The boss of a Wigtownshire haulage firm has hit out at the “crazy situation” of different speed limits for HGV vehicles in Scotland and England.
And Martin Jolly disputes Scottish Goverment claims that the lower limit north of the border prevents accidents.
On April 6 this year the UK Government changed the speed limit for HGVs travelling on single and dual carriageways in England and Wales from 40mph to 50mph. But it still remains at 40mph in Scotland because the Scottish Government fears a change will cause more collisions.
But Mr Jolly of Calgow Transport disputes this and argues that the slower limit is more likely to lead to dangerous driving taking place.
He said: “This is a crazy situation to have two different speed limits on this country’s road network. The 40mph limit is, in my opinion, the main reason there are so many accidents on the A75. Lorry drivers are keeping to the limit while drivers stuck behind them get more and more frustrated and then try to overtake when it’s not safe.
“Now we will have drivers having to remember to slow down when they cross the Border. It’s bound to lead to confusion.
“There is a trial of a 50mph limit on the A9 in Scotland but not on the A75. It this not why we had a referendum? We wanted to stick together but now there is one law in England and Wales and another in Scotland! It’s funny that they tried the poll tax out on us first but not something like this!”
Galloway Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I have considerable sympathy with Mr Jolly on this issue. It is a diabolical situation to have a change of speed limit at the border, particularly for northbound traffic heading to Loch Ryan on the Trans European Network Route that is the A75, and I have already written to the Transport Minister highlighting the difficulty that the Scottish Government’s position has created.
“It is not dissimilar to the drink driving limit difference that has come about because the Scottish Government saw fit to reduce the limit in Scotland – a move that can only create even more confusion for cross-border travellers.
“While I am a firm believer in the Scottish Parliament having the ability to legislate differently from Westminster, I cannot help but feel that these types of differences are just irritating – limits of this nature would be better if they remain the same across the UK.”
But South of Scotland SNP MSP Aileen McLeod defended the Scottish Government’s stance.
She said: “The Scottish Government has looked carefully at the case for changing speed limits for HGVs and does not plan to replicate the increases in Scotland as it does not believe there is robust evidence currently available to justify a widespread change in the speed limit.
“Many drivers already travel across Europe, where there is variation in speed limits from country to country, so an understanding of different speed limits is already common practice.
“It is also worth mentioning that the correspondence I have received from constituents on this issue has come from residents of villages on the trunk road network who were concerned that increasing the HGV speed limit would actually lead to problems of speeding through their communities.”
The UK Government said the higher limit would save hauliers £11 million a year but cycling groups fear it will hit road safety, and the Scottish Government has pointed to research that casualty figures are likely to increase.