Drivers have ‘deep-seated and genuine’ concerns over motorway safety

10.08 | 13 July 2018 | | | 5 comments

The levels of freight being transported on UK motorways is making drivers fear for their safety, a new survey suggests.

Figures published by the Government on 5 July show that HGV traffic on motorways reached a record 7.9bn vehicle miles in 2017.

The data also shows that the size and weight of lorries is increasing – with mileage covered by HGVs with four or more axles some 44% higher in 2017 than in 1997.

On the back of these figures, a new survey by road safety charity Brake published today (13 July) suggests that 75% of people believe too much freight is being transported on UK motorways.

More than 25% of respondents thought it was ‘highly likely or likely’ that they would be involved in a fatal or serious crash on a motorway or dual carriageway.

In recent years, the Government has introduced all-lane running on UK motorways, while announcing plans to trial lorry platooning – leading Brake to suggest they are prioritising capacity over safety.

77% of respondents believe that lorry platooning ‘sounds frightening’, even after having the technology explained to them, and that ‘if it went wrong the casualties could be very high’.

According to Brake, drivers also expressed doubt over all-lane running, with only a third saying using the hard shoulder as a driving lane would improve safety.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “At a time when the traffic on our motorways is sharply increasing, these findings show that drivers have a deep-seated and genuine concern over their safety on these roads.

“Drivers are particularly wary over the increase in freight traffic and it’s clear that trials of truck platooning will only exacerbate this concern.

“We urge the Government to prioritise safety over capacity and to ensure that any change to our road environment, such as all-lane running, is robustly tested, and the public properly informed, before the roll-out on our roads.”



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    Some Govrnt.statistics from 2015. 282 persons died in accidents on our motorways. that’s more than 1 in 10 of all deaths reported on our roads. 42% of crashes involving a HGV were where some 45 persons were killed. Of car only collisions the figure killed was 81 persons. However cars represented some 6.5 times more motorway miles than HGV.s.

    Do we still consider motorways to be one of our safest roads to travel on.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    It has been commented many times that our motorways are the safest roads that we can drive on. However as I understand it they are responsible for some 6% of collisions but they constitute only 0.8% of our roads. That’s not a good safe road to me and looking at numerous pictures of vehicles including many HGV’s being driven nose to tail at high speeds then its no wonder others are apprehensive about using them. Just take a look at CRASHMAPS on any motorway and you will understand just what I am saying.

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    “More than 25% of respondents thought it was ‘highly likely or likely’ that they would be involved in a fatal or serious crash on a motorway or dual carriageway.” What a bizarre statement. I presume these particular respondents don’t go anywhere near a motorway or dual c/way then.

    Statistically, if they are as accident-prone as they fear, they are more likely to come to grief on non-dualled roads.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    > without apparently increasing weight or so they say.

    The longer trailers are fitted with lights on the head of the trailer that will allow the driver to see (if the units have rear windows fitted) or anyone else for that matter, if the trailer is overloaded.

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    I understand the public’s concerns. Let’s remember that in the last 3 years the work load of a driver has significantly increased by some 1/5th without breaking the law on drivers hours etc. The haulage ass. have been able to increase the speed of lorries on arterial roads so that they can now deliver to more places in a day. More recently, maybe as a result of that success, they successfully lobbied for a 15% increase in capacity without apparently increasing weight or so they say.

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