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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11th February 2006
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Having seen an Irish artic doing 85 on the M42 once (I only overtook him when we hit an uphill stretch - I looked in my rear view mirror a few seconds later, and there he was in lane 3 overtaking a coach) I can certainly see the need for speed limiters. Guys like that should receive a lifetime ban from driving in the UK - that'd certainly slow them down.

As for the working restrictions, I'm afraid they make sense to me too. Rather than relaxing them for truckers, it'd make a lot more sense if they could find a way of applying them to everyone. Driving a car while over-tired has the potential to cause a catastrophy, but getting behind the wheel of an HGV in a similar state stands a good chance of killing a lot more people. The barrier in the middle of the motorway does a grand job of deflecting the odd stray car, but it's about as effective as a thin piece of string if an artic tries to cross into oncoming traffic.

But I can't see the point in restricting HGV's to lane 1 completely. On two lane motorways, it'd be good to have a way of preventing the five mile overtaking manoeuvre, but maybe a 'no HGV overtaking' zone every once in a while would be a fairer solution. There are a number of things I'd do before restricting HGV's to lane 1 at peak times. I'd ban vehicles that aren't capable of doing 55mph from the motorways at peak times (mobile cranes are the bain of my life on my daily commute - I usually meet one each way, and they force all of the freight into lane 2 and all of the cars into lane 3.) I'd probably also consider resticting all towing vehicles to lanes 1 and 2 of any motorway (unless junction layout requires them to use the other lanes) and keep the 7.5 tonners out of the outside lane when there are four or more of them, and possibly even on some three lane stretches.

I wouldn't worry about this hair-brained scheme too much. With a bit of luck, it'll die the same death as the 'all towing vehicles restricted to lane 1' trial that they did on a stretch of the M5 in Somerset a while back. If I recall correctly, they scrapped the idea once they'd proved that it had no significant effect on traffic flow.
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