Characteristics and causes of heavy goods vehicles and buses accidents in Europe

While Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) and buses account for just a small proportion of the vehicle fleet or the total vehicle kms travelled in the EU, they are over-involved in severe road accidents, creating a significant need to better understand the characteristics specific to this vehicle group. In 2013, more than 4.500 persons were killed in road traffic accidents involving HGVs or bus/coach in EU, constituting almost 18% of all road accident fatalities for that year. The objective of this research is the analysis of basic road safety parameters related to HGV and buses/coaches in European countries, by the use of the EU CARE database with disaggregate data on road accidents, as well as of other international data sources. Time-series data on road accidents involving HGVs and buses/coaches for 27 EU countries over a period of 10 years are correlated with basic safety parameters, such as area type, season of the year, casualty age and gender, as well as the day of the week. Additional insight into accident causation is offered through analysis of a set of in-depth accident data from the EC SafetyNet project Accident Causation System. The results of the analysis allow for an overall assessment of the HGV and buses/coaches safety level in Europe in comparison to other modes of transport, thus providing useful support to decision makers working for the improvement of safety in the European road network.