A quarter (25%) of road deaths in the European Union (EU) are the consequence of a collision involving a goods vehicle, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).
The ETSC are authors of a new report on the safety of goods transport by road. According to the analysis, 3,310 people lost their lives in police-reported road collisions involving a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) of 3.5 tonnes or above in the 27 countries of the EU in 2018. In the same year, 2,630 people were killed in collisions involving a light goods vehicle (LGV) of less than 3.5 tonnes.
The data shows that on a per-km basis, more people die in collisions involving HGVs than in collisions involving only non-goods vehicles. Over the nine years covered by the report, deaths in collisions involving HGVs have also been reduced more slowly than those in collisions involving only non-goods
Last year (2019), the EU agreed to increase the minimum safety standards for new lorries from 2026, enabling drivers to see other road users more easily through larger windscreens and transparent panels in doors and by requiring pedestrian and cyclist detection systems.
Antonia Avenoso, executive director at the European Transport Safety Council, said: “In the last few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen cities across Europe rapidly adapting road infrastructure to meet increased demand for cycling and walking. This shows how simple it is to introduce life-saving measures and how important political will is to making change happen quickly.
“Road deaths kill a million people globally every year. This new public health crisis brings with it an opportunity to remake our transport system in a way that boosts health, reduces injury and frees up much-needed capacity in our health systems for the long term.”
As the detailed specifications for HGV standards are being worked out, the ETCS recommends that in the short-term local authorities shoul follow standards in London, by granting lorries access to city centres based on level of safety. The ETSC is also calling for road infrastructure that better protects vulnerable road users from interaction with goods vehicles such as separated cycle lanes.
The ETSC is also recommending measures to increase safety in goods transport in regards to inappropriate speed, drink driving, fatigue, distraction and failure to wear a seatbelt. The recommendations cover EU institutions, EU member states, other European governments as well as local authorities.
Since 2010, deaths in collisions involving a HGV in the EU, have been reduced by, on average 1.8% annually, in comparison to a 2.8% reduction in the number of road deaths involved in collisions where no type of goods vehicle was involved.