Road Safety News

Longer trailers are operating safely: DfT

Friday 20th June 2014

The DfT’s second annual report on a trial of longer semi-trailers indicates that they are operating with a lower rate of accidents than standard lorries.

The longer semi-trailer trial was launched in 2012 in a bid to reduce traffic and cut carbon emissions. Under the trial, companies can apply for a share of 1,800 allocations to operate longer vehicles until the trial ends in 2022.

The DfT report shows that to date between 600,000 and 900,000 vehicle kilometres have been saved by use of the longer semi-trailers.

The report also says that the longer semi-trailers are “operating safely, with a lower rate of injury incidents than standard lorries”.

Stephen Hammond, transport minister, said: “It is great news that these longer lorries are now delivering real results in fewer journeys, and encouraging that they have been involved in fewer incidents than standard lorries.

“Longer semi-trailers should provide significant economic and environmental benefits to the UK. The operational trial will enable the Government to look at these issues further and also represents an opportunity for industry to show the benefits these trailers can bring to the UK.”

The DfT says that the 10-year trial is expected to save more than 3,000 tonnes of CO2 and deliver financial benefits of £33m.



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As 30% of all goods goes by HGVs and uses the motorway network, maybe seeing a reduction in the number of HGVs will be a good thing. Less danger of tailgating and less driving together taking up two lane mile after mile. But how do they brake? A normal articulated HGV may take 3 to 5 times the distance to brake. How do these new and bigger vehicles compare?
bob craven Lancs

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Interesting. Firstly the bigger vehicle may be being used to transport goods to distribution points rather than direct to retail outlets so they may not be on roads used by cyclists and pedestrians.

Secondly they may also look so imposing that other forms of traffic give them more room.

Thirdly and more importantly they reduce the number of "normal" HGVs on the road allegedly, so has there been a comparable reduction of incidents?
Peter Wilson Westminster

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These trailers have active steer systems on the rear axle of the trailer and the trailer cut is less than a standard 13.6m variant so they 'follow' the tractor unit far better needing less space on the road (lateral not longitudinal). Therefore, lane discipline can be far less of an issue than you might expect. As with anything, they're not without their challenges but drivers generally report they're happy to use them. Quite a few video clips on YouTube if you want to see how they handle.
Pierre, Lancashire

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It would be interesting to hear from drivers who have tried to use longer trailers in the narrow Welsh valleys.
Paul Weeden MAIRSO South Wales

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Would be interested to learn why these longer trailers have fewer incidents.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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