FTA backs single-carriageway A-road speed limit rise

Raising the speed limit for LGVs to 50mph on all A-roads in England will improve safety and keep traffic moving, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Following the closure of the consultation into increasing the speed limit, the FTA said that although the matter was complex, the quality of roads, the improvements in vehicle engineering and the professionalism of lorry drivers all meant that the speed limit needed overhauling.

FTA managing director James Hookham said its response to the Department for Transport outlined why a blanket increase was preferable: "We are anxious to make sure the government keeps this in perspective. There are many high quality A-roads where truck drivers do feel they can safely achieve higher speeds, keep traffic moving and reduce the likelihood of dangerous overtaking manoeuvres.

"The presumption made by other people is that this is a free for all for faster trucks. We would argue you could trust the discretion of professional drivers to exercise judgment here."

The Road Haulage Association's response was naturally also in favour of an increase, but RHA head of policy Jack Semple added: "Not on all A-roads, but on A-roads where the national speed limit is 60mph, because that would reduce the dangerous overtaking and frustration caused by car drivers."

Semple added: "That is the strong view of our members and also we have evidence of strong support among drivers as well. The government says it’s unable to establish clearly whether it would make roads safer or not. We are saying, in the view of people professionally operating and driving lorries, it would."

The Department for Transport said a summary of responses will be published within three months.

Out now! Commercial Motor 7 February issue

The latest issue of Commercial Motor is out today (7 February). In this week’s issue, CM looks at Stobart’s difficult start to the year and asks if it is feeling the strain, plus we have the full details about the new Mercedes Benz Arocs!This week’s issue also includes:

O-licence refused over TC's fears of fronting

Joan Aitken, the traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland, has refused an O-licence application from UK Home Delivery, saying she believed it was a front for a revoked operator.At a November public inquiry in Edinburgh, the TC was given details about the sole director of the Beith-based furniture home delivery business, Karen McGinnity, and her application for three vehicles.Her brother, John Hunter, had been director of Multidrop UK, a company whose licence was revoked as a result of its liquidation in February 2011.

Maintenance issues lead to formal warning for haulier

Maryport firm Ashcroft Plant (Cumbria) has been given a formal warning by North West deputy traffic commissioner (TC) Simon Evans, following a public inquiry into maintenance failings.At a public inquiry earlier this month, the deputy TC was told how the company - authorised for two vehicles and two trailers - was the subject of a Vosa investigation in July 2012 that identified mechanical defects on the fleet.

Transport lawyer disqualified for "front" operation

Traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland Joan Aitken has disqualified a practising transport solicitor from the haulage industry for seven years, describing him as acting as a “puppet” for revoked haulier Munro and Sons.In a written decision following a public inquiry in Inverness in November, the TC said that lawyer Michael Sandison Allan, the director of Aberdeen-based MSA Logistics, had been engaged in a “gross breach of trust” and revoked the firm’s licence from 8 February.

808 X-Ray Logistics goes into administration, owing over £700,000

Heathrow-based haulier and warehousing company 808 X-Ray Logistics has gone into administration after it incurred debts of over £700,000.The firm, which specialised in air and sea freight container handling, described itself as a provider of third party transport for freight forwarding companies. It ran two vehicles and four trailers out of a site on the Heathrow Estate.

Tanker drivers set for specialist training boost

The fuel distribution sector is poised to finalise an industry-wide agreement for an enhanced training and assessment standard for tanker drivers.The package of measures, due to be finalised at a meeting of the UK Downstream Oil Distribution Forum (DODF), will pave the way for tanker drivers to have their skills assessed as part of a written and practical test.