Van and lorry drivers are more likely to be caught exceeding the speed limit on Scottish roads than any other kind of road users.
That’s according to an unpublished study from Transport Scotland, which compiled the speeds of 11 million vehicles on single and dual carriageways.
Minutes of a Transport Scotland road safety group meeting that discussed the report stated: “The main finding was that HGVs [heavy goods vehicles – over 3.5 tonnes]/large vans showed the least compliance, making this an enforcement issue.”
The Scotsman newspaper reported that police chiefs claimed that the issue was partly down to drivers hiring vans and being ignorant of their speed limits.
Superintendent Louise Blakelock, Police Scotland’s deputy head of road policing, told the meeting it was working with vehicle hire firms to better educate drivers on the different speed limits.
Car-derived vans weighing less than two tonnes have the same speed limits as cars. However, for larger goods vehicles, speed limits are different, with larger vans and lorries up to 7.5 tonnes being limited to 50mph on single carriageways, 60mph on dual carriageways and 70mph on motorways.
In Scotland, lorries over 7.5 tonnes have their speed capped at 40mph on single carriageways – apart from the A9 – rising to 50mph on dual carriageways and 60mph on motorways.
It emerged earlier this month that only 29 per cent, or 50, of Scotland’s fixed speed cameras are currently operational.
Ignorance not good enough
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, said ignorance is one of the most common excuses drivers give to speed camera officials, and he believes it isn’t good enough.
He commented: “Ignorance by professional drivers is not acceptable, but if they are just thrown the keys of a Transit having only ever driven a Fiesta it’s no surprise there are problems.”
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said work was already underway to better understand average speeds by vehicle and road type at a small number of Scottish locations.
Ben Robb, brand manager at Dieselink, adds: “Hire companies should be stepping up to the plate and being more rigorous in pointing out speed restrictions to drivers hiring their vehicles.
“However, the lion’s share of the blame must lie with whoever is sitting behind the steering wheel.”