Denby Eco-Link

There is no indication that longer, heavier vehicles (LHVs) are less safe than regular vehicles, a new report by Volvo Trucks has confirmed.

Based on an analysis  of data from the STRADA (Swedish Traffic Accident Data Acquisition) programme, truck combinations up to 25.25m long with a maximum weight of 60 tonnes generate a very similar pattern of accidents to regular vehicles, says Volvo’s European Accident Research and Safety Report 2013.

In rural areas, LHVs were involved in  just 311 (46%) out of 680 serious and fatal accidents between 2003 and 2009, the STRADA analysis has shown, while regular combinations accounted for the remainder. Taking all injury levels into account, LHVs were  involved in 42% of accidents.

There are some differences in accident distribution, the report acknowledges. A greater percentage (75%) of accidents involving LHVs will be on rural, rather than urban roads, for example, where those involving regular vehicles are equally split between urban and rural areas. LHVs also experience a greater percentage of head-on collisions (22% of accidents compared to 15% for regular trucks) and accidents where no other vehicle is involved (31% versus 20%).

Such variances, however, are likely to be attributable to the different transport applications and environments in which such vehicles tend to operate, suggests the report: the figure for lone-vehicle accidents, for example, could be attributable to the fact that LHVs are driven for longer distances on average than other vehicles and also driven more at night, it says.

Welcoming the findings, LHV proponent Dick Denby, chairman of Lincoln-based Denby Transport, suggested that LHVs would naturally tend to produce fewer accidents than regular vehicles. “Since a percentage of accidents are, broadly speaking, about driver error, if you reduce the number of drivers out there by a third, you should have a third less errors,” he commented. “Less bumper bars and less drivers means less accidents – it’s as simple as that.”