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When road crashes involving HGVs occur, it is easy to assume company drivers operating recklessly are the primary cause. Sometimes that is true. But is it always? Could speed limits on some roadways be contributing to unnecessary crashes and, in some cases, even serious injuries and deaths?

That’s the challenge posed by conservative MP Murdo Fraser from the Mid-Scotland and Fife region. Mr Fraser met with transport minister Keith Brown last week to suggest the possibility of raising the speed limit for trucks on the A9. Fraser explained that 40 mph limit could be contributing to unsafe conditions on portions of the road.

Fraser said that slower moving HGVs are more apt to be overtaken by passenger vehicles that are allowed by law to drive faster. On some of the more dangerous portions of the road, overtaking an HGV increases the likelihood of a crash with oncoming traffic. According to The Courier, the A9 has claimed more than 100 lives. The roadway is set to have average speed cameras installed in various locations in the near future.

It should be noted that Fraser is not alone in his position. When the government first announced the £2.5 million average speed initiative, many industry representatives voiced the same opinion. Average speed cameras will certainly slow down HGVs but, the industry contends, but more accidents will result.

Driving Safely

Both independent and company drivers are trained to drive safely at all times. Safety is something we stress at the HGV Training Centre as well. However, no amount of driver training can prevent the operator of a passenger vehicle from attempting to overtake on a single-lane road. In such cases, the decision is left entirely to the passenger vehicle operator.

At question here is whether HGV drivers should exceed the speed limit for safety purposes or maintain it for legal reasons. You can make the case either way. It is not a question that has any easy answers. Yet one thing is certain: once the average speed cameras are installed along the A9, HGV drivers are more likely to adhere to the speed limit.

Another Option

The haulage industry has posed another potential solution for the A9: widening the road to create a multi-lane carriageway. The government certainly isn’t opposed to that option, yet the money to do so just is not there. Until it is, officials believe the average speed cameras are the best solution.

HGV drivers will need to keep those cameras in mind when travelling the A9. They will also have to do their best to maintain safety regardless of what other drivers are doing. It is a delicate balancing act at times, but one most drivers can rely on their HGV driver training to get them through.

If you are interested in becoming an HGV driver, we urge you to check out the training available from the HGV Training Centre. You can be licensed and looking for work a lot sooner than you might think.

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