Fleet News

Confusion over van speed limits

VAN fleets are walking a legal tightrope amid confusion about the speed limits their drivers should stick to.

Fleets are finding that inconsistencies by dealers when registering sub two-tonne vans are effectively creating two speed limits.

The Highway Code says car-derived vans weighing up to two tonnes can travel at 60mph on single carriageways and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways, effectively making them the same as cars.

But in addition it says goods vehicles under 7.5 tonnes are restricted to 50mph on single carriageways, 60mph on dual carriageways and 70mph on motorways. There is no clear lower limit on this rule.

Some dealers register these vans as ‘car-derived’ and others as ‘commercial vehicles’, meaning two vehicles exactly alike are subject to different speed limits.

These include some Ford Transit Connects, Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner.

Alan Phillips, a buyer for Morris Vermaport, which runs Vauxhall Combos and Citroen Berlingos, contacted Fleet News after receiving conflicting advice from police and transport authorities.

Phillips said: ‘I have spoken to two police representatives who deal with safety camera tickets and they gave me conflicting limits for car-derived vans under 2,000kg.

‘One said the limit was 60mph on a dual carriageway – the other said 70mph. ‘I also spoke to the DfT, which hadn’t got a clue and told me to phone a dealership to find out.

‘I did that and got the same confusion.’

As Fleet News went to press, the Department for Transport was unable to shed any light on the problem, as civil servants tried to provide a definitive answer. So for the moment it has been left to the industry to work it out.

Manufacturers admit it is something that has to be tackled and the solution may lie at the dealership.

A Citroen spokesman said the company regarded the Berlingo as car-derived, but was aware of confusion elsewhere.

He believed all vans under two tonnes were regarded as car-derived. He said: ‘As we understand the situation, it depends on whether the van was registered as a commercial vehicle or a car-derived van when it was first sold.

‘The salesman in the showroom fills in the form and he or she can put the vehicle down as either.

‘This means that, potentially, two identical vehicles could have different speed restrictions. It is a bizarre situation but we are not aware of any problems to date.’ A Vauxhall spokesman said the Combo, as well as Vauxhall’s other small commercial vehicles, the Corsa and Astra van, was car-derived.

He said: ‘Anything ordered from us will go through our central processing. It would be registered by the dealer and would come out as a car-derived van.’

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


  • Vincent Marshall - 03/09/2014 15:51

    It needs sorting out soon because 1000`s of van drivers watching their speedo`s instead of the road is potentially very Dangerous

  • David Ashton - 31/10/2014 09:45

    We have just fallen foul of this, as a member of staff, driving a Volkswagen Caddy just received a speeding ticket for doing 70 on a national speed limit dual carriageway! This is a very confusing, grey area and really should be clarified.

  • mickytoolman - 26/11/2014 23:07

    I have a 3.5t sprinter and because I have no rear windows, have been told that I should only do 50max??????????

  • graham - 29/03/2015 17:13

    I bought a new Vivaro in November trading in a long wheelbase Transit. I specifically asked the dealer if car limits applied and was told that the short wheelbase was the same as a car but the long wheelbase was not. I gave just got a ticket for doing 72 mph in a 70 limit because the van is limited to 60 mph according to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. I am spitting feathers. I also assume I have no choice other than to take the hit.

    • David - 29/03/2015 17:13

      @graham - I think you may, it was Cornwall that got us and appealing did no good! They seem to be very hot on this. Never had any problems elsewhere!

  • John - 17/05/2015 17:40

    If the van is car derived - readily identifiable as a derivation of a car ie. escort van, fiesta van, corsa van etc The speed limits are per car. 60 mph single carriageway, 70mph Dual carriageway If not car derived the vehicle / van is specifically constructed to carry goods or burden . This now covers Ford connects, Vw caddys etc and as such will be subject to the lower speed limits of 50mph single carriageway and 60 Dual carriageway. The salesman has nothing to do with your speeding ticket or penalty points, he's only interested in selling you the product, make sure he identifies the vehicle correctly on the log book!

  • Simon Blackburn - 02/06/2015 16:06

    I am about to go to court for doing 67mph on a single carriageway section of the A30 in Cornwall. I hadn't slowed for the single c/way and was on my way home trying to stay under 70mph. I would have slowed if anybody else had. I was ASTONISHED to see my car/van (a CV Berlingo) should have been doing no more tahn 50mph ! I am going to mag. court to try and get some understanding - no one had told me I was limited to 50 and I really would have expected it !

  • jason - 22/06/2015 13:17

    I have raised this with the RAC, one of our drivers as been fined for doing 61 in 50 in a bellingo. DVLA said its down to admin registering the vehicle as a panel van and not car derived. I have also found transit with windows is fine to do 60 if it as been registered as a crewcab, which our is not again down to admin registering at point of sale. DVLA will change but to late for our drive, who we still have to employ as the van stickers from Police Scotland are now wrong.

