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European Parliament votes for safer trucks

20th April 2014

Euractiv reports that on 15th April 2014, the European Parliament voted to approve a proposal to change the design of trucks in the EU, to make them safer, and more aerodynamic (and therefore more economical).  

The vote was on amendments, proposed by the European Commission, to an EU Directive on the maximum weight and dimensions for lorries. (The Directive was last amended in 1996). The changes would see the end of brick-shaped truck cabs, which result from the current rules. Truck manufacturers use the brick design because it allows more space for freight behind the cab.

The new truck design would have a more rounded cab, with bigger windows, which would give the truck driver a better view, and reduced blind spots. The rounded cabs would also incorporate a crumple zone, which could prevent cyclists and pedestrians being run over. The new design of the cab and the chassis would also be more aerodynamic, and would reduce fuel use by 7 to 10%. Trucks are responsible for 6% of all CO2 emitted in the EU, so there would be a significant reduction in emissions.

The new design would cost an extra €400 to €1500 per new truck, but the extra cost would be recouped in fuel savings in the first year.

The next step is for the Council of Ministers to adopt a position, probably in June 2014. There will then be negotiations between the Parliament and ministers, and it will be decided whether the new rules are to be optional or compulsory. It is likely to take at least five years before the new design becomes mandatory. 


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