The £57m yearly cost of foreign lorry accidents
A report by Accident Exchange has estimated that accidents involving foreign lorries on UK motorways are costing the economy £57,000,000 per year - prompting further calls for a road charge for foreign drivers.
The Government is currently considering a £10 per day or £1,000 per year levy for foreign lorry drivers, aimed at recouping some of the money they cost the economy.
But it will only generate an estimated £23m annually from 2016 - not even half the estimated cost of 2011's accidents. And the number is on the rise...
One of every 31 motorway accidents dealt with by Accident Exchange in 2011 was the fault of a foreign lorry driver - an increase of almost one third compared to 2010's rate.
Foreign lorries are responsible for just over 3% of all motorway accidents, with almost 40% of those taking place on the M25.
'Side swipe' crashes are the most common, in which drivers 'disappear' into a left-hand drive lorry's blind spot and are hit when it changes lanes.
The average repair bill for accidents involving foreign lorries is £2,300, although almost half of all cars involved end up being classified as insurance write offs. In a significant 28% of accidents dealt with by Accident Exchange last year, the costs weren't recovered from the at fault foreign party.
Steve Evans of Accident Exchange said: "Foreign-registered HGVs remain one of the most difficult 'at fault' parties to recover costs from. Issues motorists face include invalid insurance policies; untraceable owners; drivers leaving false details or just failing to pull over at all.
"The proposed charge of £10 daily, or £1000 annually, might redress some of the financial impact caused from foreign lorry collisions, but we're not sure it will solve the root problem of left-hand HGV drivers just not being aware of vehicles around them."