Thursday, February 26, 2015

HGV Speed Limit Changes - Road Haulage and Freight Transport Operators - The Facts

Revised Limits from April - but Not in Scotland or Northern Ireland
Shipping News Feature

UK – Many people are still unaware that there are to be two important changes to the speed limit for HGVs above 7.5 tonnes in England and Wales which will be introduced from 6 April 2015. The speed limit on single-carriageway roads is raised from 40mph to 50mph (subject to any local speed restriction below 50mph). At the same time, the speed limit on dual-carriageway roads is raised from 50mph to 60mph (again, subject to any local speed restriction).

These changes were lobbied for by industry bodies such as the Road Haulage Association (RHA) which has lodged an advisory document accessible to its members on its website. The RHA says it is a ‘bold change’ initiated by transport minister Claire Perry but readers should note these variations are not applicable in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The changes will not have such a major impact in that trucks will still be limited to a maximum speed of 56 mph or below but the move has been generally welcomed by the industry, particularly the single lane ruling which may go some way to eliminate tailbacks behind lorries being driven quite legally but infuriating drivers of other smaller vehicles which had the higher speed limit.

The RHA also warns that operators should ensure their tachograph analysis software is revised if necessary and driver handbooks reflect the changes. The organisation, along with other industry bodies, strongly recommends fitting the latest technology to all trucks in the form of forward facing cameras to clarify the circumstances in which incidents occurred. Traditionally the driver of the rear vehicle has always been blamed for any collision but the video evidence from these cameras often exposes actions by others which have made the situation unavoidable or at least offer some mitigation.