FTA hits back at Brake study to say that HGVs have never been more motorway safe

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has spoken out to reassure drivers that HGVS have never been more motorway-safe after a survey claimed that the amount of freight on the UK’s roads is making drivers feel unsafe.

Last week, road safety charity Brake released the results of a survey of more than 1000 drivers, and found that 79% of drivers agreed that there is too much freight on our motorways and that the government should look to invest in shifting freight from road to rail.

Additionally, 77% of respondents agreed with the statement that truck platooning “sounds frightening” and that it carries a significant risk to road safety – especially if it went wrong.

But the fears outlined in the Brake survey are not reflective of reality, according to Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA. “In fact, in the last six years the number of people killed or seriously injured in incidents with HGVs on motorways in Britain has reduced by over 15%,” he said.

“Contrary to public perception, the amount of freight being transported on UK motorways has only marginally increased (2.6%) over the last 11 years, it has only just reached the pre-recession levels of a decade ago. We want to take this opportunity to reassure motorway users that safety is the number one priority of the HGV industry.”

The FTA point to figures take from Road Traffic Statistics and Reported Road Casualties, which found that the proportional involvement of HGVs in motorway accidents (all severities) has fallen from 13.1% in 2007 to 9.9% in 2016 despite the same amount of HGV traffic on motorways.

The number of fatalities and individuals seriously injured also shows a downward trend. In 2011, 22 people were killed and 41 were seriously injured as a result of motorway accidents (including pedestrians) involving HGVs, by 2016 this number had reduced to 15 and 37 respectively.

“Freight transport provides a vital service to the UK economy, from delivering the equipment needed to keep hospitals running to stocking supermarkets with goods, and motorway travel makes this possible, keeping larger vehicles away from villages and towns served by smaller roads. Of course, like all other road users, HGV operators must be vigilant and alert at all times, and take every opportunity to keep Britain’s roads as safe as possible – the nation’s logistics drivers are subject to the highest level of testing and compliance of any road user, and provide a vital service without which our economy would stall.”

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