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Brake condemns announcement of increased speed limit for lorries

Transport Minister Claire Perry has announced the move for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes as part of a package of measures to ‘cut congestion, reduce dangerous overtaking and help get the country moving’. Meanwhile the Government has also launched a six-week consultation on plans to increase the speed limits for lorries on dual carriageways from 50mph to 60mph.

The announcement comes as a survey by Brake and Digby Brown solicitors reveals the extent of risky driving on country roads.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for Brake, the road safety charity, said: ‘We are disappointed and concerned by this announcement. Put simply, when vehicles travel faster, it takes them longer to stop, increasing risk. It is very well evidenced that increases in speed equal increases in crashes and casualties. At the same time, the road safety justification for this move is dubious: we are not aware of evidence it will help tackle risky overtaking, which should be addressed through other means. Pronounced speed differences between traffic can pose a risk, but the way to address this is by preventing car drivers going too fast, not speeding trucks up. The minister says she wants to get the country moving, but we ask at what cost to road users and the environment?

‘Our own survey has just revealed the worrying extent of dangerous fast driving on country roads. We should be taking steps to address this, through driver education, lower speed limits and better enforcement. We are concerned for rural communities already blighted by fast traffic and for those who want to safely enjoy the countryside on foot, bike or horseback. This threatens to make these problems worse.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.