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Megatrucks rejected, but 8 year wait for safer lorries

5 June 2014
EU transport ministers meeting in Brussels have voted to block the introduction of safer and more fuel efficient lorries for 8 years.

MEPs had proposed changes to rules on the lorry sizes. This would have allowed HGV makers to design more streamlined cabins with reduced blind spots and a crumple zone to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. But under pressure from France and Sweden, the Council including Britain decided to delay their introduction for at least eight years.

At the same meeting, Ministers did decide to reject a proposal to allow megatrucks to cross international borders.

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, Campaign for Better Transport said

"We need better, not bigger lorries. It's deplorable that European Transport ministers have put the interests of a few lorry makers above those of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users."

Philippa Edmunds continued

"It's good news that we're unlikely to see megatrucks here anytime soon. The European Parliament and Council agree these huge vehicles should not be allowed to cross between countries. These damaging and dangerous lorries have no place on UK roads."

William Todts, Senior Policy Officer, Transport & Environment, said

“Allowing rounder lorry cabs will not only make Europe’s roads safer, but cleaner too. Extending today’s ban on better cabs is a truly shameful decision because it puts the interests of a few manufacturers above those of everybody else. In the upcoming trilogue negotiations, the Parliament must insist that better lorry cabs are allowed straight away.”

Notes

1. Review of Lorry weights and dimensions directive 96/53 was discussed at the EU Transport Council meeting on 5 June. On the 15th April 2014, in the European Parliament Plenary Session, MEPs voted overwhelmingly to block further international use of mega trucks.

Current rules on weights and dimensions of lorries indirectly restrict the length of cabins to 2.35m, which explains why European lorries have such blunt cabin fronts. Longer and rounder cabins can save hundreds of lives and billions of litres of diesel per year.

2. The European Parliament previously voted to allow lorry makers to introduce safer lorries immediately, without forcing them to do so. Some lorry makers oppose changing the rules
Transport ministers decided to back lorry makers and block this enabling law for eight years: three years for the law to be transposed into national law and at least five years delay thereafter. The European Parliament, Council and Commission will now have to find a compromise in so-called trilogue negotiations before the final law can be adopted.

3. On so-called ‘megatrucks’ transport ministers rejected the Commission’s proposal to allow the cross-border use of longer lorries. A blocking minority of governments argued such an allowance could lead to a domino effect, where country after country would be pressured into accepting its neighbour's megatrucks. Members of the European Parliament had previously demanded that the Commission properly assesses the impact of wider megatrucks use and report back to Parliament in 2016 before deciding.

4. Lorries are involved in 51% of fatal collisions, even though they make up only 11% of UK motorway traffic.  TRA0104, Accident statistics Table RAS 30017, both DfT  published 2013 for 2012 figures. Lorries were involved in over half of all cyclist death in both 2011 and 2012 in London (DfT/TfL statistics)