Heavy Goods Vehicles are becoming more and more prevalent on the roads in the UK. Over the ten-year period between 1996 and 2016, HGV usage increased from just 46% to 72% across the country. In this same time period, government road statistics show an increase in the usage of articulated vehicles, from 83% right up to 95%.
Due to HGVs being much more common across the UK’s dual carriageways and motorways, it only makes sense that their involvement in road accidents is on a larger scale. It should perhaps fall to the government to introduce stricter rules for HGV road safety.
Current HGV Legislation
As it stands, Heavy Goods Vehicles are required to display reflective chevrons on the side and the rear of the vehicle. The conspicuity markings to the rear of the vehicle must outline its shape, and the side of the vehicle only requires a horizontal conspicuity marking along the length of the HGV.
For the full legislation on conspicuity markings for HGVs, see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/425106/conspicuity-marking-requirements-goods-vehicles.pdf.
The government’s Chapter 8 proposal applies to the markings on smaller vehicles, such as work vans, which stop on high-speed roads. Chevron kits are required for these vehicles in order to make them as visible as possible for drivers on these roads, meaning they should reduce the potential for road accidents.
The Chapter 8 compliant markings are still not applicable to Heavy Goods Vehicles. Surely, with similar rules in place for larger vehicles on the road – and not just the motorway or dual carriageway, but also B roads – this could help to lower HGV accident figures too. In the year 2016, there were 1792 deaths on the roads in the UK. This is an increase of 4% from the year before. 9% of these involved Heavy Goods Vehicles – this has remained the same figure for the last decade.
Chevrons kits such as those from https://www.vehiclechevrons.com/ can be purchased to make it easier for drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles, or owners of HGV businesses, to ensure that their vehicle is safe and easily visible for other drivers on the roads.
The Department of Transport has released figures for 2016 showing that 5819 road accidents involved HGVs, with 1230 deaths or serious injuries. Of these accidents, 396 were down to poor visibility.