Increasing HGV speed limits in 2015 has saved businesses about £10 million per year and could have contributed to decreasing HGV-related crashes, a Department for Transport report suggests.
On April 6, 2015, the speed limit for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes was increased from 40mph to 50mph on single carriageways and 50mph to 60mph on dual carriageways.
The aim was to bring HGV speeds closer to that of other traffic to improve safety.
Since the rule change, the average speed of HGVs on single carriageways has increased by 1.5mph, from 44.1 to 45.6mph, while an increase of 0.4mph, from 52 to 52.4mph, has been seen on dual carriageways.
The government report suggests that there is a “statistically significant” improvement in road safety on study roads.
The report also suggests that the speed increases have benefitted hauliers to the tune of over £10m per year by saving more than 650,000 driving hours. It also found that increasing the speed limit resulted in a 70 per cent reduction in the number of HGVs caught speeding.
Roads minister Michael Ellis said: “I am pleased to see the improvement in safety while helping to unlock the UK’s potential – encouraging growth and enhancing productivity.
“Increasing the speed limit for lorries has helped companies save time and money, enabling them to re-invest this in their business and buying newer and greener vehicles.
“This move has also potentially improved road safety as it appears to have reduced the risks some drivers take when overtaking slow-moving vehicles.”