Goods vehicle speed limits

Bank holiday speed bonus for drivers heading home

On Monday 6 April, speed limits for HGVs (goods vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes) increase by 10mph

On Monday 6 April, speed limits for HGVs (goods vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes) increase by 10mph

Drivers heading home on Easter bank holiday Monday may enjoy quicker journeys than when they set out.

On Monday 6 April, speed limits for HGVs (goods vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes) increase by 10mph, from 50 to 60mph on dual carriageways and from 40 to 50mph on single carriageway roads.

Motorway limits for HGVs remain unchanged at 60mph.

The Government’s raising of the speed limit to improve business efficiency is forecast to have little impact on dual carriageways but is likely to raise average HGV speeds by up to 5mph on single carriageway A roads.

Other than quicker journey times, the predicted benefits are: less ‘platooning’ of cars and other vehicles behind HGVs, less frustration among drivers behind which may lead to risky and ill-judged overtaking, and reduced toxic emissions (NOx) from HGVs (although faster-moving cars may generate more CO2 than currently).

However, drivers gauging whether or not to overtake an HGV must now consider the possibility that the lorry may be travelling at close to the new 50mph limit on straighter open single carriageway roads.

The AA urges more care overtaking lorries on single carriageway roads

New speed limits for HGVs

(goods vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes)

  • 50mph on single carriageway roads
  • 60mph on dual carriageways
  • 60mph (unchanged) on motorways

Dual carriageways

On dual carriageways, the government believes that, instead of speeding up to the new 60mph limit, HGVs will stick to a freeflow (not slowed by other traffic, junctions, hills, etc) speed of 53mph.

Not only is that the current freeflow speed on dual carriageways, but is typical on motorways because of better fuel efficiency. With EU-mandated speed limiters capping lorry speeds at 56mph, official research forecasts a mere 1 mph increase in lorry speeds on dual carriageways.

An AA-Populus survey of 20,046 AA members (February 2015) found that 28% already think that the dual carriageway speed limit for HGVs is 60mph while 3% though it was 70mph.

Tractors

Earlier this month (March 9), the speed limit for tractors was raised from 20mph to 25mph. With the weight limit for tractors and trailers increased from 24.39 tonnes to 31 tonnes, the changes are expected to improve business efficiency, reduce the number of journeys and time tractors spend on the road, and reduce the risk of accidents.

Hopefully, this speed increase will ease the frustration of drivers who find themselves ‘stuck’ behind an HGV on a winding single carriage road

Edmund King, AA president

Easing frustration

“Car drivers heading home at the end of the Easter bank holiday (Monday) may notice and wonder why big lorries are going faster than at the start of the Easter break.

Hopefully, this speed increase will ease the frustration of drivers who find themselves ‘stuck’ behind an HGV on a winding single carriage road,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.

“For drivers who are confident enough and used to passing HGVs on single carriage roads, they may have to lower their overtaking expectations or adapt their ‘roadcraft’ in anticipation of big lorries going faster on the straighter stretches of road.”

“Drivers pulling caravans may worry that they will now find heavy lorries trailing them, although government analysis suggests that they will still have the edge on average HGV speeds.”


(2 April 2015)