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A1: ‘Faster lorries would mean more accidents’

Calls have been made to increase the speed limit for HGVs on the single carriageway sections of the A1.

Calls have been made to increase the speed limit for HGVs on the single carriageway sections of the A1.

A suggestion that lorries be allowed to increase their maximum speed on the A1 from 40 to 50mph has met with stern opposition.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Conservative candidate for Berwick, wrote to the transport secretary, floating the idea at the beginning of March.

Both Mrs Trevelyan and the man she is hoping to replace in next year’s elections, Sir Alan Beith, MP, have made calls for a maximum speed change in the past.

They both also support making the A1 south of Berwick into a dual carriageway in a bid to cut accidents.

But for another A1 campaigner, Alex Gibson, faster heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) would do nothing to alleviate the situation, and may even make it worse.

He said: “I have never read so much rubbish as when I read the article in the Advertiser in which Anne-Marie Trevelyan wants lorries to travel faster on the single carriageway on the A1.

“This is a highway for the public as well as for commercial use.

“The faster you go the more chance there is of an accident, not less.”

Alex pointed out the numerous hazards that are part and parcel of driving along the A1.

“You have cars entering and exiting the road, sudden braking, caravans, the weather conditions to keep in mind and of course you have the slow vehicles such as wide loads and farm vehicles.”

He was particularly sceptical about the safety of other drivers overtaking lorries if they are allowed to go faster.

“No matter how fast you go,” he said, “there’s always going to be someone who wants to overtake, and it would take a lot longer for them to overtake that vehicle.”

Alex lost his son, also named Alex, in a crash on the single carriageway A1. He has subsequently received support from both Mrs Trevelyan and Sir Alan Beith in his quest to have the road dualled.

His campaign saw him gather thousands of signatures in a petition to the government, which he delivered on a visit to Downing Street accompanied by his grandsons.

He went on: “My son was killed in a head-on collision with a 4x4, but a 40-foot HGV also hit him.

“By the time the HGV driver saw him, he couldn’t stop in time, and it pushed the vehicle a further 50-80 metres down the road.”

Drawing on his own experiences, he continued: “You can’t brake an HGV like a car, it needs a longer distance before it comes to a halt.

“If it brakes quickly it could shed its load or jack-knife.”

“I wonder if she (Mrs Trevelyan) has ever driven a heavily loaded lorry? I have, and let me tell you its quite an experience, and nerve wracking when you see an object in the road.”

During his canvassing for his petition, Alex received the support of many long-distance drivers, who described how dualling the A1 made sense both economically and in terms of safety.

He concluded: “I think Trevelyan wants to stop thinking economics and think more of the hard working people who travel this road.”

 

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