Road Safety News

Longer lorries trial is a win-win: DfT

Wednesday 7th September 2016

A pilot scheme involving the use of longer HGVs is cutting road congestion and improving air quality and safety, according to the DfT.

The DfT says the use of longer ‘semi-trailers’ to transport goods between warehouses and depots has saved up to 10.6m vehicle kilometres, or up to 90,000 journeys.

Launched in 2011, the scheme involves approximately 1,800 trucks and is also expected to save more than 3,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions.

The DfT says that the economic benefits of the project are estimated at £33m over the next 10 years, with British hauliers saving up to one in nine journeys as a result of the new lorries, which are up to 15% longer than standard 13.60metre HGVs.

The DfT also says the longer lorries are safer and have been involved in around 70% fewer collisions and casualties, per kilometre, compared to the average for standard articulated lorries. ‎

The DfT is now consulting with trade associations and participants on whether to increase the number of vehicles in the trial.

John Hayes, transport minister, said: “Lorries are the engine of our economy and this pilot scheme is helping hauliers deliver the day-to-day goods we need more efficiently.

“This is good news for consumers, a boost for motorists as it is helping cut congestion with fewer vehicles on the road and it is also helping the environment.”

However, while the Government is keen to reduce the number of lorries on the roads, figures published recently by show a hike in the number of HGV driving test passes in the year ending March 2016.

The figures show the number of ‘Category C’ tests increased by 29% year-on-year to 45,513 (35,303 in 2015), with a corresponding increase in the pass rate which was up 30% to 24,502 (from 18,867).



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I am looking at this in a different way.

There is a large and no doubt formidable haulage lobby. Last year we were all surprised to see that speed limits had been increased for the haulage industry from 40 to 50 mph on arterial roads. That basically means that a HGV driver will now be driving some 60/80 miles more in one day. Up to 400 miles per week. That's a large increase per day, week or annually. That change has no doubt benefitted the haulage industry specifically.

Now looking at it, with more hours available, more work for the driver and more shops being supplied per day it seems to me that they now want larger lorries. That's understandable as the existing lorries, full to the gunnals, already cannot service more retailers. They now want up to 15% more goods carrying capacity in order that they, once again can benefit from increased productivity.

So what will we see in the future? The same number of lorries or indeed an increase in HGVs doing greater mileages, carying heavier loads of goods and at greater productivity to the industry. I see no road safety benefit in that at all.
Bob Craven Lancs

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Since you asked, here you go:

Lorries A, B and D were what I was referring to.

For those who remember the Denby EcoLink - this would be lorry B.
David Weston, Corby

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PS What are "Dutch and Nordic style lorries"?
Nick, Lancashire

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I think if I was a driver in a vehicle being trialed I would maybe have been chosen due to being perhaps a "better" driver than the average and also would probably feel like I was being watched and would no doubt "behave" myself more!

Also, the safety stats quoted seem to be on a distance traveled basis so that should rule out reductions due to less trips?

Personally I do not think I see a major problem in well trained and "behaved" drivers using longer trucks reducing in overall trip numbers for the main link distribution of freight. I think the bigger challenge is the safe and sustainable distribution of freight in the more physically constricted and vulnerable user occupied urban areas - both to retail premises and direct doorstep delivery.
Nick, Lancashire

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So long as swept paths are similar then the real safety difference will be the basic fact that a more modern vehicle will have better safety features throughout. And clearly 15% less vehicles is also 15% less vehicles to crash into for same tonnage moved.
pete, liverpool

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It may also be that these trucks have been used on selected long haul routes rather than the usual cross-section of routes that artics operate on. Having seen many artics struggling to get into tight spaces in urban environments I can imagine that truck operators are self-selecting what they can be used for.

If there is a different mix of urban/country/motorway km then this would naturally affect the safety statistics. Start to use the bigger trucks for mixed routes and that difference may be lost and even made worse.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

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As David suggests, there could be a myriad of reasons why these lorries have been involved in fewer collisions - none of them necessarily related to their extra length. Down to just luck possibly - or is there an undeniable link?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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> The DfT also says the longer lorries are safer and have been involved in around 70% fewer collisions and casualties, per kilometre, compared to the average for standard articulated lorries.

How does this piece of statistic make any sense? The only thing I can think of as a reason is that companies are wanting to have drivers specially trained to drive lorries with these slightly longer trailers. Also, might this also mean that Dutch and Nordic style lorries will be hitting the road soon? That'd be nice!
David Weston, Corby

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