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June 15, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Recent guidelines set forth by the Sentencing Council of the UK have made it clear that van drivers, alongside truck and bus drivers, will have their sentences considered to be more severe by magistrates if they are prosecuted for speeding.

In light of this potential for harsh driving penalties, it is of vital importance to understand what speed limits are in place for vans and commercial vehicles. 

Speed Limits Vary Depending on the Type Of Road

If you regularly drive a variety of LCVs, the general rule of thumb to bear in mind is that the speed limits in built-up areas and motorways are the same as a car, and on single carriageways and dual carriageways it is 10mph less than the limit for cars. These limits are obviously still subject to further restrictions - pay attention to speed limits signs at all times.


What Type of Vehicle Are You Driving?

Technically, within the UK, all goods vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes obey the above rule of thumb, although under EU regulations all LCVs between 3.5t and 7.5t will be restricted to 56mph electronically, so the rules only affect those vans with up to a 3.5t gross vehicle weight. Such vans can drive in built-up areas at 30mph, single carriageways at 50mph, dual carriageways at 60mph, and motorways at 70mph.

Car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles may drive with the same speed limits as regular cars, although care must be taken to ensure your vehicle does, in fact, meet the definition of a CDV or dual-purpose vehicle. A car-derived van cannot exceed a maximum laden weight of 2 tonnes, and the V5C vehicle registration document must list the body type as a CDV. Otherwise, limits applicable to 3.5t vans apply as above. A dual-purpose vehicle must be designed to carry goods and passengers, and weigh no more than 2,040kg unladen. It must have a rigid roof or a four-wheel drive. There must also be one or more row(s) of passenger seats.

Pickup trucks typically count as dual-purpose vehicles, so the same limits as a regular car apply. However, it is important to double-check the unladen weight of the vehicle, as some exceed a weight of 2,040kg, at which point they are subject to the same rules as 3.5t vans.

How is Your Vehicle Defined by Law?

Perhaps the most important point for drivers of LCVs to be aware of when it comes to speed limits is how their vehicles are defined by law. When this is known, the speed limit rules are easy to understand and follow. Where this is not known, or in vehicles that fall into a legal area, it is always easy to follow the basic rule of thumb: the same speed limits as cars apply in built-up areas and on motorways, but the speed limit is 10mph less than cars on single and dual carriageways.

Tags: Driving Tips Safety Speed Limits
Category: Laws and Regulations