HGVs ‘are motorway-safe’ – FTA

08.09 | 24 July 2018 | | 2 comments

Image: Highways England

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has moved to reassure motorway users that safety is the number one priority for the HGV industry – following claims it is prioritising capacity over safety.

Earlier this month, road safety charity Brake published a survey which it said shows the levels of freight being transported on UK motorways is making drivers fear for their safety.

75% of respondents to the Brake survey said they believe too much freight is being transported on UK motorways, while more than 25% thought it was ‘highly likely or likely’ that they would be involved in a fatal or serious crash on a motorway or dual carriageway.

Brake went on to suggest the HGV industry is prioritising capacity over safety – citing the introduction all-lane running on UK motorways and plans to trial lorry platooning.

In response, the FTA – the UK’s largest membership association in the logistics sector – has spoken out to reassure drivers that ‘HGVs have never been more motorway-safe’.

The FTA points to statistics which show that the proportional involvement of HGVs in motorway collisions (all severities) has fallen from 13.1% in 2007 to 9.9% in 2016 – despite the levels of HGV traffic on motorways remaining similar.

The FTA adds that figures also show a ‘downward trend’ in the number of people killed or seriously injured in incidents involving HGVs on motorways. In 2011, 22 people were killed and 41 seriously injured as a result of motorway collisions involving HGVs – compared to 15 deaths and 37 serious injuries in 2016.

Christopher Snelling, head of UK policy at the FTA, said: “The driver perceptions Brake has focused on are not reflective of reality. In fact in the last six years the number of people killed or seriously injured in incidents with HGVs on motorways in Britain has reduced by over 15%.

“Contrary to public perception, the amount of freight being transported on UK motorways has only marginally increased (2.6%) over the past 11 years, it has only just reached the pre-recession levels of a decade ago.

“We want to take this opportunity to reassure motorway users that safety is the number one priority of the HGV industry.”


 

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    I think there needs to be some even reflection here. Having investigated and interviewed thousands of drivers (HGV and car drivers) involved in collisions over the years, it is wrong to just single out one section of drivers for criticism.

    All vehicles today are a lot safer than they used to be in the past but customer demands and individual driving standards have changed, for the worse. We live in a digital age were customers want everything now and are not prepared to wait. This has an effect on the commercial drivers to deliver when the customer wants it and the customer does not think about the commercial driver.

    Therefore, although the commercial industry strives to be safe, not every operator puts safety first and I speak from a position of authority from what drivers actually tell me following collisions.

    Unfortunately, a HGV involved in a collision is high profile by the very nature of the damage and destruction it leaves behind. However, it would be wrong to single out the HGV driver. Not HGV every driver tailgates but every driver (HGV and car driver) has to take evasive action for another drivers’ poor and or dangerous driving. The evasive actions sometimes can and do ultimately cause collisions but through no fault of the drivers involved.

    Instead of trying to blame one part of society or another, the main issue is that driving is a dangerous task, regardless of the vehicle being driven and there needs to be more engagement, better education and re-education for all drivers to change the way they drive.

    Or, we have to find a way to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and that is a totally different argument altogether


    Andrew Drewary FCILT, Formby
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    In 2015 Government stats show that HGV’s were involved in some 42% of crashes on our motorways. 42% that an over representation. Perhaps if they had not been tailgating and driving far to close to the HGV or other vehicle in front then probably a lot of those collisions could have been avoided.

    In 2015 of the 282 persons who died on motorways some 45 were killed in crashes involving a HGV. Seeing that all other vehicles represent 6.5 times more motorway miles than HGV’s that again means an over representation in HGV crash statistics.

    I would suggest that if one is anywhere near a HGV on a motorway to be concerned of ones safety especially if its close behind one as thats where the greatest danger lies.


    M.Worthington
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