Longer trailers cut road miles, says DfT report

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Between 375,000 and 560,000 HGV vehicle miles have been removed from the road as a result of longer semi-trailer operations since September 2012, according to a review of the trial by the Department for Transport.

The trial is due to last for ten years from the launch in 2012. The trial will permit up to 1,800 trailers in two length categories (up to 14.6m and up to 15.65m) to operate under vehicle special orders.

There are currently some 600 trailers on trial operated by 76 companies. Most are 15.65m – only 20 per cent are 14.6m trailers.

Analysis of reported road collisions involving LSTs resulting in injury shows that the incidence of such collisions is lower than that for the GB Articulated fleet in general. The report said that at this stage it was not possible to determine the precise reasons for this reported difference.

“It is worth noting however that the operators are using the LSTs under a specific operational regime and that LST drivers have typically been subject to special (and recent) training. These factors may have a bearing on the road collision experience of the LSTs to date, in comparison to the general GB articulated HGV fleet.”

The next phase of the trial will involve a mid-year project review in Autumn 2014 and a further annual report on the trial and emerging findings, in the Spring of 2015.

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