German motorists would rather not share the road with truck drivers…

Germany has a problem – more and more trucks are flooding the country’s freeways and highways. This has pushed up the number of serious accidents involving commercial vehicles. One result of this is that an increasing number of Germans would feel safer with fully automated, driverless trucks on the road.

This is the outcome of a survey conducted by Bosch and Innofact AG in the lead-up to the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover. The survey interviewed 1 068 people throughout Germany between the ages of 18 and 69.

Almost 40 percent of respondents would prefer trucks to have a human driver at the wheel, while more than 37 percent no longer have a preference for a human over a machine. In fact, one in four respondents would have more confidence in an autonomous truck than in a human driver when it comes to safety.

The intelligent technology on board such trucks could prevent a large number of accidents: the reality is that nine out of ten accidents are due to human error.

“Delivery traffic on Germany’s roads must become safer and more efficient, because it doesn’t affect just logistics companies and retailers, but all road users,” says Markus Heyn, member of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management.

The survey shows that Germans are highly critical of road freight, both on freeways and in cities; most people stuck in traffic find trucks and vans rather annoying.

According to 57 percent of respondents, Germans feel particularly unsafe in critical situations involving trucks – for instance, when merging onto the freeway or when a truck is turning.

More than one in two (56 percent) believe that there are too many road-freight vehicles on the road.

Around half of respondents said their biggest complaint is when trucks block traffic while parking. Other annoyances include commercial-vehicle emissions (50 percent) and truck noise (43 percent). Only one in five respondents said that truck traffic didn’t bother them.

However, what the survey also highlights is that very few people are willing to do anything themselves to relieve delivery traffic on the road. For instance, 73 percent of Germans don’t want to shop less online. And few of them (49 percent) are willing to compromise by accepting longer waiting times for parcel deliveries as a way to relieve traffic – for example, having parcel delivery just once a week instead of every day.

One in four respondents (27 percent) did say that they would reduce delivery traffic by returning fewer goods, while 36 percent would have their parcels delivered to a central parcel station or collection point and then pick them up themselves.

Paying more for parcels to be delivered – to have, say, more evening deliveries so as to spread traffic throughout the day – is something only 15 percent of respondents would consider.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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