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Useful Facts and Figures - Safety Arguments for Rail Freight

  • Rail freight is far safer than road freight. ORR states that rail is 20 times safer than road.
  • The latest Government figures show that HGVs are nearly five times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on minor roads, and almost four times more likely on motorways.  Across all road types HGVs are almost three times more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than cars. . Source: Traffic statistics table TRA0104, Accident statistics Table RAS 30017, both DfT
  • Overall road fatalities have reduced on UK roads; however the ratio of fatal road accidents involving Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) compared with those involving other vehicle types has been climbing year on year.
  • Supporting rail freight is a great way for the Government to reduce road deaths as HGVs are disproportionally involved in fatal road crashes because of their size and scale.  
  • This graph shows HGV involvement rate in fatal crashes on different road types over the past ten years, based on the percentage of miles they represent. The graph  shows that HGVs are now twice as likely to be involved in fatal crashes on minor roads than they were ten years ago.

Involvement in fatalities - HGVs over 3.5 tonnes compared to all traffic


  • The latest DfT valuation of the benefits of prevention of road accidents puts the costs per fatality at over £1m. Source DfT RAS60001
  • Lack of compliance with road regulations puts other road users at extra risk
    UK HGVs had a 39.1 overloading rate in road side checks in 2016, 45.5% in 2015. Source FTA Logistics Report Dashboard 2018 from DfT data
  • UK HGVs roadside prohibition rates due to mechanical errors 27,8% in 2016, 30.1% in 2015  - Source FTA Logistics report dashboard

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