Road Safety News

Government confirms new 60mph HGV limit

Friday 28th November 2014

Claire Perry, transport minister, has confirmed Government plans to raise the national speed limit in England and Wales from 50mph to 60mph for lorries travelling on dual carriageways.

The move follows the increase in speed limits for HGVs on single carriageways, from 40mph to 50mph, which was announced in July this year. The Government went ahead with this change despite an internal “impact assessment” which indicated the move is likely to increase road deaths.

The changes to HGV speed limits will update previous regulation dating back to the 1980s.

The Government says that today’s announcement will ensure that (as of 6 April 2015) “lorry drivers have speed limits that are better suited to a modern transport network”.

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. This change is about ensuring rules for lorry drivers’ speed limits are in line with other larger vehicles on our roads, creating a fairer and more proportionate system.”

The Government has also published responses to a consultation on issuing on-the-spot fines for HGV drivers who take insufficient breaks from driving on longer journeys. It says the consultation showed “clear support for plans to give enforcement officers another weapon in the fight against irresponsible driving by both foreign and UK drivers”.


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Why is it "lorry drivers have speed limits that are better suited to a modern transport network", yet car drivers are stuck with the 1965 speed limit of 70mph and speed limits that are continuously downgraded everywhere? Another point is about "irresponsible" lorry drivers not taking their breaks, but where do you park one of these enormous trucks? How many roads, especially new ones, have lay-bys?

Here in Kent in 2013 over 2.2 million trucks went through the Port of Dover, yet the Highways Agency decided to close most of the lay-bys on the A2 which leads to the port on the excuse that they did not meet EU regulations. The Channel Tunnel handled another 1.3 million trucks, so Kent has an enormous truck parking problem that is reflected in the local media, as so many drivers park their trucks, through no fault of their own, in unsuitable places.

It is the Government that dictates the driving legislation, yet does not provide the infrastructure, so who is the "irresponsible" party in all this!
Terry Hudson, Kent

Agree (36) | Disagree (7)

I believe that you are somewhat optimistic in regards to HGV drivers driving to greater fuel economy. When driving was restricted to the old speed then those that obeyed the law were creating a tailback, ie 40mph in a 50mph limit, and created some dangerous overtakes. Now that they can drive at 50mph many drivers and motorcycle riders may make the decision that it's not worth the gain and remain behind, safely behind I hope.

I hope that HGVs will not unnecessarily overtake on duel carriageways as they still will be restricted to 57/60 mph or so and if they do overtake they will once more be creating a tailback. To overtake another HGV travelling only sometimes 1mph faster than the overtaking vehicle will take about one and a half miles.

Why does the overtaken vehicle not slow slightly to allow the overtake to take place more efficiently as they should by the Highway Code slow and assist.
bob craven Space is safer campaigner

Agree (23) | Disagree (7)

Except Paul...the speed limit is not supposed to reflect the 'maximum speed in ideal conditions' - in the vast majority of cases they're universal default national speed limits determined by their character and class i.e street-lit urban; single c/way and dual c/ways and motorways - it is foolish and potentially dangerous for motorists to infer that they are maximum safe speeds. It is simply the authorities (national or sometimes local) having decided it is desirable and appropriate that speeds on those roads do not exceed 'x' mph.

Apart from dual c/ways and m/ways, speed limits in the vast majority of cases are higher than the typical speeds of those roads anyway, so 'unnecessarily lowering urban and rural speed limits' is not the problem you perceive it to be and certainly would not affect the economy.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

I'm looking at it from the point of view of a speed limit reflecting the maximum speed in ideal conditions. If it doesn't, then it fails to perform an important function, risks being ignored and unnecessarily hampers the economy. Hence the speed limit should reflect the road layout, and actual driving speeds depend on the prevailing road conditions (including, as per this thread, additional speed restrictions applied to certain classes of vehicles).
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)

I wasn't sure from whose, or which, perspective you were looking at it - I'm guessing you're only looking at it from the motorist's perspective?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

Paul refers to vehicles that are 'voluntarily' limited to speeds below the speed limit. As the speed limit is raised these vehicles will cause increased congestion. Perhaps their drivers should warned against 'Driving with undue consideration to other road users'.
Robert Bolt, St Albans

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

Hugh - a problem for common sense where a speed limit should match the road layout and therefore be obvious - plus the unnecessary slowing and time wasting aspect.
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (5)

The previous increase (40 to 50 on single c'way) had a rationale of improved safety, albeit a questionable one. That fewer motorists would out of frustration overtake "slow-moving" lorries on roads which were not well suited to this manoeuvre. This change has no such motivation, for obvious reasons. It seems likely that many HGV drivers will adhere to the most fuel efficient speed, fifty-something. Some may take full advantage of the new limit. Will this mean more tortuously slow overtakes on inclines? Hard to say. I'm personally undecided as to whether this makes a difference to safety or not, but I would anticipate only minimal effect on anything.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

Jonathan, you don't have the full range of speed limits on your link. A full list is here:
which supports the limits stated within the article. Note: they refer specifically to the Goods Vehicle OVER 7.5 tonnes.
Iain, Suffolk

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

"...unnecessarily lowered urban and rural limits being the real problem". Problem?...for whom?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (9)

The information is not correct. Limits are 10 mph higher than those quoted in the article. Source, UK police:
Jonathan, Stamford

Agree (3) | Disagree (7)

I wouldn't worry too much about theoretical 'internal reports' about changing a number on a pole. Since we won't be able to see the report we won't know how the claim was arrived at. Claire Perry is simply there as a mouthpiece for government policy. I think the government speed limit raising agenda is related to their support of HS2 - if they argue that moving goods/people around the UK faster by rail is good for the economy, then it follows that moving goods/people faster by road is also good for the economy - bearing in mind that 82% of internal freight is carried by road and 90% passengers. Given that life expectancy is related to wealth/GDP, speeding the economy up, where it matters most - the roads, has a positive effect. I personally saw the proposed 80mph limit for motorways as a 'red herring' - unnecessarily lowered urban and rural limits being the real problem.
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

Agree (9) | Disagree (5)

I like the juxtaposed positions of this government when Claire Perry says that "Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world and I am determined to ensure this continues" whilst on the other hand, and I quote "The Government went ahead with this change despite an internal "Impact assessment" which indicated the move is likely to increase road deaths". Can anyone shed light on these statements on the same issue please?
bob craven Lancs..... SPACE IS SAFE CAMPAIGNER.

Agree (17) | Disagree (2)

Is it just me, or is this a bit odd? HGVs are internally speed limited to 56mph - I see some with signs on the back saying that they are limited (voluntarily) to 50 or 52mph, presumably as a fuel saving measure. Will many actually recalibrate their speed limiters to 60mph?
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

Agree (15) | Disagree (1)