Release Date: 14 July 2009
Release ID: 4192
Accidents and near-misses could be avoided if road users were more aware of their rights and responsibilities, particularly around lorries. That’s the view of the Freight Transport Association (FTA) which is today calling on the Department for Transport to amend the Highway Code to include better guidance on how to behave around lorries and to test drivers’ knowledge as part of their test.
At present, the Highway Code includes sections on how to behave around other cars, cyclists, motorcyclists and even those using powered mobility scooters, yet there is no mention made of lorries.
James Hookham, FTA’s Policy Director, thinks this is a fatal error:
"As road users, whether we’re on two, four or even sixteen wheels, we all have a responsibility to act sensibly and within the law. It’s unfair to make lorry drivers the scapegoat. Whenever there is an accident, or even a near miss, involving a lorry, the common assumption is that the lorry driver is at fault. But how many of us are aware of how much clearance we need to give HGVs when we are overtaking or how much distance do we need to keep to enable a lorry driver to see us?"
In 2007 alone, there were 10,688 accidents involving lorries, 461 of which involved serious injury or even death. FTA is concerned that, unless there is a compulsion on new drivers to learn and understand how to handle their vehicle around lorries, there will be more accidents. It has also made clear that logistics companies need to do their bit too and ensure their drivers’ training is as up-to-date and as comprehensive as it can be.
"Three years ago, the Driving Standards Agency consulted on changes to the Highway Code, but ended up bottling it. We’re asking them now to rethink that decision and help make our roads safer."
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