M11 Overtaking Ban

12 April 2011, 06:00

Almost 120 lorry drivers have been either fined or summonsed to court during the first year of an overtaking ban on the M11.

The trial scheme started exactly a year ago today.

Under it, it is against the law for lorries weighing more than 7.5 tonnes to overtake another vehicle on part of the road near Saffron Walden between 7am and 7pm.

The experiment covers both the north-bound and south-bound carriageways.

The aim of the scheme, according to The Highways Agency, is to "reduce congestion and cut the risk of accidents caused by slow-moving traffic on the two long uphill sections, where the motorway is only two lanes wide."

Since the trial period started, 83 HGV drivers have been fined by Police and another 34 have been summonsed to appear in court.

The experiment runs for another six months, after which The Highways Agency will see if the overtaking ban has cut congestion and the risk of accidents.

If it has, the ban could be made permanent.

A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said: "The Journey Time Trial restricting heavy goods vehicles from the outside lane on two uphill sections of the M11 between junctions 8 and 9 has been in operation for twelve months.

The Highways Agency is currently monitoring the trial and will evaluate the results to ascertain whether journey time reliability has improved on these sections of the M11.

If journey time reliability does improve, the Highways Agency will consider whether to make the restriction permanent. Before the trial is made permanent, a public consultation would be undertaken."

However, not everyone supports the ban.

Peter Richardson, Transport Manager of John Smith Haulage based in Warboys, told Heart he understands why lorry drivers get frustrated with the law.

He said: "They've got a day's work to do.

They're already restricted enough on the rules and regulations with driving hours and deadlines to meet."

Peter has worked in the haulage industry for around 35 years now, and believes there are better ways to manage traffic on the motorway.

He added: "If they want to restrict lorries from particular lanes, why don't they make it a three lane motorway instead of a three lane motorway?

Then the cars have got the third lane that they need, which lorries are not allowed to use anyway."