Health & Safety

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Speed Limits for Vans and Goods Vehicles

15 July 2009

It is very important for drivers to bear in mind that vans (and all goods vehicles not exceeding 7.5 tonnes) are subject to lower national speed limits than cars on both single and dual carriageway roads.

deserted road

Whilst cars may travel at up to 60 mph on single carriageways and 70 mph on dual carriageways vans are only allowed to travel up to 50 mph on single carriageway roads and 60 mph on dual carriageway roads. On Motorways the 70 mph limit applies to cars and vans.

Large Goods Vehicles (LGV) exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight must comply with even lower limits - LGVs are only allowed to travel up to 40 mph on single carriageway roads, 50 mph on dual carriageway roads and 60 mph on Motorways.

Remember that the speed limits quoted here are national limits, a lower speed limit will apply in built up areas and on many local roads. Where a lower speed limit is displayed on road signs drivers must comply with those lower limits.

The national speed limits are set out in Schedule 6 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act of 1984 and they are summarised in regulation 124 of the Sept 2007 version of the Highway Code.

There is one (small) group of vans which have the same speed limits as cars by virtue of the definitions in Schedule 6 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act of 1984. These are vans that are both derived from a car chassis and also have a maximum laden weight of no more than 2 tonnes. This means that the weight of the vehicle and the payload it is designed to be able to carry when added together do not exceed 2 tonnes. The van design must be a derivative of a car body, it is not sufficient that it looks similar to a particular car.

Very few vans will meet the criteria to benefit from the same speed limits as a car. Those that do are likely to be similar to a Ford Fiesta van, Vauxhall Corsa or Renault Clio van in having maximum payloads of around 500kgs so that when combined with the weight of the vehicle unladen (normally around 1.4 tonnes) the maximum laden weight of the whole vehicle will not exceed 2 tonnes.

The national speed limits apply to the vehicle type and it makes no difference whether the vehicle at a particular time is fully loaded, partially loaded or travelling without a load.

Speed limits (as shown in the Highway Code)
Type of vehicle Built-Up Areas


mph (km/h)

Single Carriage Ways

mph (km/h)

Dual Carriage Ways

mph (km/h)

Motorways


mph (km/h)

Cars & motorcycles
(including car-derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight)

30 (48)

60 (96)

70 (112)

70 (112)

Cars towing caravans or trailers
(including car-derived vans and motorcycles)

30 (48)

50 (80)

60 (96)

60 (96)

Buses, coaches and minibuses
(not exceeding 12 metres in overall length)

30 (48)

50 (80)

60 (96)

70 (112)

Goods vehicles
(not exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight)

30 (48)

50 (80)

60 (96)

**70 (112)

Goods vehicles
(exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight)

30 (48)

40 (64)

50 (80)

60 (96)

* The 30 mph limit usually applies to all traffic on all roads with street lighting unless signs show otherwise.

** 60 mph (96 km/h) if articulated or towing a trailer.