The UK government recently announced that the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles will be increased from 40mph to 50mph on single carriage roads. The government report that this change will deliver an £11m benefit to the haulage industry, after taking effect in early 2015.
For transport operators, it is a much welcomed development, amending a speed limit set back in the 1960’s. Since that time, heavy goods vehicles have become far safer as technology has advanced and regulation ensures drivers are highly skilled and adhere to the laws of the road.
The change in limit should actually deliver a safety benefit for both drivers of HGV’s and other road users. The current 40mph speed limit means a large 20mph differential between HGV’s and other road users. This can can often lead to dangerous overtaking manoeuvres being attempted, some of which end in tragedy caused by drivers becoming frustrated when travelling behind HGV’s at such lowly speeds.
Another benefit is the increase in traffic flow, with the increased speed limit lessening the likelihood of long queues forming behind HGVs on single carriage roads. Furthermore, transport operators will see efficiency increases, leading to quicker journeys and possible additional work being undertaken.
Like with any change, some groups are concerned and as mentioned, HGV’s are safer now than they ever have been. Modern technology such as vehicle tracking & telematics is playing a central role in ensuring safety, keeping drivers and other motorists safe on the UK’s roads.
Telematics is used for example to monitor drivers in terms of the quality of their driving style, both in real-time and providing fleet managers data on driving standards. This enables feedback and training to be delivered, ensuring drivers are highly skilled professionals.
In terms of vehicle maintenance, telematics also plays a key role, alerting those responsible for fleet maintenance to any vehicle faults, ensuring that these are identified and resolved and maintaining high safety standards.
Other technology is involved in increasing the safety of HGVs, for example video cameras are being deployed in some fleets to supplement gps tracking & telematics data and insight, by keeping a visual record of driving and any incidents if they occur.
The increase in speed limit on single carriage roads is a positive move for the haulage industry, delivering an economic benefit to the UK whilst at the same time removing a potentially dangerous difference in the allowed speed between HGV’s and other motorists.