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Lorries seven times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes on local roads than cars

Philippa Edmunds's picture
Photo: lorry wheels

New figures show that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are now twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision on local roads than they were ten years ago, highlighting the need to shift as much freight to rail as possible to reduce the number of trucks on the roads.

A single freight train carrying construction materials can remove up to 136 HGVs and carry enough materials to build 30 houses.

Campaign for Better Transport has compiled figures for the last ten years which show that in 2016 trucks were almost seven times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes on minor roads than cars, which is double that of ten years ago when HGVs were three and a half times as likely as cars to be involved in a fatal collision on minor roads. Whilst cars are getting safer, HGVs continue to be extremely dangerous in a collision. HGVs only account for five per cent of overall traffic but because of their size and weight they have a disproportionate adverse impact on the road network and other road users in terms of exposure to collisions, congestion and pollution. 

If the rail freight network is upgraded to cater for the demand for additional services, currently constrained by lack of space on the network, road safety could be improved. There are far too many large, heavy lorries on roads which are often totally unsuitable for them, as the high rate of crashes on minor roads shows. 

The figures and the graph show the involvement of HGVs in fatal crashes compared to all other vehicles on motorways, A roads and minor roads for the last ten years. They reveal little or no improvement in the rates of fatal collisions involving HGVs on motorways and A roads, and in the case of minor roads, HGVs involvement has doubled making them seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than cars.

Graph showing HGV involvement in fatalities

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