Mixed LCV performance in fatal crashes statistics

Figures show light commercial vehicles faring worse than light passenger vehicles

Mixed LCV performance in fatal crashes statistics
The cover of the BITRE report


In a rare insight, Bureau of Infrastructure Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) has shed light on fatal light commercial vehicle (LCV) crashes.

While heavy vehicle fatalities are dealt with on a quarterly basis, BITRE’s Light commercial vehicle safety information sheet comes along less frequently, with the figures for this report being for 2015.

And the message for vehicles less than or equal to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass is mixed.

On the positive side, the 239 fatal crashes involving a light commercial vehicle in 2015, at 21.7 per cent of all fatal crashes, was a decrease of 1.2 per cent on 2014.

In 2015, crashes involving LCVs accounted for 262 road deaths, or 21 per cent of road deaths, down 3.7 per cent on 2014. 

But it does not continue, as shown by vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT).

"Deaths in crashes involving light commercial vehicles were down 5.0 per cent on the National Road Safety Strategy base period 2008–2010, significantly less than light passenger vehicle involved crashes (16.4 per cent)," BITRE states.

"While this is partly due to greater exposure (kilometres travelled by light commercial vehicles increased at almost five times the rate for light passenger vehicles between 2008 and 2015), the fatal crash rate for light commercial vehicles is still 17 per cent higher per billion VKT than for light passenger vehicles."

There was a significant reduction in light passenger vehicle driver fatality rates since 2008, from 3.1 to 2.3 deaths per billion VKT.

While fatality rates for light commercial vehicle drivers appear to have declined since 2008 the trend is less clear.

In 2014 and 2015, drivers of light commercial vehicles and light passenger vehicles had similar fatality rates (approximately 2.2 deaths per billion VKT).

LCVs involved in fatal crashes differ from light passenger vehicle fatal crashes as:

  • 90 per cent of drivers were male – 65 per cent for light passenger vehicle drivers
  • More than 60 per cent were in non-urban areas – 50 per cent for light passenger vehicle crashes
  • 55 per cent of crashes involve multiple vehicles – 40 per cent for light passenger vehicles
  • they are more likely to be head on or same direction, and less likely to be off path crashes.

LCVs account for more than 1 in 6 registered vehicles and almost 1 in 5 of total VKT.


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