Lorries now going faster - 10th April 2015

Changes to regulation have now been introduced allowing lorries to travel at higher speeds on single and dual carriageway roads. The new regulations apply to vehicles over 7.5 tonnes which can now be legally driven at 50 mph on a single carriageway road and 60mph on a dual carriageway in England and Wales.

This change has fetched mixed reaction from different sectors. Road safety charities have voiced their disappointment, stating it is short sighted and the increase in speed could lead to higher casualties, while the freight transport association have welcomed the change.

Road safety charity Brake have for many years been campaigning for lower speed limits which they feel will solve the problem of road deaths. Whilst correct in their analysis that reducing your speed can reduce the chances of crashing, it also needs to be kept in context realising that many road deaths occur when a driver is exceeding the speed limit. The driver in these cases is already breaking the law, and therefore, would probably be doing so whatever the speed limit is set at. What most drivers fail to understand, and the message that needs to be communicated more effectively and taken on board by them, is that failing to manage your speed correctly according to the road and traffic conditions is actually what causes the danger making the speed limit irrelevant.

The freight transport association have welcomed the change and been pushing for its introduction stating that it will help companies move goods around the country more efficiently and economically.

The new regulation will bring lorries in line with the speed limit of other larger vehicles, namely buses and coaches. These vehicles have previously been able to drive at higher speeds and taking away the risks to any other road user, it seem a little strange that a vehicle with one life on board is not allowed to do the same speed as a vehicle with 50 lives on board.

From a drivers viewpoint, many of us have been held up on country roads by lorries travelling at what is considered a slow speed and the new regulations will hopefully de-stress and reduce risky overtaking manoeuvres from impatient drivers wanting to get past. We also need to remember why the lorry is there, and some thought given to the fact that however much of a pain you may think they are, if they were taken off the road the shelves in most shops would be empty within a day or two.

Many issues that feature in our news section may be of concern to you as an employer if you employ company drivers. It is important that you, as a company, are fully compliant with your responsibilities to those employees.

Fleetrisk24 Ltd specialises in Work Related Road Safety and Workplace Transport Safety and can help you put policies and processes in place to address your transport health and safety requirements.

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