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Government to raise lorry speed limit?
The government’s plan to increase the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles (HGV) reaches the end of its three-month consultation period this Friday.
Should the plans go ahead, the speed limit on a single carriageway for lorries over 7.5 tonnes could be raised from 40mph to 45mph or even 50mph.
This would bring larger trucks in line with smaller, 3.5t to 7.5t vehicles, which are already subject to a 50mph limit. Supporters argue that it will improve the economy, whilst critics point to potential safety and environmental issues.
Those supporting the change suggest that the existing lower limit causes congestion for hauliers and other motorists, and puts lives at risk through unnecessary overtaking incidents. Quicker lorries would aid economic growth and reduce frustration for drivers.
It’s a move welcomed by the Advanced Institute of Motorists and the AA, with the AA’s president, Edmund King telling the BBC last year that he sees it as ”a common sense move”, adding ”freer-flowing traffic will benefit road safety”.
Those against the change argue that faster lorries will lead to more accidents and have a negative impact on the environment. A lorry travelling at 50mph will inevitably burn more fuel than a lorry travelling at 40mph.
There’s also concern amongst cyclists, with Jason Torrance, policy director at Sustrans concerned that “faster moving lorries will take longer to stop and reduce reaction times for drivers”.
It’s a view shared by Julie Townsend of road safety charity Brake. “These vehicles take longer to stop and if they do crash, it’s more likely to be on a catastrophic scale”.
Other limits for HGVs over 7.5t will remain unchanged; therefore staying at 30mph in urban areas, 50mph on dual carriageways and 60mph on motorways.
The government will draw on the findings of the consultation shortly and make an announcement in the near future.
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