HGV Driving Safety Statistics

Insurance Revolution HGV , Statistics

How safe do you feel when driving alongside Heavy Good Vehicles or HGV’s? 


We asked the general driving public how they felt about it and have pulled together some data regarding accidents/incidents involving HGVs too. Read on for more information.


The MTRU (Metropolitan Transport Research Unit) reported in 2018 that HGVs are much more likely to be involved in fatal road traffic accidents than other vehicles. The report did specify that whilst the likelihood of a fatality occurring from a HGV is greater, the overall statistics for general accidents that do not result in a fatality are more in line with other vehicles. The reason for the higher fatalities from accidents is most likely due to the sheer size and mass of the vehicles as opposed to them being any less safe on the road. 


Number of Fatalities has fallen

Based on figures produced by Eros, (European Road Safety Observatory) the last few years have seen a drop in the number of deaths that have occured due an accident involving a HGV. In the EU the number fell as low as 40%, before increasing slightly. 

Number of fatalities in accidents involving a HGV

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
EU 6707 6140 4977 4422 4294 4091 3841 3752 3691 4002
UK 449 380 287 269 265 278 264 279 300 284


You can see this better represented in the graphs below.


Where do HGV accidents happen?

According to EROS the majority of accidents involving a HGV do not take place on a motorway. They are more likely to occur on an urban or rural road where a HGV may take up a lot of space. In the UK specifically only 10% of all HGV accidents occurred on the motorway. 


The percentage of HGV accidents occurring on the motorway across all of the EU is 19%, so the UK is on the lower end of that spectrum. 


Slovenia has the highest percentage, with 42% of their HGV accidents happening on the motorway. Belgium and Italy are the second and third highest with 38% and 37% of their HGV accidents happening on a motorway. 


Fatality rate per million

The average fatality rate across all of the EU for accidents involving a HGV is 8.1 per million people whereas the country with the lowest rate is Estonia with 1.5 per million, and Poland is the highest with 20.6 per million. 


The fatality rate across the EU for accidents involving a bus or a coach is 1.2 per million. Significantly less than the fatality rate for HGVs. This data was true as of May 2018. 



A Survey

Regarding the safety of HGVs on the road, we conducted our own survey in which we asked

1,393 drivers the following question; 


Which of the following statements do you agree with, if any? (tick all that apply)


  1. I feel perfectly safe encountering HGV drivers on the road while I am driving my car. 

  2. I feel HGV drivers are good drivers

  3. I feel unsafe driving close to HGVs on the road while driving my car

  4. I have had a near miss with a HGV before

  5. I have had an incident with (crash, bump, etc) with a HGV before

  6. None of the above


The results


I feel perfectly safe encountering HGV drivers on the road while I am driving my car. 

29.72% - 414 people


None of the above

29.72% - 414 people


I feel unsafe driving close to HGVs on the road while driving my car

25.56% - 356 people


I feel HGV drivers are good drivers

19.31% - 269 people


I have had a near miss with a HGV before

11.20% - 156 people


I have had an incident (crash, bump, etc) with a HGV before

5.03% - 70 people


The answers to this question appear to be fairly mixed, almost the same amount of people feel unsafe around HGVs as people who feel perfectly safe.


However, there is a fairly high percentage of the people surveyed who feel they have been involved with a near miss with a HGV. Although due to the size of a HGV, any near miss would stand out much more than a near miss with a car, as it could be quite traumatising. It is possible that some of the people surveyed who agreed they were involved in a near miss, could have been involved in very minor incidents. 


A breakdown of the results


The 1,393 respondents also gave details such as their age and gender. You can learn more from looking into these details. For example we can breakdown the answer regarding the near misses by age;

I have had a near miss with a HGV before

Age Number of Respondents in that age category Number of people who ticked the answer Percentage of respondents who ticked the answer
18-24 74 14 18.92%
25-34 214 25 11.68%
35-44 218 31 14.22%
45-54 270 28 10.37%
55+ 617 58 9.4%


As you can see from the table above, the age category with by far the biggest percentage of people who agreed they had a near miss was the youngest category. With that percentage significantly falling in the older categories. It is possible that the simplest explanation is that the younger drivers have been involved in more near misses with HGVs due to their own inexperience rather than there being any safety issues with HGVs. Statistically, drivers under the age of 24, and over the age of 80 are more likely to be involved in a road accident. This comes from gov.uk.


Here is the results when we break the same question down by gender;


Gender Number of Respondents in that age category Number of people who ticked the answer Percentage of respondents who ticked the answer
Male 672 88 13.10%
Female 721 68 9.43%


From stats taken from OSV men are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident then women. Men are responsible for 70% of all serious injuries from road accidents, and 59% of all minor injuries. Men are also responsible for 73% of road accident deaths, worldwide. There is compelling evidence against the percentage of road accidents men are responsible for, which again makes it difficult on this occasion to say for sure if all these near misses is due to the driving of the HGV. It is at least something to consider. 


Rise in searches for HGV driver jobs

Another interesting statistic that has arisen from the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, is the rise in the number of Google searches for HGV driver jobs during the first lock down. You can see this below;


Google searches for - 

HGV Driving Jobs

Google searches for - 

HGV Jobs

Google searches for - 

Lorry Driver Jobs

January 8100 14800 2900
February 6600 12100 2400
March 12100 14800 3600
April 8100 14800 2900
May 8100 14800 2900
June 8100 14800 2900
July 6600 12100 2900
August 5400 9900 2400
September 5400 9900 2400
October 5400 9900 1900
November 4400 8100 1600
December 3600 8100 1600


All three of these Google searches peak around the first lockdown and then tail off after that. You can see that all three of them have a similar pattern.



All three searches follow a similar pattern, with the spike in ‘HGV Driving Jobs’ being the most obvious. 


So while there may not be statistics to show they HGVs are more likely to be involved in a crash, although any accidents they are involved in tend to be more serious due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicles.  Our survey showed mixed results on whether people feel safe driving alongside a HGV, but in terms of the results regarding accidents and near misses, the result could be explained by other factors such as the age and gender of the person driving the car. There is no clear evidence that HGVs are any more dangerous than other vehicles. 


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