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Mega trucks must not be allowed on UK roads, say campaigners

18 November 2016

Reacting to the German Government announcement today [1], Friday 18 November, that it will allow cross border trials of mega trucks from 2017. 

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, Campaign for Better Transport said:

“82ft mega trucks, weighing 60 tonnes [2], are totally unsuitable for the congested UK road network on safety grounds alone. Existing sized lorries are disproportionally involved in fatal road crashes because of their size and scale. [3] 

“The latest UK Government figures show that HGVs are almost six times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on minor roads. In 2014, HGVs were involved in 45 per cent of fatal collisions on motorways although they only accounted for 11.6 per cent of the miles driven on motorways. [4] 

“Given that almost 30 per cent of existing lorries are driving around totally empty and almost 50 per cent of lorries are neither constrained by volume or weight, ie partially loaded, what is the justification for even larger lorries? There is a danger that mega trucks will become travelling warehouses which would save the road haulage industry money at the expense of taxpayers. 

“We need a clear statement from the UK government that they will not allow mega trucks, which are opposed by the vast majority of the public, into the UK.” [5] 

Ends

For further information please contact Philippa Edmunds on 020 8241 9982 / 07593 976 548 or Philippa@freightonrail.org.uk or philippaedmunds@blueyonder.co.uk

Website: www.freightonrail.org.uk  and follow us on Twitter.com/FreightonRail  

Notes to Editors

 [1] http://www.morgenpost.de/wirtschaft/article208745631/Verkehrsminister-Dobrindt-laesst-lange-Lkw-regulaer-fahren.html

 [2] Existing HGVs are 16.5 metres (54ft), 44 tonnes in weight

 [3] The European Commission's own research in Jan 2009 stated that mega trucks are individually more dangerous than standard HGVs. – TML Effects of adapting the rules on weights and dimensions of HGVs  P14 penultimate line 6 November 2008 DGTREN website.  The double articulation of a mega trucks increases side to side oscillation ie a “snake” (rear amplification) and problems with other manoeuvres at cruising speeds, for example changing lane on a dual carriageway. There is a conflict here between the manoeuvrability needed in urban areas with a dangerous loss of stability at cruising speeds.

[4] Source: Traffic statistics table TRA0104, Accident statistics Table RAS 30017, both DfT: References:

Table TRA 0104

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/tra01-traffic-by-road-class-and-region-miles

Table RAS 30017

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras30-reported-casualties-in-road-accidents

[5] UK Opinion polling showed that 76 per cent of the public opposed mega trucks.

[6] Freight on Rail is a partnership between Campaign for Better Transport, the rail freight industry and transport trade unions.

[7] Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).