DfT urged to bring longer semi-trailers into circulation

09.38 | 1 October 2018 | | 2 comments

A trade association is calling for the Government to conclude a trial – which is investigating the environmental and safety impacts of longer, semi-trailers – in order to bring them into general use ‘as soon as possible’.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) made the call on the back on new DfT statistics which show that Longer-Semi-Trailers (LST) have a positive impact on both pollution and collision rates.

In January 2012, the DfT launched a LST trial designed to answer questions about safety, cost and emissions.

In January 2017, it was announced that the trial has been extended from 10 to 15 years to provide a longer reporting period and make the final results ‘more robust’.

At the end of 2017, 1,939 LSTs – which are two metres longer – were on the road and submitting data.

Published on 24 September, the DfT’s evaluation report shows that approximately 32.9 million vehicle kilometres and 28,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions have been saved as a result just 0.5% of Britain’s HGVs using LSTs.

In terms of safety, LSTs have been involved in 90% fewer personal injury collisions while operating on urban roads and 72% fewer when on minor roads – compared with the average for all articulated HGVs in use across Great Britain.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of UK policy said: “The results from the LST trial show that longer vehicles have a significant, positive benefit for the environment and other road users.  

“At a time when the freight industry is looking to reduce its environmental impact while continuing to deliver efficiencies to customers in the UK and further afield, LSTs are a solution which can help achieve both targets.

“FTA has supported the LST trial from the start, because of the vehicles’ ability to provide improvements in road miles and emissions for freight vehicles.  

“We are delighted to see that these claims have been borne out by this report, along with a lower accident rate than conventional vehicles.  

“With so many positive benefits to both commercial and other road users, it is now time for the Government to conclude its trial early and approve an earlier-than-scheduled use of the trailers to enable operators to make investment commitments for the second generation of these vehicles.”



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    In paragraph six, we have a prime example of ‘there are lies, dammed lies and statistics’. It says that in terms of statistics LST’s have been involved in 90% fewer personal injury collisions whilst operating on urban roads and 72% fewer when on minor roads – compared with the average for articulated HGV’s in use across Great Britain.

    So it tells us all about narrow towns street situations and on minor roads out in the country. It’s interesting that they have not given us stats on motorways or main arterial roads then? Or do they not run on such busy highways? Or do they not dare to give us those stats?

    I would ponder that there would be no change of stats or possibly an increase in incidents on those major roads. Or is it possible that these stats could have been influenced by the fact three years ago these vehicles were afforded the ability to drive at 10mph faster than they once were?

    We have had 10 years of them on our roads so why do we need a further 5 years of trials… or is it just a ploy to keep them running unabated.

    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

    Being a cynic, I would guess that those who are selected by the Fleet Manager to drive these trailers on trial are the best of his drivers and that they are not randomly allocated. That user group will have a better collision record than average, and that makes the DfT’s figures totally unreliable.

    David Daw, Bury St. Edmunds
    Agree (6) | Disagree (4)

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