Nine out of ten accidents involving trucks are a result of the human factor. This was revealed in a fresh report on traffic safety and road accidents in Europe produced by Volvo Trucks.
The report was produced by the Accident Research Team at Volvo Trucks and is based on its own investigations of accidents as well as data obtained from various national and European authorities. It describes why accidents with trucks occur, their sequence and what can be done to reduce the risk of accidents and their consequences.
"90 per cent of all truck accidents stem entirely or partly from the human factor, for instance when one or more of the drivers of the involved vehicles are distracted or misjudge their speed," says Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic and Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks.
The report also reveals that drinking and driving is not one of the major causes of road accidents involving truck drivers. Only 0.5 per cent of truck drivers involved in serious accidents were under the influence of alcohol. The corresponding figure for accidents involving passenger cars varies between 15 and 20 per cent.
Heavy trucks are involved in 17 per cent of all fatal accidents and seven per cent of accidents resulting in personal injuries. The majority of accidents resulting in truck driver injuries are single-vehicle incidents in which the truck drives off the road. More than half of all serious accidents with trucks consist of collisions between cars and trucks.
"Access to facts about accidents is immensely valuable for our ongoing safety work, helping us make the right priorities in our product development. For instance, we have further enhanced safety levels in our latest truck models with a range of support systems that improve visibility, alert the driver or focus the driver’s attention if something is not right," explains Carl Johan Almqvist.
Thanks to safer vehicles, improved infrastructure and safer behaviour on the road, the number of fatal accidents on European roads has dropped continuously since the early 1990s. But far more lives would be able to be saved if more people used their seat belts, something that not even half of the truck drivers on European roads do. Ninety-five per cent of the truck drivers who died in road accidents were not wearing seat belts.
"As long as people are injured in road accidents, we will continue to pursue higher safety levels. Firstly by making our trucks safer for drivers and other road users, and secondly by spreading knowhow and by impacting patterns of behaviour and persuading more people to use the seat belt."