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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.
  • 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.  
  • The latest Government figures show that HGVs are almost seven times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on minor roads. Source: Traffic statistics table TRA0104, Accident statistics Table RAS 30017, both DfT
  • 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

London Safety Statistics from TfL

  • Lorries are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.  Lorries only make up  around 5% of London traffic in miles driven.
    Between 2010 and 2014, lorries were almost 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than cars;
  • Seven of the nine cyclist fatalities in London in 2015 have involved lorries; in 2011 12 of the 16 cyclist fatalities involved HGVs
  • 79 per cent of fatal collisions with cyclists in the past three years have involved lorries designed to be driven off-road. 

Lack of compliance with road regulations puts other road users at extra risk

  • UK HGVs had a 61% overloading rate in road side checks in 2011, 60% in 2012, 59% in 2013 and 2014.
  • UK HGVs roadside prohibition rates due to mechanical errors have increased from 28% in 2011, 30% in 2012, 31% in both 2013 and 2014. 
  • HGV efficiency which is related to safety given the added risk of each HGV to other vulnerable road users.
  • The number of HGVs completely empty has consistently remained at around 29%.
    In 2011 it was 30.2%, in 2012 - 28.5%, in 2013 - 28.6% and in 2014 - 28.8%
    Source FTA Logistics Report 2016

DfT increased the speed limit for HGVs on single carriage way roads and dual carriageways on April 6 2015.  

  • Our view is that the Government is justifying increasing the HGV speed limit on the basis that it is commonly broken. (SEE STATISTICS BELOW) and ignoring its own figures which show the scale of danger that HGVs pose. The vast majority of HGVs flout existing speed restrictions, yet the Government has rewarded the road haulage industry rather than tackling these speed violations and enforcing speed limits.
  • Eighty two % of articulated heavy goods vehicles exceeded their 50 mph speed limit on dual carriageways and 73% exceeded their 40 mph limit on single carriageways. Source: DfT Free flow vehicle speed statistics: 2013

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