Thursday, 30 April 2015

‘Killer’ trucks allowed off the leash, say campaigners . . .


‘Killer’ trucks allowed off the leash, say campaigners

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Increased HGV speeds could see a rise in fatalities on UK roads
ALLOWING heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to increase their speed could increase fatalities on minor roads, road safety campaigners claim.

Under the new regulations being introduced from 6 April in England and Wales, speed limits for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes will rise from 40mph to 50mph on single carriageways and from 50mph to 60mph on dual carriageways.

But this has brought fierce criticism from the Campaign for Better Transport warning that this is likely to lead to increased deaths and injuries.

Philippa Edmunds, Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The government is justifying increasing the HGV speed limit on the basis that it is commonly broken and ignoring its own figures which show the scale of danger that HGVs pose.”

“The government’s own latest statistics also show that HGVs are now six times more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than cars on minor roads.”

“The vast majority of HGVs flout existing speed restrictions, yet the government is rewarding the road haulage industry rather than tackling this and enforcing speed limits.”

“This is like burglary being legalised because burglary laws can’t be enforced. The interests of the industry are being put above people’s safety.”

However, the regulations have been broadly welcomed by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the IAM, said: “Driver awareness is the key if this policy is to deliver safer roads. There is wide spread ignorance about current speed limits leading to frustration and road rage as platoons build up behind lorries being driven legally. The new limits should reduce stress and ease bad overtaking. This has been proven in the first few months of higher limits on the A9 in Scotland.”

A wholehearted welcome for the change comes from the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD).

ABD chairman Brian Gregory said: “We are particularly pleased that the out-dated 40mph speed limit for HGVs on single-carriageway roads is going up. This will reduce the speed differential between heavy and light vehicles, particularly on major roads, with a consequent reduction in delays, frustration and the need to overtake. It is the spread of speeds, rather than average speed, that is linked to accident frequency.”

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