13 Truck Accident Statistics in the UK: 2024 Update
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Trucks, or HGVs, are large goods vehicles that typically carry products from business to business. As well as those that deal with internal commerce, there are trucks from overseas. Although they make up a relatively small proportion of road traffic and have roughly the same rate of accidents as other vehicle types, the number of fatalities in accidents involving HGVs is significantly higher than any other vehicle type. This is likely because of the size and weight of the vehicle, which means that they can do more damage than motorbikes, cars, or even vans.
Truck accidents are not always reported separately and are typically included in a group with buses, vans, and unknown vehicles. Statistics are not released yearly, but we have included 13 truck accident statistics related to the UK’s roads below.
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The 13 Truck Accident Statistics in the UK
- There are more than 135,000 road accident injuries in the UK every year.
- There are nearly half a million HGVs on UK roads.
- HGVs account for 11% of motorway traffic.
- In 2019, accidents involving HGVs led to 251 deaths, 1,111 serious injuries, and 4,172 other injuries.
- Left-hand drive HGVs are more than three times more likely to be involved in accidents when overtaking or changing lanes.
- There are 8.1 HGV fatalities per million people.
- HGVs are involved in a third of fatal motorway accidents.
- Only 10% of HGV accidents occur on motorways.
- 5% of people have had an accident with an HGV before.
- 1 in 5 people think HGV drivers are good drivers.
- Most cyclists do not think that HGV drivers can see them through mirrors or displays.
- Most pedestrians believe lower cabs and bigger windows are safer than mirrors and displays.
- Nearly half of the HGV drivers say it is difficult to see cyclists in their mirrors.
UK Road Statistics
1. There are more than 135,000 road accident injuries in the UK every year.
The UK’s roads are extremely busy, and, apart from during Covid lockdowns, they will only get busier. More traffic means a greater potential for accidents, and more casualties and fatalities come with more accidents. In 2021, there were a total of 1,608 deaths, nearly 27,000 serious injuries, and 107,000 slight injuries, giving a total of 135,000 casualties.
2. There are nearly half a million HGVs on UK roads.
In 2020, there were 485,900 GB-registered HGVs on UK roads. This represented a 3% drop from 2019 figures, which was likely caused by Covid lockdowns during the year. The weights of the trucks range from 3.5 tonnes to 44 tonnes, with the two main types of trucks being rigid and articulated. The most commonly transported goods type was food products, accounting for 19% of all the items hauled by trucks during the year.
3. HGVs account for 11% of motorway traffic.
A lot of an HGV’s journey takes place on motorways, which are wider, easier to drive, and offer direct routes between major points. More than 10% of all motorway traffic in the UK is truck traffic, showing their dependence on the motorways.
4. In 2019, accidents involving HGVs led to 251 deaths, 1,111 serious injuries, and 4,172 other injuries.
HGVs are roughly as likely to be involved in an accident as any other vehicle type by miles travelled. However, the size and weight of the vehicle type mean that accidents involving HGVs are more likely to end in serious injuries and fatalities. In 2019, the last year before Covid lockdowns had a major bearing on traffic figures. Accidents involving HGVs saw 251 deaths as well as 1,111 serious and 4,172 minor injuries.
5. Left-hand drive HGVs are more than three times more likely to be involved in accidents when overtaking or changing lanes.
As well as UK-registered HGVs, there are many foreign trucks on UK roads, typically delivering goods from overseas or collecting goods from suppliers. Many of these foreign HGVs are left-hand drive rather than right-hand drive UK trucks. A driver’s largest blind spot is on the vehicle’s passenger side. Drivers of left-hand drive vehicles have more of a struggle to see vehicles that they are overtaking. As a result, left-hand drive HGVs are 3.4 times more likely to be involved in accidents when overtaking other vehicles or changing lanes.
6. There are 8.1 HGV fatalities per million people.
Although HGVs are only about as likely to have an accident as any other vehicle type, the size and weight of the vehicle mean that it carries a lot more force. Vehicle occupants struck by HGVs are more likely to suffer serious injuries. HGV accidents lead to 8.1 fatalities per million people, which is substantially higher than the 1.2 fatalities per million people caused by bus and coach accidents.
7. HGVs are involved in a third of fatal motorway accidents.
In 2007, 41% of accidents that resulted in one or more fatalities involved an HGV. The number has improved, and in 2016, the last year the statistics are available, one-third of fatal motorway accidents involved one or more HGVs.
8. Only 10% of HGV accidents occur on motorways.
Although HGVs cover many motorway miles, only a fraction of the total accidents they are involved in actually occurs on motorways. Just 10% of HGV accidents occur on these roads. This compares to 19% across the whole of the EU and as high as 42% in Slovenia. In this respect, the UK fares well compared to other countries.
Road User Opinions of HGVs
9. 5% of people have had an accident with an HGV before.
HGVs can be an intimidating sight on motorways and other roads, and the high rate of fatalities caused by accidents involving HGVs does give some cause for concern. When asked, 1 in 20 drivers said they had already been involved in an accident with a truck. In the same survey, 11% of respondents said they had had a near miss with an HGV driver.
10. 1 in 5 people think HGV drivers are good drivers.
When asked, only 19% of people said they believe HGV drivers are good drivers. However, 30% said they feel safe around HGVs, and 25% said they feel unsafe driving near HGVs. 30% said that they did not feel safe or unsafe.
11. Most cyclists do not think that HGV drivers can see them through mirrors or displays.
Trucks have several visual aids to help them better see the vehicles and roads around them. As well as their windows and mirrors, many have Visual Display Units (VDUs) which further extend the field of vision that the driver enjoys. However, when asked about how safe they feel around HGV drivers and what could be done to improve their safety, most cyclists said they do not believe that HGVs can properly see them through mirrors or VDUs.
12. Most pedestrians believe lower cabs and bigger windows are safer than mirrors and displays.
Pedestrians have a similar belief, and most believe that lower cabs, which puts the driver closer to road level in a better position to see other road users and allow them to naturally see a wider field of view, are safer than mirrors and displays.
13. Nearly half of HGV drivers say it is difficult to see a cyclist in their mirrors.
Most HGV drivers believe that mirrors provide an adequate view. Despite this, when asked, nearly half of HGV drivers said that they find it difficult to recognise a cyclist when looking in their mirror. 41% of drivers said that larger windows would make it easier to spot other road users.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Do trucks get in more accidents than cars?
Trucks do not get in more accidents than cars or other vehicle types, but because of their size and the force behind a moving truck, truck accidents result in more deaths and severe injuries per mile travelled than any other vehicle type.
What are the main causes of HGV accidents?
There are many causes of HGV accidents. Some of the most common include mobile phone use, driver fatigue, and driver negligence. Poor loading and load management, as well as a failure to properly check the safety features and other truck elements, can also be major causes of accidents.
Who is liable in an HGV accident?
As with any vehicle accident, liability depends on a lot of factors. If negligence can be shown on the side of the HGV driver, they will likely be held responsible for any injuries and loss caused as a result of an accident. In other cases, the company that owns or runs the vehicle itself might be found liable, and in yet more cases, third parties, such as other road users, might be liable for an accident.
Trucks are huge commercial vehicles used to haul goods and commercial products from one location to another. As well as hundreds of thousands of UK-registered HGVs, there are a large number of foreign trucks on UK roads, especially motorways, and while trucks are not necessarily involved in any more accidents than other road user types, accidents involving HGVs are more likely to result in serious injuries or deaths.
Featured Image Credit: Juris Teivans, Shutterstock