A new report into the Longer Semi-Trailer (LST) trial has found that LSTs were involved in approximately 70% fewer collisions and casualties, per kilometre, than the average heavy goods vehicle (HGV) between 2012 and 2016.
Published by the DfT on 21 September, the evaluation report also shows that between 2012 and 2015, 10m vehicle miles were ‘saved’ by LST operations.
The report says LSTs saved more than 125,000 journeys – the equivalent of one in 19 of all HGV journeys and 5% of the overall distance travelled.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the report shows LSTs are making a ‘significant contribution towards reducing HGV miles, with subsequent environmental benefits’, and that these longer vehicles have a ‘better safety record than standard HGVs’.
Launched in January 2012, the DfT trial is investigating the environmental and safety impacts of using of longer, semi-trailers for articulated goods vehicles.
At present the number of LSTs involved in the programme, which in January 2017 was extended for a further five years, stands at around 1,800.
The evaluation finds that between 2012 and 2016 there were 18 road traffic collisions involving HGVs pulling a LST. While these resulted in seven serious and 16 slight injuries, analysis suggests that the type of trailer being pulled was not a factor in these collisions.
The report also claims that had standard HGVs travelled the 319m kilometres covered by LSTs during the trial between 2012 and 2016, the number of collisons would have been 5% higher.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of national and regional policy, said: “The success of the LST trial is clear and undeniable – it is time DfT looked to establish the flexibility in law so that the UK can continue to benefit from the efficiency it brings.
“The success of this project shows what can be gained from adding marginally to dimensions of our road freight fleet – massive carbon, air quality and safety benefits can be achieved right now.
“Weights and dimensions should be looked at in a rational, evidenced based manner and not simply rejected because some campaigners do not like the sound of them.”
However, in contrast the campaign group Freight on Rail has expressed concern that the report is based on flawed data and incorrect assumptions and ignores important safety factors.
Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager, said: “Despite what the DfT claims, longer semi-trailers are not the answer to reducing collisions, congestion or pollution and are actually more dangerous than standard HGVs on urban and town centre roads, because of their 7ft tail swing and extended blind spot."
Category: Driving at work.