Pedes­tri­ans most at risk ac­cord­ing to Volvo re­port

Owner Driver - - Owner/Driver - – Cobey Bar­tels

A RE­PORT re­leased by Volvo Trucks in May this year has pro­vided data from more than 1700 ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing trucks.

The data col­lec­tion kicked off in 1969 and the global man­u­fac­turer’s Ac­ci­dent Re­search Team (ART) has an­a­lysed the crash data and high­lighted a stark re­al­ity – we have a long way to go.

The data looks at crashes in Europe and of the ap­prox­i­mate 26,000 road fa­tal­i­ties within the EU each year, 15 per cent in­volve a heavy ve­hi­cle. Of th­ese fa­tal­i­ties, 1230 are vul­ner­a­ble road users (VRU) such as pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists and mo­tor­cy­clists, but an alarm­ing 53 per cent of the VRU deaths were pedes­tri­ans.

Volvo Trucks traf­fic and prod­uct safety di­rec­tor Carl Jo­han Almqvist told Owner//Driver safety has to ex­tend be­yond the truck driver and in­clude ed­u­ca­tion for pedes­tri­ans and other un­pro­tected par­ties.

“If we’re try­ing to ful­fil our vi­sion of zero ac­ci­dents, we need to talk to ev­ery­body in the traf­fic en­vi­ron­ment,” Almqvist says.

“We’ve been look­ing af­ter the driver and mak­ing sure you’ve got a very safe en­vi­ron­ment to do your driv­ing … but now we have to ex­tend that.

“We have all the other play­ers out there, and we’re see­ing quite a lot of in­ter­est on the vul­ner­a­ble road users – bik­ers, pedes­tri­ans, mo­tor­bik­ers, all th­ese that are un­pro­tected. There’s no truck driver that wants to run over some­body, and there’s no pedes­trian that wants to get run over – but now we need to talk to each other.”

Almqvist says a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the num­ber of VRU fa­tal­i­ties is the wide­spread use of smart­phones, which are im­mer­sive enough to com­pletely dis­tract peo­ple.

A stag­ger­ing 17 per cent of pedes­tri­ans use their smart­phones while cross­ing roads and fail to no­tice traf­fic, the re­port states.

“It’s get­ting tougher be­cause a lot of grown-ups, as well as kids, are get­ting into their phones and es­pe­cially when they use their head­phones, they walk straight out into traf­fic,” Almqvist says.

When asked how this is­sue can be im­proved, Almqvist ex­plained “it’s very much ed­u­ca­tion, we need to make them aware of it”.

“We say that ac­ci­dents are due to hu­man er­ror to 90 per cent.

“When you know who’s there, easy, but when you start mix­ing it with all the other driv­ers out there, which we hu­man be­ings have prob­lems with some­times, that’s the tricky part.”

The re­port clearly states that the most com­mon VRU ac­ci­dents are ‘cross­ing ac­ci­dents’ and those in­volv­ing turn­ing heavy ve­hi­cles.

Carl Jo­han Almqvist

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