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New Research finds Most Dangerous HGV Designs

August 4, 2016

New Research from Loughborough Universtiy focused on the design of HGVs has been published. Transport for London commissioned Loughborough University to look into and understand blind spots across HGVs. A disproportionate number of road traffic accidents involved vulnerable road users also involve HGVs. The Loughborough University research shows that HGVs with the highest cabs have the most blind spots and are therefore most dangerous.

The team at Loughborough Design School looked closely at the 19 most popular HGV models. They analysed each model in terms of construction, distribution and long haul vehicles. They made sure the range chosen incorporated both high and low cab designs.

All of the chosen HGVs were digitally scanned which to create exact CAD models. They then assessed these models accurately. Using real accident data researchers recreated scenarios involving vulnerable road users. They were able to re-enact a number of different hazardous situations. With this information they were able to plot all blind spots for all 19 vehicles.

The research has led to a call for a new standard for defining what needs to be visible through direct vision when driving an HGV. There is no current standard like this. The researchers believe it could make a huge different in future HGV design.

Speaking on behalf of Loughborough Design School, project leader Steve Summerskill commented: “If you seriously want to reduce the number of collisions involving vulnerable road users and HGVs you have to improve the direct field of vision for drivers – and from our research this means lowering HGV cab designs or adopting low entry cab designs.”

Transport for London analysed the research too. They plan to use it to further their efforts on road safety. It makes it clear that changes need to be made to the design of HGVs. This is especially true if HGVs want to keep driving in the capital, where there are large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists.

HGV safety

No HGVs at Rush Hour

Last year we looked at how the government was considering a ban on HGVs in city centres during rush hour. This was one potential method to curb the number of collisions involving HGVs and vulnerable road users. This research is further evidence that something needs to change for the safety of vulnerable road users.

photo credit: cycle path crosses lorry depot via photopin (license)