Increasing the speed limit of HGVs to 60mph has had no impact on safety, according to a UK government report.
Issued by the Department for Transport, the report is the third and final assessment into the change in 2015 that introduced new national speed limits for lorries over 7.5 tonnes on single and dual carriageways, to 50mph and 60mph respectively.
However, in Scotland it remains 40mph on single carriageways and 50mph on dual carriageways. Last year (TN, October 2019) Transport Scotland told Transport News it would look again at raising speed limits for trucks once the DfT’s final evaluation of the HGV speed was published.
Now, in response to Transport News, a Transport Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We note the publication of DfT three year evaluation of HGV Speed Limit Increase in England and Wales. We will now take the opportunity to analyse the findings.’
Stakeholder interviews conducted in 2019 reported that awareness of the policy among drivers was good, driver stress and frustration had been reduced, and both HGV drivers and general traffic are considered to have benefited.
The report said: ‘Environmental analysis revealed no statistically significant effect on air quality and no perceptible change in noise level over a typical 18-hour day or during individual hours at night. This was true for both single and dual carriageways.’
Government impact assessments prior to the change in legislation was that it might lead to a small increase in collisions, but the research showed there had been no impact. It added: ‘The only significant finding [was] a reduction in collisions that are slight or serious across all study roads.’
Journey time savings and vehicle operating costs were predicted prior to the policy change as translating into benefits of £224.6m between 2015 and 2031. An updated economic assessment conducted in 2019 increased the calculated benefits to £225.8m.