HGV speed limit pilot given the seal of approval

The new speed limit will come into force at the same time as the average speed camera system on the route becomes operational - October 28th.

The pilot, which was approved by the Scottish Parliament earlier this year, will help to improve journey times and also driver behaviour, by reducing frustration, queue lengths and journey times for HGVs.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“This pilot is part of a package of measures that is being taken forward to improve the operational performance of the A9 and to enhance safety.

“We want to see reliable and competitive journey times for all road users, including the freight haulage industry. Simply raising the speed limits for HGVs could have a detrimental effect, but the use of average speed cameras as part of the pilot helps support the wider changes we are making to promote an overall improvement in driving conditions.

“The 50 mph HGV pilot will bring operational benefits and help reduce frustration on Scotland’s longest road.”

Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association said:

“The key issue here is one of improving journey time reliability for hauliers and other road users alike. Many A9 incidents, together with the resultant delays, are caused by no more than sheer motorist frustration when getting stuck behind a slow moving heavy goods vehicle. It makes sense that a 10mph reduction in the speed differential between cars and HGV’s will mean a corresponding reduction in frustration and accidents.

“In addition to improved efficiency, as most modern trucks do not get into top gear at 40mph, there are potential safety benefits. This really is a win-win situation for all users of one Scotland’s major arterial routes.”

Malcolm Bingham, the Freight Transport Association’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said:

“FTA is in full support of the 50mph speed limit trial for HGVs on the A9 and we look forward to its introduction on 28 October. We welcome the opportunity for such a trial as we believe the current differential in speed limits between HGVs and other vehicles increases the road safety risk."

Notes to editors

1) There are no proposals to change HGV speeds on other trunk roads in Scotland.

2) It is well established that increases in speed correspond with increased risk to road users. The pilot project on the A9 incorporates the average speed camera system to mitigate this risk and the monitoring process in place will evaluate the effectiveness of this mitigation measure. Simply raising the speed limit for HGV’s would have a detrimental effect on road safety. The Scottish Government are committed to ensuring that the nation’s road network is as successful as it can be, allowing all those who use it to get to their destinations safely and without unnecessary delay.

3) The Department for Transport have announced that from spring 2015 in England & Wales the maximum speed on single carriageways for HGV's will rise to 50mph. The DfT will be conducting a post implementation review of the change which will provide useful information from a Scottish context.

Contact Sarah O'Loughlin at Press Transport Scotland: 0141 272 7195

Published 21 Oct 2014