Vehicle Speed Limits

There are speed limits for differing classes of vehicles, and speed limits for differing classes of road. Where these differ the lower limit applies. For example, a seven tonne lorry is subject to a speed limit of 50mph on derestricted single-carriageway roads but on urban roads with a 40mph, 30mph or even (in some residential areas) 20mph limit it is always the lower road limit which applies. Similarly certain stretches of motorway are subject to maximum speeds of below 70mph. They are appropriately signed in all cases.

The table below indicates the speed limits for principal classes of vehicle.

  Motorways Dual carriageways Other roads
Cars, car derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles 70 70 60
Cars, car derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles when drawing one trailer 60 60 50
Cars, car derived vans when drawing more than one trailer 40 20 20
Rigid goods vehicles (not being a car derived van) up to 7.5 tonnes gvw and not drawing a trailer 70 60 50
Articulated vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes gtw and goods vehicles(not being a car derived van) drawing a trailer where their combined maximum laden weight does not exceed 7.5 tonnes 60 60 50
Articulated vehicles over 7.5 tonnes gtw, goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes gvw and goods vehicles drawing a trailer where the combined maximum laden weight exceeds 7.5 tonnes (England and Wales)  60 60 50
Articulated vehicles over 7.5 tonnes gtw, goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes gvw and goods vehicles drawing a trailer where the combined maximum laden weight exceeds 7.5 tonnes (Scotland)  60 50 40
Motor vehicles other than a car derived van drawing more than one trailer 40 20 20
Motor tractors and locomotives with or without trailer:      
  • meeting certain provisions as to springs and wings
40 30 30
  • otherwise
20 20 20
Works trucks 18 18 18
Industrial tractors N/A 18 18
Agricultural motor vehicles N/A 40 40
Passenger vehicles with an unladen weight exceeding 3.05 tonnes or adapted to carry more than eight passengers:      
  • not exceeding 12m in length
70 60 50
  • exceeding 12m in length
60 60 50
Wheeled vehicles not fitted with pneumatic tyres on all wheels:      
  • where every wheel is fitted with a resilient tyre or at least one wheel is fitted with a resilient tyre and every wheel which is not fitted with a resilient tyre is fitted with a pneumatic tyre
20* 20 20
  • where any wheel is fitted with either a pneumatic or resilient tyre
5* 5 5
Track laying vehicles and motor vehicles drawing one or more trailers any one or more of which is a track laying vehicle:      
  • if fitted with springs and resilient material
20* 20 20
  • if not fitted with springs and resilient material or if not fitted with either a pneumatic tyre or resilient tyre
5* 5 5

 

Notes for table

  • A car derived van is a goods vehicle constructed as a derivation of a car and having a maximum laden weight not exceeding 2,000kg.
  • All the limits stated are the maximum permissible for different types of vehicle. Account must be taken of the actual speed limits prescribed over particular roads.
  • By virtue of DPP v Holtham (1990) certain recovery vehicles which carry a substantial part of the weight of the broken-down vehicles are deemed to be goods vehicles and must obey at the appropriate limit for goods. vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes drawing a trailer. These vehicles are still considered to be locomotives for the purpose of calculating the number of trailers that may be drawn.

If you have any legal or operational questions relating to vehicle speed limits please contact the Members Advice Centre on 0870 60 50 000 or email the Member Advice Centre

Need more information?

If you are an FTA member and have a query regarding this topic, or need more information, contact our Member Advice Centre

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