60mph Motorway Speed Limit

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Vehicle lights on motorway

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UK drivers and businesses are now experiencing new 60mph speed restrictions introduced by Highways England, who are responsible for maintaining England’s roads and motorways. Here we take a look at who the speed restrictions will affect, where it is being introduced on the four motorways in question, and what its long-term effects might be. Highways England is introducing new driving regulations such as this and the Clean Air Zones to improve road safety and lower air pollution. There are benefits for businesses and car owners that will offset the slight inconvenience of slower transportation and longer journey times. Vehicle owners will improve fuel efficiency during motorway driving, reduce tyre wear, and reduce engine wear and the likelihood of breakdowns. The new speed restrictions won’t impact large commercial vehicles that already conform to speed limits of 56mph.

Affected Areas

The speed restrictions started in October 2020 and will remain in force on a trial basis for one year. The temporary speed limit covers a five-mile stretch on the following motorways:

  • M1 between junctions 33 and 34 near Rotherham
  • M5 between junctions 1 and 2 near Oldbury
  • M6 between junctions 6 and 7 near Witton
  • M602 between junctions 1 and 3 near Eccles

The speed limit is active 24 hours a day. At the end of the trial, there will be an impact assessment, and the findings may or may not result in a rollout of the scheme to other motorway sections.

Future Outlook

Across the EU, the commercial, automotive industry saw a 67% fall in sales through April. Light commercial vehicles took the largest hit, with an 86% fall in sales, while sales in HGVs over 16 tonnes dropped by 80% in the UK. The outlook for the year reflects the lower demand in freight due to lower industrial production. Market demand is expected to decline, and sales are projected to be down by roughly 20% to 30% compared to last year. However, the automotive industry will benefit from more online shopping as consumers adjust to a new way of life, spurred on by the November lockdown. For more information on truck rental and contract hire, click through to our trucks page, or get in touch.