We’ll always be happy to help.