Safety is always a concern with HGV drivers. Due to their size they are often required to drive at lower speeds than most other vehicles in order to avoid accidents and having to claim on their commercial vehicle insurance. This however can cause a huge amount of frustration to other drivers on the road, especially on single lane carriageways, and there have been numerous accidents caused by drivers attempting to overtake HGVs.
In order to combat this, the Scottish government is debating whether to raise the speed limit for HGVs on the busy A9 road from 40mph to 50mph. Currently the road is notorious for its accident rate and ministers believe that by increasing the speed limit for HGVs frustrated drivers will be less likely to risk their lives by overtaking. The Road Haulage Association have said that the “archaic 40mph HGV speed limit on single carriageway roads” should be abolished in general, especially on busy roads such as the A9 which is one of the main routes to the Highlands.
Last month thousands of truckers took part in a ‘drive-to-rule’ protest by travelling at exactly 40mph along the long stretch of road to highlight how much chaos it created. Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said to Transport Minister Keith Brown that “There is an issue on single-carriageway sections of the A9 with slow-moving HGVs, behind which long lines of vehicles build up, leading to driver frustration and in some cases that causes accidents.”
Mr Brown responded saying that he would consider increasing the speed limit, however he is concerned about how safe the idea is. He said: “I am looking seriously at the issue. Safety has to be the first consideration and the only piece of predictive evidence we have so far suggests there might be a marginal disbenefit in safety terms. However, that is if it is carried out on its own, so there might be other things that could be done to ameliorate the effect of that.”