Pickup Truck Speed Limits

Pickup truck speed limits vary from vehicle to vehicle in the UK, to the surprise of many operators.

It’s hard to believe that pickup truck speed limits different from model to model and, on some models, from trim level to trim level. Due the increased mass of some newer pickups, they’re too heavy to be classed as ‘dual-purpose’ vehicles, and are therefore subject to standard light commercial vehicle speed limits – which are 10mph slower on single and dual-carriageways.

Why Are Speed Limits Different for Some Models?

This anomaly derives from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) outdated classifications of vehicles, which were drawn up 30 years ago in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations of 1987. The article describes a dual-purpose vehicle as:

A vehicle constructed or adapted for the carriage both of passengers and of goods or burden of any description being a vehicle of which the unladen weight does not exceed 2 tons [2,040kg].

Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations of 1987

Back in 1987, there wasn’t a one-tonne pickup that exceeded the 2,040kg unladen weight but a number of modern pickups, with their increased size, added safety systems and stronger construction, weigh in at well over this limit.

The speed limits of these heavier pickups are the same in built-up areas (30mph) and on motorways (70mph), but they’re lower on national speed limit single carriageways (50mph, as opposed to 60mph) and dual-carriageways (60mph; as opposed to 70mph).

“The 2,040kg limit is derived from two imperial tons and its news to us that some pickups have gone over this,” a spokesperson for the DfT told us. “We don’t intend to change them for the time being but if, hypothetically, someone is caught out and they challenge it – we would inevitably have to redefine the classification.”

Dual Purpose Vehicle? What Does That Mean?

In a nutshell, it means double-cab and extended, or king-cab, pickup trucks. There must be four seats in the vehicle, with doors for all and windows all around. A two-seater single-cab pickup does not count as dual-purpose, and goods vehicle limits will apply to those.

Is My Pickup Affected?

[The below information is correct as of 9 November 2016. We are in the process of updating this guidance as of May 2020.]

The rule of thumb is that if your pickup was registered before 2011, it will be unaffected. However, the following pickups are unaffected, regardless of age: Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara, Fiat Fullback, Isuzu D-Max and SsangYong Musso

Affected pickups are the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Amarok V6, and some models of the Ford Ranger (the base XL model is unaffected, but the top of the range Wildtrak weighs in at over 2,040kg because of all the extra equipment).

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  1. I say, if in doubt, just drop 10mph off of your speed when on single/dual carriageways. Better to play it safe than getting pulled over, until you can make 100% sure of your pickups weight.

  2. Up to 2016 the Toyota Hilux is unaffected as even the full fat 3.0L Invincible double cab weighs just 1770kg unladen. Be worth doing some more fact checking folks…

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