Beware of Foreign Lorries

Accidents caused by foreign lorries are costing nearly £52m every year, new research suggests.

According to analysis by Accident Exchange, one of the UK’s leading accident management specialists, the annual number of crashes on UK roads involving foreign registered lorries could be as high as 9,800*.

The company drew its conclusions after looking at over 100,000** reported road traffic incidents it had handled between March 2006 and March 2008.

The majority – 46 per cent – of incidents involving foreign lorries occurred on motorways with the M25 accounting for around 42 per cent of that figure. Due to the speeds travelled and size of the vehicles involved, repair bills averaged nearly £3,750 but were in some cases as high as £5,647. Independent insurance assessors classified nearly 1 in 10 as total write-offs.

“The rate of incidents may be rising, but so too is the escalating cost,” explains Steve Evans, chief executive of Accident Exchange.

Accident Exchange data suggests that foreign lorries are now responsible for one out of every 350 accidents leaving a bill of £2.8m*** in lost working hours and £48.9m**** in vehicle repairs, write-offs and personal injury claims. In total, an estimated £52m annually.

‘Side swiping’, which refers to the blind spot of left-hand-drive Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), remains the biggest cause of lorry accidents. Last December, the Department of Transport issued more than 90,000 Fresnel lenses – a thin optical lens of plastic that improves rear visibility - to foreign lorry drivers in an effort to tackle the problem.

“The awareness of British drivers to the dangers is just as important if this figure is to be reduced,” adds Evans. “Too few UK motorists realise that left-hand drive HGVs are unable to see vehicles overtaking them on the right. A greater appreciation would help.”

7 May 2008 Staff

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