The topic safety in the AEROFLEX project

Safety is a very important goal for the Aeroflex project, with the overall objective of promoting the development and adoption of technologies and processes to make the transport of goods by road more and more secure, through the drastic reduction of fatalities and injuries in truck-involved crashes.  The additional challenge is to achieve this goal by integrating the best technologies related to the congestion mitigation, reduction of emissions, reduced fuel consumption. Not hindering, but rather to contribute at the improvement in the productivity and efficiency of the transport industry general system.

The work done so far has been aimed at recovering data describing and evaluating fatalities and injuries arising in crashes, the most frequent crash scenarios involving trucks with combined weight over 16t and investigating the critical Safety factors and the causes of crashes. Crash data from some national accident database as well as the European crash database CARE, shows that in 2015 there were more than 1 million crashes within whole Europe, out of which 24’000 resulted in fatalities. Out of those crashes, 49’000 involved a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) as one of the crash partners. Around 3’400 of those crashes resulted in fatalities, leading to 3’800 fatally injured persons. Although crashes involving HGV’s account for only 4,5% of all crashes on European road, their share of fatal crashes with 14,2% percent is much higher. The overrepresentation of HGVs in fatal crashes calls for actions.

This is especially relevant for VRUs (Vulnerable Road Users) that do not have a protective shell around them like occupants of a vehicle. Furthermore, in crashes involving HGVs and VRUs, there is a high risk of fatal or severe injuries already at low speeds due to the huge weight difference and therefore higher possible energy transfer. Most HGV crashes in Europe occur during daylight with good weather conditions und dry road surfaces. Based on GIDAS (German In-Depth Accident Study) the most relevant scenarios for VRU crashes are “turning off accidents”. Additionally, “crossing/entering accident” have a high relevance for cyclists and “pedestrian crossing road” is the most common crash type for pedestrians”. Crashes in longitudinal traffic” are most relevant for passenger cars and commercial vehicles as a conflict partner.

According to the scope of the AEROFLEX project, an analysis of the effects of the GVW (gross vehicle weight) increase has been investigated based on the Swedish experience data, where a GVW above 44t is already allowed. From the Swedish National Crash Data the heavier trucks show a significantly lower crash risk compared to today’s trucks up to 44t.