Motorway Speed Limit

HGV Speed Limit to Rise – About Time!

Last July (2014) it was announced that the speed limit for all vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes will increase from 40mph to 50mph on single carriageway roads.

I believe every stakeholder connected with the road haulage industry (which, if you think about it, is pretty much anyone who uses UK roads particularly regarding this issue) must be pleased to hear this news. The decision is right on so many levels I can scarcely believe how long it has taken to get to this point. These are just a few a number of advantages regarding this decision:

  • Increased Productivity for Operators – Think how many more deliveries can be achieved annually even for a small haulage operator under the new rules. Increased volumes, increased profit – as long as it’s profitable work in the first place! Also, another obvious benefit is the scope for more on time deliveries in case of delayed loading circumstances.
  • Safety – Some people may say how is increasing the speed limit 10mph going to save lives? The answer is simple – how many times have you seen motorists behind trucks so desperate to get past they try a ridiculous overtaking manoeuvre  to get past endangering themselves, the oncoming motorist and the truck driver? I can guarantee every experienced HGV driver has at least one experience of this and when they themselves have felt in danger of their personal safety – no driver should have to feel that way. Will raising the speed limit stop these overtaking manoeuvres? Not completely, but they will reduce significantly as 50 mph feels a hell of a lot faster than 40 mph!
  • Fuel Efficiency – The optimum speed for fuel efficiency for a 44 tonne articulated vehicle is 53mph (source: Volvo Dynafleet Expert). The rise in speed limit will allow lorry drivers to be more economical whilst driving benefiting the environment, the lorry driver (if measured and/or paid a fuel bonus) and the company. On some trucks, 40mph can be awkwardly geared so it neither one gear nor another, revving high depending on the ratios on the truck. A 50mph limit gives the driver much greater scope to drive within economy.
  • Higher Perception of the Haulage Industry – As mentioned above in safety, the frustration and road rage motorists experience stuck behind HGV’s give the industry a bad name – especially if you have your family name in big letters on your back doors!
  • My Inbox – As a director of Knowles Transport from time to time I will receive or have forwarded to me a complaint from a member of the public regarding how slow my vehicles are driving and how sick they and everyone else are of my vehicles driving slow purposely. Now obviously my courteous reply includes a link to the department for transport website with the official speed limits for HGV’s on and a reminder of regulations involved in running a haulage fleet and sometimes I may receive a polite reply apologising for the misinterpretation of the situation. However, fingers crossed I am expecting these type of complaints to reduce as a result of the new regulation.

Here are five good points that spring to mind regarding the increase in the speed limit for HGV’s – if you can think of any more or would like to comment on mine please feel free to comment below.

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