Project: Potential Casualty Savings from Fitting Blind Spot Mirrors to Heavy Goods Vehicles

Reference: S0227/VF

Last update: 22/04/2005 14:53:06

Objectives

The project objectives are to:
* assess the casualty reduction potential of the compulsory fitting of close proximity blind spot mirrors to heavy goods vehicles not already covered by current requirements (e.g., UK registered vehicles between 7.5 tonnes and 12 tonnes, and visiting EU registered vehicles over 7.5 tonnes); and
* prepare a regulatory impact assessment concerning the Commission proposal on retrofitting blind spot mirrors.

Description

In mixed traffic conditions, where Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV's) share the same road space as vulnerable road users such as cyclists or motorcyclists, it is important that the HGV driver has a clear view of all adjacent traffic, even when conducting slow speed manoeuvres. Although collisions between HGV's and cyclists or motorcyclists are not particularly common, when such collisions do occur, a high proportion result in severe or fatal injury. In 2001 there were 1005 recorded collisions between HGV's and two-wheeled vehicles, of which 58 resulted in fatal injury and 239 resulted in serious injury to the cyclist / motorcyclist. Many of these accidents may be due to the inability of the HGV driver to be aware of traffic close to the side of the vehicle, particularly in the 'blind spot' caused by the passenger door on high vehicles. Since 1988, new goods vehicles above 12 tonnes and registered in the UK have been required to be fitted with an additional 'close proximity' mirror on the passenger side to address this problem. Virtually all operational vehicles in this weight range are now fitted with this mirror. However, in the 7.5 -12 tonne range the fitting of close proximity mirrors is optional, even though the blind spot problem caused by many of these vehicles may be similar.

Aside from the problems encountered by cyclists and motorcyclists, there is also a concern arising from left-hand drive HGV's visiting the UK. There have been a number of reported collisions, particularly on motorways, where the HGV driver has attempted an overtaking manoeuvre without noticing the presence of a car in the right hand lane. There is a strong possibility that such incidents could be avoided by fitting a close proximity mirror on the vehicle right hand side (the side opposite the driver).

This project is to assess the potential for casualty reduction in the above scenarios if EC legislation made it a mandatory requirement for close proximity mirrors to all new and existing vehicles above 7.5 tonnes.

Contractor(s)

TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £89,770.00

Actual start date: 22 April 2003

Actual completion date: 31 March 2005

Publication(s)

PPR013. Potential Casualty Savings from Fitting Blind Spot Mirrors (Class V) to Heavy Goods Vehicles. Final Report
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 22/04/2005
Published
Source: Contact ian.knowles@dft.gsi.gov.uk

PR/SE/894/04. Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 24/03/2005
Unpublished
Source: Contact ian.knowles@dft.gsi.gov.uk

PR/SE/818/03. Potential Casualty Savings from Fitting Blind Spot Mirrors to Heavy Goods Vehicles - Interim Report
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 01/10/2003
Unpublished
Source: Contact: ian.knowles@dft.gsi.gov.uk

PR/SE/793/03. Potential Casualty Savings from Fitting Blind Spot Mirrors to Heavy Goods Vehicles - Literature Review
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 01/09/2003
Unpublished
Source: Contact: ian.knowles@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Summary of results

  1. The project gave indications of the lives and serious injuries likely to be saved by increasing the fitment of blind spot mirrrors to heavy goods vehicles, and the associated costs. The original aim was to estimate the costs and benefits associated with the expected Commission proposal on retroffiting blind spot mirrors to some existing vehicles. Since he Commission proposal has not yet been published, it was not possible for the project to draw conclusions on the cost-effectiveness of this proposal. However, information gained from this project will enable us to respond quickly to the Commission proposal when it does emerge (now expected mid 2005).

    The predicted casualty savings are based on a thorough accident analysis and are generally credible. However, some assumptions have had to be made about aspects such as driver use of blind spot mirrors, since there are clearly limits to the reliability of information obtained from driver's on this point.