Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Plan to cut motorway speed limit for lorries and buses

Motorway
Motorways did not have speed limits when they first opened

Lorries and buses face lower motorway speed limits and an outside lane ban under Department for Transport plans.

The government wants the maximum speed limit for heavy goods vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes to be lowered from 70 to 60mph, and minibuses from 70 to 65mph.

It aims to end the discrepancy between new vehicles fitted with speed limiters and older ones that were not.

The AA claimed it would improve traffic flows because some trucks spend up to 10 minutes overtaking each other.

'Clarity for everybody'

President Edmund King said motorists would generally welcome the changes and the prospect of reducing the amount of delays.

He said: "Because of the different speeds... on a dual carriageway road, you can get overtaking that goes on for 10 minutes, as one vehicle is only marginally faster. That causes delays for other drivers."

These proposals simplify motorway speed limits for buses, coaches and lorries so that everyone has to abide by the same rules
Paul Clark
Road safety minister

The plans, which are under consultation, also include increasing the upper speed limit for buses and coaches longer than 12m (39ft) from 60 to 65mph.

Currently, newer lorries are restricted to 56mph, while older vehicles can drive at up to 70mph on the motorway.

And while new buses and coaches with more than eight seats are limited to 62.5mph, older vehicles can travel at 70mph.

The government said the differences created a disincentive for companies to buy new, safer and more efficient vehicles.

Road safety minister Paul Clark said: "We want to provide clarity for everybody - drivers, operators, other motorists and the police - as well as making sure that there is a level playing field for those operating in the bus, coach and road haulage industry.

"These proposals simplify motorway speed limits for buses, coaches and lorries so that everyone has to abide by the same rules, regardless of the age of their vehicle."



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