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HGV changes to deliver fairer deal for hauliers

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Rules governing HGVs will be modernised across England and Wales, transport minister Claire Perry has announced.

The Government plans to raise the national speed limit from 50 mph to 60 mph for lorries travelling on dual carriageways, following the increase in speed limits for HGVs on single carriageways announced in July this year.

Perry said: “It is really important that speed limits for lorries reflect the needs of a modern transport network and improved vehicle technology.

"Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world and I am determined to ensure this continues. This change is about ensuring rules for lorry drivers’ speed limits are in line with other larger vehicles on our roads, creating a fairer and more proportionate system.”

The changes to speed limits will update previous regulation dating back to the 1980s.

However, the road safety charity Brake has expressed disappointment at the Government’s plans.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for Brake, said: “This decision runs against work to more effectively manage traffic speeds and reduce casualties and emissions on our roads.

“As with the decision to raise the HGV speed limit on single carriageways, the government is making a leap of faith in spite of the legitimate concerns of road safety groups.

“The Government itself admits that, at best, there will be no economic or road safety benefit. At worst, it risks increasing deaths and serious injuries on our roads if the largest vehicles are allowed to reach higher speeds more often.

“The relationship between increased speed and increased casualties is a proven one, so why take the risk?

“Increasing the HGV speed limit on single and dual carriageways sets a dangerous precedent, sending a message that if traffic laws are persistently flouted, the Government would rather change them than get tough with the law-breaking drivers putting everyone at risk.”

Meanwhile, the Government has also published responses to a consultation on issuing on-the-spot fines for HGV drivers who take insufficient breaks from driving on longer journeys.

The consultation showed clear support for Government plans to give enforcement officers another weapon in the fight against irresponsible driving by both foreign and UK drivers.  Final plans are still being drawn up.

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