Report numberRA-MOW-2009-009
TitleRoad safety charter
SubtitleGuidelines for companies and truck drivers
AuthorsBrenda Wilmots
Elke Hermans
Tom Brijs
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Mobility and Public Works, track Traffic Safety 2007-2011
Number of pages84
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Universiteit Hasselt
Work packageOther: Free research space

Accidents involving trucks are characterized by dramatic consequences. Throughout the years, legal measures have been taken on different levels (European, national and regional) to diminish this type of accidents. In addition, other actors need to be involved to realize a reduction in truck accidents. In this respect, the current report has been produced. More specifically, a safety charter for freight traffic is developed in which, based on literature, a set of important guidelines is given for companies as well as drivers. Their engagement with respect to these guidelines will not only be beneficial in terms of the level of road safety but also provide direct advantages to the parties involved (by saving costs and human suffering).

Before studying how companies and truck drivers can minimize the frequency and severity of truck accidents, the accidents involving at least one truck are analyzed. The results point out a high fatal risk for the other party involved in the accident, many rear-end collisions on Flemish highways and no decrease in the number of blind spot accidents (the bicyclist being the most common party involved) (Casteels & Godart, 2008; Martensen, 2009). Next, factors influencing the occurrence and consequences of truck accidents are studied. First of all, driver related factors such as age, gender, personality features, physical features, driving skills and behavior, inattention and distraction, fatigue, cell phone use while driving, and the use of alcohol, drugs or medicines; secondly, factors related to the vehicle, namely vehicle features and defects, and active and passive safety devices; thirdly, environment related factors such as road infrastructure/location, time and weather conditions. In addition, visibility, speed, distance keeping and loading errors contribute to truck accidents. For a large number of factors a further exploration takes place and specific measures classified under the 3 E’s (Education, Engineering and Enforcement) are formulated. A large part of the measures is related to education from the company towards the truckers. Engineering mainly deals with vehicle technologies and infrastructural modifications whereas the most important legal measures are categorized under enforcement. Based on these measures, relevant guidelines are proposed. This theoretically founded framework serves as starting point for the creation of a final road safety charter for freight traffic in Flanders.

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