Fewer goods vehicle drivers are being prosecuted for breaking the law – endorsements dropped by 27 per cent in just three years

Almost 20,000 truckers were prosecuted for speeding in the UK last year - but the number of fines has fallen by a quarter since 2021.

That’s according to new stats uncovered by vehicle lease firm Select Car Leasing, which says the figures could point to improved standards among goods vehicle drivers.

Select Car Leasing submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DVLA to find out how many GB licence holders had been handed an ‘exceeding goods vehicle speed limit’ endorsement in the past three years.

And the data shows prosecutions have fallen dramatically since 2021 - dropping by 26%. 

Exceeding goods vehicle speed limit endorsements (or ‘SP10 prosecutions) added to GB licences by year: 

2021 - 25,999

2022 - 19,246

2023 - 19,154

The number of licence holders disqualified following an ‘exceeding goods vehicle speed limit’ prosecution has also fallen - from 67 in 2021 to just 39 last year. 

Graham Conway, motoring expert with Select Car Leasing, says the FOI stats are ‘encouraging’ for the safety of all road users. He says: “Goods vehicle drivers are the lifeblood of the economy and we all rely on them to deliver cargo safely. So, it’s really encouraging to see speeding prosecutions dwindle so rapidly in such a short period of time.

“We know that haulage companies are trying to incentivise drivers when it comes to their behaviour behind the wheel in a bid to improve safety, as well as to increase staff retention and environmental sustainability. “There are large cash bonuses on offer for HGV drivers who act professionally, while efforts have also been made to improve the work-life balance of drivers in a bid to reduce stress and the need to drive recklessly in the first place. 

“Cash incentives have also been introduced to encourage businesses to use rail systems rather than HGVs to transport goods. “All of these endeavours could be reflected in the figures we’ve uncovered.”

In the UK, goods vehicles are split into two categories - vehicles ‘not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight’, or larger lorries that weigh-in at ‘more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight’. Lorries and trucks built for carrying cargo are subject to different speed limits compared with cars, vans and pick-ups. Speed limits for goods vehicles also vary between England and Wales, and Scotland. 

On a single carriageway with a national speed limit, a car can travel at up to 60mph in England and Wales, but the heaviest HGVs are limited to 50mph in England and Wales and just 40mph in Scotland. On a dual carriageway, larger HGVs must stick to a 60mph limit in England and Wales and a 50mph in Scotland. And on motorways, lighter goods vehicles have a 70mph limit while heftier ones must stick to 60mph. 

A further restriction stipulates that all vehicles with a maximum laden weight of more than 3.5 tonnes are required to have a speed limiter fitted, which restricts the vehicle to a maximum speed of 56 mph - which prevents some HGVs from even achieving the maximum speed limit for a given road. 

Despite the rules, and speed fitted speed limiters in place, many goods vehicle drivers are caught out. Select Car Leasing’s Mr Conway adds: “Our haulage specialists do an incredible job in difficult circumstances, but it’s clear there’s still room for improvement.

“Separate stats revealed last year showed that in 2022, 214 people were killed in crashes involving LGVs, up 10% compared with 2021. Meanwhile 220 people were killed in crashes involving HGVs, a 6% rise on 2021. “These are sobering statistics which should really sharpen the focus of everyone involved in the haulage industry.”

Breaking the speed limit when driving a goods vehicle will see a driver hit with 3 to 6 points on their licence as well as a hefty fine. Points remain on a licence for 4 years from the date of the offence.

Data was collected from an FOI request to the DVSA. Select Car Leasing requested the number of licence holders with the ‘SP10’ offence code ( exceeding goods vehicle speed limits) from 2021 to 2023.

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