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Trial HGV speed limit increase welcomed

11 June 2014 #News #Other #Policy #Top Stories #Truck

Trucks over 7.5 tonnes will be allowed to run at up to 50mph on the single-carriageway A9 road between Perth and Inverness after a three year trial of the higher speed limit was approved by the Scottish Parliament. The current limit for HGVs on all UK A-roads is 40mph.

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown commented, “There can be journey time savings, and savings can be produced for companies and, ultimately, customers by bearing down on transportation costs. There can also be more certainty about planning and how long it will take to use the road.”

Transport body RHA is ‘delighted’ that the trial has been approved in Scotland and will be launching a safe driving campaign for hauliers likely to use the road. However, the RHA regrets the continuing delay at Westminster in making a decision on allowing trucks on single carriageways in England and Wales to increase speeds from 40 to 50mph.

The RHA notes that, for the most part, trucks will not produce any greater amount of emissions due to being able to run in a higher, more fuel-efficient gear. The Association also points out the productivity increases, especially for multi-drop drivers.

Phil Flanders, Director of the Road Haulage Association in Scotland, said, “We anticipate a smoother flow of traffic and a substantial reduction to the frustration among car drivers that the low speed limit creates.

“Many motorists have been unable to understand why HGVs travel at a speed that held them up so unnecessarily. That is why some trucks have had stickers pointing to the legal limit.”

Highlands and Islands MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has also welcomed the pilot.

The Labour MSP told the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, “A local HGV driver approached me in December 2012 and asked me to do all I could to help the local hauliers get the speed limit for HGVs on the A9 increased from 40mph to 50mph.

“I was only too happy to come on board, as I am aware that a lot of road collisions on the route are caused by frustration. When you have one set of vehicles able to travel at 60mph and others at 40mph you are going to get long tailbacks, queues and then frustration kicks in. It is my hope that if HGVs can travel at 50mph and other vehicles at 60mph then there will hopefully be less frustration caused as most drivers will happily travel at a constant appropriate speed.”

If the trial is successful, ministers will look at increasing the speed limit in 2018.

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