18 March 2014
The European Parliament's Transport Committee has voted to change rules on lorry design to make them safer and greener.
The Transport Committee voted through measures that will allow more aerodynamic lorry design with reduced blind spots, crumple zone and features to make sure pedestrians and cyclists are not knocked underneath the wheels in a collision.
The decision could mean the end of the UK's characteristic brick-shaped lorries. The European Parliament is expected to require the new features to be standard on new lorries by 2022, but manufacturers will be free to introduce them before this time.
James MacColl, Campaigns Director, Campaign for Better Transport said
"This vote should signal the beginning of the end for brick-shaped lorries. Better cab design will help make lorries safer for other road users and allow them to be more aerodynamic and greener. It's good news for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists."
The Transport Committee vote also included measures concerning the movement of so-called ‘megatrucks’. MEPs rejected the European Commission’s proposal to allow the 25 metre-long road-trains to cross borders between countries. In line with campaigners' demands, MEPs have instead required the Commission to properly assesses the impact of wider megatrucks use and report back to Parliament in 2016.
The EU Transport Committee's vote needs to be confirmed by the plenary of the European Parliament in April. Here, member states are expected to come under intense industry pressure to block new rules with some lorry makers lobbying for new designs to be prohibited until 2025.
1. The current EU law on lorry dimensions defines cab size and shape, resulting in the current characteristic brick-shaped design. The new design flexibility would enable lorry makers to implement fuel-efficient measures such as better aerodynamics, which will make lorries cheaper to run and cut carbon emissions. For the first time, Parliament also called for the introduction of fuel efficiency standards for lorries.