New Speed Limits for HGVs
It’s been proven that increased speeds mean increased casualties so it’s rather surprising that the speed limit for HGVs on dual carriageways was recently increased. There was plenty of debate around this issue and road safety charities have dubbed this a short sighted move, claiming that it is likely to lead to an increase in deaths, serious injuries and extra costs. These new regulations came into force on April 6th with speed limits for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes increasing from 40 mph to 50 mph on single carriageways and from 50 mph to 60 mph on dual carriageways. However, the new speed limits have been justified as being more suited to modern transport networks and reflecting the improvements seen in vehicle technology in recent years.
The new speed limit has been welcomed by transport operators who believe that the old 50 mph speed limit resulted in a large, 20 mph differential between HGVs and other road users led to dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. The new speed limits are likely to increase traffic flow and reduce the likelihood of long tailbacks forming behind HGVs on single carriage roadways.
Despite this, road safety remains a paramount issue as legislators strive to ensure that the UK continues to enjoy one of the best road safety records in the world and modern technology in the shape of telematics is now deemed more important than ever in keeping drivers and other motorists safe on the roads of Britain.
Telematics technology is used to monitor drivers in terms of the quality of their driving and provides fleet managers with data on driving standards within their workforce. The feedback gleaned from vehicle telematics systems allows managers to identify drivers who may need extra training to ensure that professional drivers in the UK are high skilled. Telematics helps to identify danger spots ensuring that drivers are aware of these so that they can take the appropriate actions where necessary. Some fleets are also using video cameras to supplement the data gathered by telematics systems, offering an enhanced insight with a complete record of all driving incidents.
The increased use of in vehicle technology is leading to safer driving practices which also results in more efficient driving. When drivers avoid rapid acceleration and harsh braking this leads to significant reductions in fuel consumption which reduces overall operating costs. These more efficient driving methods also have an effect on vehicle life, vehicles and their component parts are lasting longer nowadays which reduces maintenance costs.
There is incontrovertible evidence that driver behaviour has a significant impact on fleet operating costs and as more businesses recognise this advantage, driver behaviour and safety is becoming a priority for fleet owners. This is likely to benefit the fleet industry as well as other road users here in the UK as we see fewer frustrated drivers stuck behind slow moving HGVs on single carriage roads.