The government has announced plans to raise the national speed limit to 60mph for lorries travelling on dual carriageways. This has caused worry and disappointment for many road safety campaigners and despite the government’s belief that it is a positive move, many people are worried about the safety of our roads.
50 to 60mph for Lorries
The government have described their change, which was announced at the end of November, as a modernisation of the rules governing HGVs and have described it as a necessary change to ‘reflect the needs of a modern transport network’. The change will take place from 6th April 2015 and there have already been complaints from many safety organisations that more lives are being put at risk by this change.
Opposing Higher Speeds
This is the second time the government has made a change to the speed limits for HGVs, with a change in single carriageway speed limits announced back in July. Back then, Brake, the road safety charity condemned the government’s decision and they have once again condemned the planned changes to the dual carriageway speed limit change.
Road safety groups including Brake have expressed serious concern on several occasions about the speed change and there are now worries that dual carriageways will become even more dangerous for pedestrians crossing as well as other road users.
Brake’s Deputy Chief Executive, Julie Townsend, has described the change as ‘a dangerous precedent’ and many other road safety groups agree.
HGV Road Traffic Accidents
As our blog post back in May said, HGVs are involved in more fatal traffic accident every year. This is one sector of the road traffic accident statistics which isn’t coming down and if the speeds go up there is a huge risk that the number of fatalities and serious accidents will go up too.
Campaign for Better Transport, who we mentioned back in May, have also shared their thoughts on this speed change with a further enforcement of their belief that safer lorry designs are necessary, not higher speeds. They go as far as to say that the speed change is simply happening to ‘accommodate the 82% of lorry drivers who already break the speed limit’.
Instead, Campaign for Better Transport say we should be looking at new designs for lorry cabs including reduced blind sport and a crumple zone designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians from being pulled under the wheels in a collision. This idea has been taken to Parliament by UK Transport Undersecretary Robert Goodwill and has a great deal of support in the road safety community.
Reducing the number of road traffic accidents in the UK will help bring down the cost in terms of capital and human life.