Crashes in which lorries or vans are involved are often serious, especially for the crash opponent. Lorries are not only involved in crashes because of their drivers’ unsafe behaviour (freights falling off, rollovers, jack-knifing), but also because other road users take too little account of them. Many road users do not realize that they can be positioned in the lorry’s blind area or that a lorry can swerve out. Although delivery vans are smaller than lorries, they still are bigger and heavier than cars and their rear view is not as good. That is why the crash causes of delivery vans are often different from those of cars. Infrastructural measures, such as target-group lanes and keeping heavy freight traffic away from urban areas can result in safer lorry and van traffic. In addition, (intelligent) facilities in the vehicle, such as speed limitation devices, can be used. Yet it is also important to encourage a safety culture in haulage companies.

Background and content

Lorries and vans share the road with other vehicles. Their large mass is the reason that crashes between lorries and other vehicles are often serious. The lorries’ crash opponents suffer the most casualties. Although delivery vans are smaller and lighter than lorries, when they crash, the majority of the casualties are found at the crash opponent’s side as well. In addition, the number of vans has been increasing strongly in the Netherlands in the last decades, from slightly more than 5% of all motorized vehicles in 1986 to nearly 10% in 2009 (CBS Statline, 2009). The proportion of lorries (including truck and trailers and special vehicles) remains quite constant and amounted to 2.3% in 2009, as against 2.5% in 1986.This fact sheet briefly discusses the road safety problems of lorries and delivery vans, the causes of these problems, possible measures to improve road safety, and the costeffectiveness of a number of these measures.

What is the size of the problem?

The casualties in crashes with lorries or delivery vans are much more frequently among the crash opponents than among the occupants of the lorries and delivery vans themselves