Road Safety Campaigners Criticise Higher HGV Speed Limits

"Short-Sighted" Move Would See 10mph Increase For Vehicles Over 7.5 Tonnes


Serious injury lawyers have called for the Government to carefully monitor the impact of its increase in the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes, which came into force on April 6th.

The new rules have raised the speed limits for HGVs in England and Wales by 10mph, bringing them to 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways. The changes update previous regulations that date back to the 1980s.

Gary Rae, campaigns manager for road safety charity Brake, said: "We are disappointed that the government has gone against the advice of road safety groups on this issue.

"The decision to increase HGV speed limits is short-sighted and runs against our work to more effectively manage traffic speeds and reduce casualties on our roads. The relationship between speed and casualties is a proven one, so allowing the largest vehicles on our roads to reach higher speeds more often risks more deaths, serious injuries and additional cost to the taxpayer."

Defending the move, transport minister 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."

Expert Opinion
The changes made to HGV speed limits were always likely to provide to be divisive among different communities, with road safety organisations having significant concerns in particular.

"With the Government and others defending this decision, it will be interesting to see how the introduction of the higher limits impacts on safety on both single and dual carriageways. It is vital that this issue is carefully monitored across the coming months, with the aim of ensuring that safety standards on the roads remain high.

"If major safety concerns do ultimately arise, then steps should be taken to review this change or introduce further measures to address the issue."
Stephen Nye, Partner