Over 40% of HGV road accidents in the UK come down to driver error or reaction time, according to an analysis of the latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) by smart payment provider Snap.

The analysis looked at the average yearly reported HGV road casualties between 2012-2021 which revealed the South East to be the most hazardous region, with an average 198 HGV road casualties occurring in the region each year.

Breaking this down further, the study found that Kent topped the list at county-level with an average of 51 reported HGV road caualties, followed by Lincolnshire (34), Surrey (33), and Cambridgeshire and Essex coming joint fifth with 27 incidents.

Other hotspots for HGV casualties included North Yorkshire (24), Staffordshire (23), Lancashire (21), Warwickshire (21) and Hampshire (20).

With 52 HGV road casualties in the area in 2021, Kent County Council is currently proposing a target for zero road fatalities across the Kent Highway Network by 2050, citing zero deaths as the only appropriate target.

Whilst overall accident rates are improving across the UK, decreasing by 47% in the last ten years, including 23% fewer fatal HGV collisions, Snap said operators need to do more to ensure their drivers’ welfare and safety.

It points to data which shows that over 40% of HGV road accidents within the UK come down to driver error or reaction time.

The data shows that one in four truck drivers involved in reported HGV crashes were found to have failed to look properly, while one in seven were unable to properly judge the other driver’s path or speed.

With this week’s weather forecast predicting hazardous conditions across the country, and January’s added pressures of long shifts, Snap said it is vital that HGV drivers to be provided with the facilities for sufficient breaks to avoid fatigue-based error.

Mark Garner, Snap MD, said: “Fleet managers have the challenge of accommodating the rise in demand for haulage whilst also ensuring the safety of their drivers which should always be the number one priority.

“Ensuring that truck drivers are able to take regular breaks from driving so that they can avoid tiredness and fatigue at the wheel is paramount.

“This is why SNAP has released the Intruck app, designed to support fleet managers, featuring over 5,000 truck stops across the UK and rest of Europe, so drivers can plan their breaks in advance and keep their concentration on the road ahead.”