As fleet owners and managers, it is essential that you make drivers aware of any changes or alterations to speed limits or speeding fines and convictions. For both risks to safety and to business, it is essential that drivers are aware of speed limits and stick to them. As you’ll no doubt be aware, speed limits for HGVs were increased on the 05th April 2015 in England & Wales. Trucks over 7.5 tonnes can now travel on single carriageway roads at a maximum of 50mph, and on dual carriageways at a maximum of 60mph.
These changes do not apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland where the limits haven’t changed and remain the same. The increased limits on single carriageway roads were welcomed by the industry as a common sense move. The higher speed limit will lead to fewer frustrated car and van drivers attempting dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, cut congestion and save road haulage firms £11m a year claims Transport Minister Claire Perry.
A survey conducted by road safety charity Brake and insurer, Direct Line, suggests that it may well save lives. 80% of respondents said that at some time, whilst driving, they’d felt threatened by dangerous overtaking – and had to take avoiding action.
“Hopefully the increased speed limits will reduce journey times for all drivers and make our roads safer. But whenever we’re behind the wheel we need to be aware of our speed and safe stopping distances in all types of weather,” says John Keelan-Edwards, director of Driver Hire Training. “As well as reducing the risk of an accident, defensive and courteous driving has an additional benefit – it’s more fuel-efficient too.
Not being aware of the correct speed limits can result in points on a driver’s licence – or worse, a ban. This is just one of the reasons that it is an employer’s legal responsibility to make regular checks on the licence of workers who drive as part of their job.
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles.
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles when towing caravans or trailers.
Motorhomes or motor caravans (not more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight).
Motorhomes or motor caravans (more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight).
Buses, coaches and minibuses (not more than 12 metres overall length).
Buses coaches and minibuses (more than 12 metres overall length).
Goods vehicles (not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight).
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in England and Wales.
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in Scotland.
On April 24th 2017 a change in the way speeding fines are issued took place. It meant people saw an increase in fines and a further risk of disqualification.
Drivers who are caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, 51mph in a 30mph zone and 66mph in a 40mph zone now face bigger fines. These fines in general, start from 150% of their weekly income. The previous figure was 100% of weekly income.
Drivers who really push it and are caught at 101mph in a 70mph zone face a similarly increased fine and a potential driving ban of up to 56 days. It’s also going to be more important than ever to keep an eye on the speedometer in urban driving situations. If you are caught exceeding a 30mph limit by anywhere between 1 and 10mph, you could have 3 points added to your licence and a fine of 25-75% of your weekly income.
Overall the maximum fine for speeding remains at £1,000, unless the offence was clocked on a motorway, where the maximum fine has increased to £2,500.
According to the Sentencing Council for England & Wales, who issue guidelines which, in most cases, courts must follow, the increases have been introduced to reflect a clear increase in the penalty to match the seriousness of offending.
The increases underline the Government’s ‘Think’ road safety campaign to reduce speeding drivers on UK roads. According to its website a pedestrian is four times more likely to be killed if hit by a vehicle travelling at 40mph than one travelling at 30mph.
As it currently stands there have not been further updates to speed limits and convictions since those mentioned, however the speed limits for HGV’s in Scotland and Wales are under review as reports have indicated higher speeds can improve safety and productivity.
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