New research from car insurer LV=, reveals that the number of EU heavy goods vehicles on UK roads has increased by a third (33%) since 2001 and is expected to continue to grow, by 18%, over the next five years.
The huge increase in foreign vehicles means that one in seven lorries on UK roads is now from overseas*. Of the foreign registered goods vehicles in the UK in 2007, the majority were from the Netherlands (252,000) followed by Germany (218,000), Poland (205,000) and France (197,000) **.
The increase in foreign heavy good vehicles (HGV) traffic on UK roads has been driven by the expansion in the number of members of the EU. Foreign HGV traffic in the UK from countries that joined the EU in 2001 and 2004 has grown every year since 2001, by an average of 45%.
According to internal insurance claims data, the vast majority of accidents involving lorries happen on motorways and many are a result of the HGV being left-hand drive and this causing a blind spot on the right of their vehicle.
The most recent figures available, from 2006, show that 1,366 people per year are injured in accidents involving foreign goods vehicles.
Taking into account the cost of insurance claims, accidents and potential congestion the research estimates that the cost to the economy of foreign EU HGV drivers was nearly £100 million in 2006.
John O’Roarke, Managing Director of LV= general insurance, said: “Over the last seven years we have seen a significant increase in the number of accidents involving lorries from overseas. Not only is being involved in an accident with a lorry frightening but it can also be very costly and time consuming, as your insurer may have trouble tracing and communicating with the insurer of the vehicle.
“We are calling on the Government to bring in legislation to make it compulsory for left-hand drive heavy goods vehicles to be fitted with blind spot mirrors to help avoid these kinds of accidents.”
The research has also found that foreign HGVs are far less likely to meet UK roadworthiness standards. One third (31%) of foreign HGVs failed spot checks undertaken by the Vehicle Operating Standards Agency (VOSA) in the past five years whereas UK HGVs have a pass rate of 75% - suggesting a considerable difference in safety standards between UK and foreign vehicles.
* Freight Transport Association ‘Delivering the economy 2008'
** DFT - road vehicles travelling to Europe from GB
Notes to editors:
All statistics are taken from the LV= report ‘The rise of EU drivers in the UK’. The report was commissioned by LV= and compiled by CEBR. The report features a range of official, industry and survey based evidence.
LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. The new LV= brand identity was launched in March 2007.
LV offers car, home, travel and pet insurance direct to consumers by telephone from its UK call centres in Bournemouth and Croydon and online from its website: www.lv.com. The company currently insures over 650,000 cars and 440,000 households in the UK. LV= has been awarded the Defaqto five star rating for home insurance and car insurance.
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