HGVs involved in 15 per cent of EU road fatalities


While trucks represent only 3 per cent of vehicles on Europe’s roads they are involved in almost 15 per cent of all EU road fatalities, recent road safety data has confirmed.

Accidents between trucks and vulnerable road users (VRUs) currently account for 25 per cent of all EU fatalities.

Truck accidents vary significantly depending on the type of road environment (City or Highway) as well as the collision partner (passenger car or VRU).

Crashes with heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) lead to around 15 per cent of road fatalities in the EU, i.e. over 3000 fatalities in 2019.

The vast majority of fatalities and serious injuries in HGV- related crashes are incurred by the crash opponent rather than the HGV occupants.

Typical HGV crashes include rear-end collisions, particularly in traffic jams, blind spot crashes when turning right, and unintentional lane departure.

Professional drivers of an HGV or a bus must have a driver licence C and D respectively and a certificate of professional competence (Code 95) which needs to be renewed every 5 years.

Many professional HGV and bus drivers work under tight time constraints, at irregular hours, and with long days. International drivers often have to sleep in their truck.

Overall, this makes professional drivers particularly prone to fatigue and distraction as well as to health conditions that might affect safe driving, e.g. sleep apnoea.

The mass, manoeuvrability, and acceleration and deceleration characteristics of the vehicle make road infrastructure particularly critical for HGV and bus safety.

Long braking distances, burst tyres, and, for HGVs, overload or unbalanced load can also have a detrimental effect on safety.

In addition, other road users may be insufficiently aware of the specific characteristics of HGVs and buses, including their large blind spots.


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