Release Date:
Release ID: 4684

Harmonise speed limits for safer roads, argues FTA

Speed limits for buses and lorries should be harmonised to give the greatest safety benefits for all road users. So says the Freight Transport Association (FTA) in its response to a government consultation on heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) motorway speed limits.

Although broadly supportive of efforts to normalise speed limits on these classes of vehicles, the leading trade body has questioned the logic behind introducing a different speed limit for lorries and a higher speed limit for passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs). Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said:

“These plans should make it easier for police to enforce the law and, crucially, by reducing the speed limit for smaller trucks from 70mph to 60mph it will remove some of the incentive for operators to run unrestricted lorries which are older and, by virtue of that fact, could be less safe and more polluting.

“However, despite this being a step in the right direction, it is odd that the proposed 65mph limit for passenger carrying vehicles is not being extended to HGVs – if anything the safety implications here would surely be greater.”

It has long been FTA’s contention that leveling speed limits between motorists and commercial vehicle drivers will remove instances of risky overtaking procedures, which are especially prevalent on single carriageways where HGVs over 7.5 tonnes are limited to 40mph.

Bingham concludes:

“For the most part it is the differential between speed limits that causes the greatest problems so any efforts to reduce this gulf must be supported. The speed limiter settings themselves are enshrined in EU law and therefore difficult to change, at least in the short term. For now, FTA recommends setting the national speed limit for all coaches, minibuses, and different categories of lorry travelling on our motorways at 65mph.”
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