The new regulations mean speed limits for HGVs over 7.5-tonnes will rise from 40mph to 50mph on single carriageways and from 50mph to 60mph on dual carriageways.
Nigel Base, Commercial Vehicle Development Manager of the SMMT said, “This is good news for operators and business as the increase in speed limits should help to ease congestion on Britain’s struggling roads.
“The majority of the industry welcomed government’s plans when they were announced last year, and we expect the changes to have a positive effect on industry and traffic flow across the UK.”
Brian Gregory, Chairman of the Alliance of British Drivers, said the organisation is “particularly pleased” with the change.
“This will reduce the speed differential between heavy and light vehicles, particularly on major roads, with a consequent reduction in delays, frustration and the need to overtake.”
However, Campaign for Better Transport has criticised the increase, claiming the “interests of the industry are being put above people’s safety”.
“The government’s own latest statistics show that HGVs are now six times more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than cars on minor roads. The vast majority of HGVs flout existing speed restrictions, yet the government is rewarding the road haulage industry rather than tackling this and enforcing speed limits.”
But the Institute of Advanced Motorists has defended the change. Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research, said, “Driver awareness is the key if this policy is to deliver safer roads.
“There is widespread ignorance about current speed limits leading to frustration and road rage as platoons build up behind lorries being driven legally. The new limits should reduce stress and ease bad overtaking. This has been proven in the first few months of higher limits on the A9 in Scotland.”