  • Pete D - 12/07/2015 07:40

    This does not help people who get caught "potentially speeding" , whilst thinking they are driving within the speed limit at 70mph , when in fact they should only be doing 60mph . In hindsight , its better to drive at the lower limit , of which i now do for fear of adding points to my licence as well as the increased fine of £100 .

  • Michael maughan - 06/09/2015 10:14

    I've just received a speeding fine driving back from Cumbria. 68mph on a dual carriageway. My van safer than a hgv. When did it become law that van drivers can only do 60mph

    • michael matheou - 11/12/2018 11:30

      yes when did it become law, some one please let me know.

  • Mr A D Johnson - 13/10/2015 17:30

    I have a ford connect and have been prosecuted for doing 71 mph on a dual carriageway,i thought i was driving to the correct speed limit and was shocked at receiving a speeding ticket through the post.

  • Ian Keenan - 24/01/2016 10:09

    Believe me a Partner connect is 50/60/70 single/duel/motorways had to sit a speed awareness course for doing 70 on a duel. Just a note from this course duel is not 2 lanes, only if it has a central reservation , 2 lanes without is a single 50mph speed limit. Hope this helps

  • Robbie Close - 26/04/2016 11:59

    This stinks ! I have never heard of this law and have been driving since 1984. I got "caught" doing 61mph in my lwb sprinter over the N.Yorks moors, not a footpath, house, school, shop or indeed pedestrian to be seen for miles and miles. Safety cameras ? I dont think so. . . cashpoint more like.. .camera hidden . . now I take 3 points for being a responsible driver and pay a fine and increased insurance or go on a course at cost to me and a day out of work. stinks ! next time i see a camera in a rural area i will be stopping and asking how are they making it safer ? all the people are in the towns and villages.

  • Paul Knowles - 22/08/2016 11:01

    There is absolutely no cofusion whatsoever if you follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits. Basically, if is built as a van, IT IS A VAN! The only exception is where it is a converted car body, e.g. Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa....it must have a car "look a like" to be classed as a car derived van, (and that assumes that the weight stays below 2Tonne), if it goes over the 2Tonne limit, then its back into the van category.

    • George - 26/09/2016 22:41

      I have to disagree with you. I have received a NIP and have been sent to a speed awareness course for doing 70MPH on A11 Dual Carriageway in my Peugeot Partner VAN just because it has been registered as a Panel Van (position D5 in V5C). At the course I was told that I shouldn't have been punished as my van is same as Royal Mail is using, i.e. it is a car derived van (it is based on Peugeot 308) and it's maximum permissible mass is 1945kg which is below 2 tonnes and therefore it complies with the 1982 law to be treated as a car derived van and thus treated as a car when it comes to speed limits. After sending copy of VAN's V5C and photos of my van to Norfolk Police they have investigated the alleged offence and I've received such a reply: 'We have now reviewed the evidence you provided (V5C) and conclude no offence was committed, therefore have cancelled your notice.' Now I need to get my 90 quid back from the course provider (pity I won't have the time back though...) So if your van's max gross weight is below 2 tonnes then go ahead and fight to be cleared from speed offence charges! Regards

      • Lisa Marley - 15/03/2017 10:50

        This exact situation just happened to me, I received a NIP for doing 72 on a 70 MPH dual carriageway and I drive a Citreon Berlingo - the weight is 1920 KG on the V5C however it is down as Light Goods Vehicle. Can this be overturned like yours? I assumed because it was under 2 tonnes, the speed limit was same as cars. How would I appeal this? Do I do it at the course, any help much appreciated. Thanks in advance

  • Andrew Williams - 17/09/2016 11:42

    I received a NIP for doing 70mph on a dual carriageway in a Renault Trafic SWB. My question I need to ask somebody is how come a Range Rover Sport weighing upto 2500kg can freely do 70mph on a dual carriagway regardless of what you place in it's loading area, but a van if fully loaded at 2700kg even if it's fruit or foam can only do 60mph. Both these vehicles have to pass the same NCAP tests for UK roads yet this law is still in place. We are not using cable brakes any more or do they not know this. Maybe we need to start a petition or something.

  • Jim burke - 17/11/2016 20:17

    Just been done for speeding,doing 72mph.in a Ford connect.has 5seats and is car derived.police say limit on duel carriageway is 60mph.

  • Bryan - 23/12/2016 16:51

    I am find this an issue too, I just got a ticket through the post today for doing 59mph on the a66 near Penrith Cumbria as far as I was aware I was just under the 60mph speed limit but it looks like my van should of only been doing 50 (I seen the camera in plenty of time and could of braked down if I'd only of know that I should of been travelling at 50) I've been driving small vans for the past 25yr and I thought my new (bought 2yr ago) Peugeot partner van was a car derived van. This needs sorting out

  • Brian - 12/08/2018 22:01

    I’ve just joined the long list of people caught out by this farce. I was in a hire vehicle from europcar they gave no advisory information on this issue, perhaps they should be forced to.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee