Call to increase HGV speeds to improve road safety

Frustrated motorists are regularly tempted to try and overtake slow-moving lorries in dangerous circumstances – often with fatal results.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:59 pm
The MSPs have the backing of Kirkcudbright-based haulage firm, Hayton Coulthard

South of Scotland MSPs Finlay Carson, Rachael Hamilton, Craig Hoy, Sharon Dowey, Brian Whittle and Oliver Mundell have all signed a joint letter calling on the Scottish Government to revise the current HGV speed limits.

They want to see the existing limit of 40mph on single carriageways and 50mph on dual carriageways increased in line with the 60mph figure adopted in England.

Mr Carson, MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, believes the existing speed limits have been responsible for a spate of accidents on the A75 between Gretna and Stranraer over the years.

He said: “The A75 is notoriously bad for accidents and this is largely down to road users attempting to take risks by overtaking HGVs who are sticking rigidly to the speed limits.

“I am sure the same situation arises on many other single-carriageway roads across Scotland. Frustration creeps in and before you know it there has been a crash often serious or even fatal.

“By allowing HGVs to travel that bit quicker it will help reduce the need for motorists to overtake and reduce the number of accidents.”

The MSPs have the backing of Kirkcudbright-based haulage firm, Hayton Coulthard, which insists revising the speed limit will not only potentially save lives but vehicle operating costs.

Company director Duncan Coulthard joined the campaign and called for the Scottish Government to use “common sense”.

He said: “ We need the Scottish Government to increase the HGV speed limits on Scotland’s roads, given the wealth of evidence which shows the benefits of doing so.

“Studies have shown that road safety improves with higher HGV speeds, as fewer vehicles have to dangerously overtake.

"It concluded also that journey time savings and vehicle operating costs were predicted prior to the policy change as translating into benefits of £225.8m between 2015 and 2031.

“I welcome the letter calling on the Scottish Government to increase HGV speed limits, as it is common sense in reducing journey times and costs.”