Utilizing Optimization Potential Even More Effectively
Even though serious accidents receive widespread coverage in the media, the long-term trend is still clear: Commercial vehicles are becoming increasingly safer, and the number of accidents resulting in fatalities, injuries and/or material damage has decreased considerably in Europe. Take Germany as an example: According to the German Federal Statistical Office, the number of accidents involving goods transport vehicles that resulted in personal injury decreased from approximately 36,650 to 29,350 between 2005 and 2016, which equates to a decrease of 20 percent. The number of deaths resulting from accidents involving goods transport vehicles decreased by 35 percent during this period from 1160 to 745. Given the significant increase in the number of goods transport operations, this is remarkable progress. A similarly positive trend can be observed in other EU member states.
But we cannot rest on our laurels, because it is a simple fact that accidents involving trucks weighing in excess of 12 metric tons frequently have particularly serious consequences for everyone involved due to the high masses involved – not only for the truck drivers themselves, but also and above all for car drivers and unprotected road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. The following figures from Germany support this: Of the victims of accidents involving trucks in 2016, almost 9500 were goods transport vehicle occupants and almost 30,800 were other road users. Of the victims who died as a result of the accidents, 133 were goods transport vehicle occupants and 612 were other road users. The risk of being killed in an accident involving a truck is therefore around four and a half times higher for other people involved in the accident than it is for the goods transport vehicle occupants. Just how serious the consequences can be is made very clear by the rear-end collisions that unfortunately occur time and again at the end of traffic jams.
Thanks to the considerable progress made by manufacturers in terms of driver assistance systems, a lot has been achieved in recent years. It is, however, important to make even more efficient use of the active and passive safety aspects of commercial vehicles – every person who dies or is injured as a result of a road accident is one too many. In addition, accidents not only result in human suffering but also enormous financial burdens for those affected, the economy and society as a whole.
This report uses examples from around the world to demonstrate where action needs to be taken in order to make much more efficient use of the potential for improvement – in terms of both vehicle technology and the people and infrastructure. As such, this report is much more than just a compilation of facts about the current situation. Rather, this publication aims to provide food for thought as well as advice and recommendations for politicians, traffic and infrastructure experts, manufacturers, research institutions and associations and all road users.