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National speed limits for vans

Schedule 6 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 sets out the national speed limits for vans.

Do vans and cars have the same national speed limits?

Vans are generally subject to lower speed limits than cars because they are equipped to carry more weight and, when loaded, take more time to decelerate than cars travelling at identical speeds.

Some vans and all goods vehicles not exceeding a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of 7.5 tonnes have lower national speed limits than cars. This applies to both single and 'dual carriageway' roads (central reservations separating the two carriageways).

Cars can travel at speeds of up to 60 mph on single carriageways and 70 mph on dual carriageways while vans are only permitted to reach maximum speeds of 50 mph on single carriageways and 60 mph on dual carriageways.

Like cars, vans are subject to a 70 mph speed limit on a motorway - unless they are towing a trailer, in which case the speed limit is 60 mph.

The national speed limits for vans apply irrespective of whether the vehicle is travelling fully loaded, partially loaded or unloaded.

Lower speed limits apply (and are signposted) on local roads and in built-up residential areas.

Which vans are exempt from lower speed limits?

Some vans have the same speed limit as cars. These are known as 'car-derived vans', which are goods vehicles derived from a car chassis and have an MAM of no more than two tonnes.

What type of vehicle qualifies as a car-derived van for the purposes of speed limits?

The van design must literally be derived from the body of a regular passenger car. It is not enough that it resembles a particular make and model.

Only a small number of vehicles meet the criteria for a car-derived van and therefore benefit from the higher speed limit of cars. These are laid down in part IV, section 2 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Examples of car-derived vans include models based on the following vehicles:

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Vauxhall Corsa
  • Fiat Punto
  • Peugeot 207
  • Renault Clio.

A car-derived van has a maximum load of approximately 0.5 tonnes so that, when added to the weight of an unloaded vehicle (approximately 1.4 tonnes), it will not exceed two tonnes. 

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