When most people pass their driving test, they will have use of a car or bike and never really go back to refresh their memory over the driving rules and regulations throughout the decades of driving. It can lead to inadvertent errors and pesky penalty points being endorsed on a drivers’ licence.

Many people are unaware for example that vans and small goods vehicles are subject to lower speed limits, as are a number of other vehicle combinations.

The higher national speed limits apply to cars, car derived vans, dual purpose vehicles and motor caravans/motorhomes under 3.05 tonnes. These are:

  •  30mph in built up areas
  • 60mph on single carriageways
  • 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways

A car derived van, although looking like a van from the outside, will be designed to weigh no more that 2 tonnes laden, have blocked panels in lieu of rear windows and rear passenger doors, and have only a single row of seating. It should be registered as CDV on the V5 document.

A dual purpose vehicle is a vehicle constructed or adapted for the carriage both of passengers and of goods and designed to weigh no more than 2,040 kg when unladen, and is either:

  • constructed or adapted so that the driving power of the engine is, or can be selected to be transmitted to all wheels of the vehicle


  • permanently fitted with a rigid roof, at least one row of transverse passenger seats to the rear of the driver’s seat and will have side and rear windows – there must also be a minimum ratio between the size of passenger and stowage areas


Lower national speed limits apply to small goods vehicles (under 7.5.tonnes) including vans, motor homes and motor caravans (not being towed). These are:

  • 30mph in built up areas
  • 50mph on single carriageways
  • 60mph on dual carriageways
  • 70mph on motorways

It is not always apparent that a vehicle will be classed as a goods vehicle. The manufacturer will usually have registered the vehicle in this class and it will be shown on the V5 document although this is not conclusive. Goods vehicles, in contrast to car derived vans, will usually be designed to weigh over 2 tonnes when laden.

There are different speed limits for towing vehicles and large goods vehicles which are as per small goods vehicles but reduce the motorway speed limit to 60mph.

For further information on speed limits and vehicle definitions visit here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/car-derived-vans-and-dual-purpose-vehicles/car-derived-vans-and-dual-purpose-vehicles

 If you face prosecution for speeding, a totting up disqualification due to excess penalty points or if you have been summoned to Court for any motoring offence, please can our team of experts today on 0115 910 6239