The call has come from the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence Governance Group, which comprises some 30 Van Excellence accredited van operators.
Following a meeting of the Group, it was unanimously agreed that, despite recent press reports trailing Government plans to increase motorway speed limits to 80 mph, manufacturers should be called upon to help play their part in managing van top speeds and to continue to restrict their vans to 70 mph.
It was felt by the Group that aside from the legal implications, restricting van top speeds would also see significant fuel economy benefits.
There are many other demonstrable benefits to be had by limiting vehicle speed, according to the Group. Repair and maintenance bills are often reduced and lowered driver stress levels are frequently cited as an unexpected bonus, it is claimed.
Group chairman Gary Whittam said: ‘We find it impossible to justify why any conscientious van operator would allow its vans to operate above the national speed limit.
‘Simply put, a van travelling at 80 mph will be using significantly more fuel than one at 70 mph. You don’t need a calculator to work out that at over £7 per gallon, that’s just burning money.
‘Without exception manufacturers can easily limit the top speed of their vans. So the question is, why don’t they make limitation the default standard or at the very least a no-cost option?’
Operators reported very little detriment to their journey times and as Rory Morgan, general manager national logistics at Van Excellence memberIronMountain, said: ‘How can any business depend on drivers breaking the law to meet schedules? In these days of corporate responsibility it’s just not acceptable.’
The FTA’s Van Excellence Governance Group meets quarterly to manage the Van Excellence Code and to share best practice operational advice. Van Excellence is an industry-led initiative to raise standards and improve the image of theUK’s growing van sector and includes a tough accreditation system and a strict code of practice, and is backed by many household names.