A longer, more aerodynamic cab with better vision for lorry drivers could save the lives of hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians, according to a new study by academics at Loughborough University’s Design School.
The proposed new cab, 80cm longer with a rounded nose, smaller dashboard, expanded glazed areas, and a slightly lower driver position, could drastically reduce blind spots around the lorry.
The ‘Direct Vision’ lorry concept would increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50% compared to today’s lorry designs, and could save the lives of many vulnerable road users.
Dr Summerskill, project lead of the ‘Direct Vision’ concept, said: “Blind Spots can be a significant factor in fatal accidents. The study shows that the size of these blind spots can be minimised through improved cab design, the reduction of cab height and the addition of extra windows.”
The study comes at a time when there is increasing concern over the number of deaths among cyclists and pedestrians involving HGVs. Last year alone, nine of the 14 fatal cyclist accidents in London involved HGVs.
According to the European Transport Safety Council, lorries are involved in around 4,200 fatal accidents in Europe every year. Many of these fatalities, almost 1,000, are vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.
In countries with high rates of cycling, lorries are often the single biggest threat to cyclists. In Belgium, 43% of cycling fatalities involve lorries, in Holland 38% and in the UK 33%.
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