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European Parliament Transport Committee sends out strong message to improve safety through truck design

18 March 2014

The Transport Committee in the European parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of increasing safety requirements for lorry cab design. The revised rules on lorry dimensions will allow for cabs with improved visibility, especially important for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas.

After delaying the vote by a month, MEP’s have reached an agreement on the European Commission’s proposal to amend the Weights and Dimensions directive. Polis welcomes the Transport Committee’s text which has included mandatory requirements, specifically mentions that the cab design must guarantee better vision for the drivers with bigger windscreens, a deflecting ‘round nose’ to throw cyclists to the side and crumple zones’ or shock absorbers. The proposal also includes a clear timeline for the adoption of these safety requirements (7 years), introducing a mandatory element.

This new design will help prevent accidents notably for vulnerable road users. Cyclists are particularly exposed to serious injuries involving HGVs in towns. In London alone, 9 of the 14 cyclist deaths between 2008 and 2012 were caused by HGVs.

Changes to the cabin design may also help make HGVs cleaner. The draft rules would allow truck cabins to be made longer if designed to cut emissions, e.g. by improving aerodynamics. MEPs also said today that there should be no change to the current rules that prevent so-called longer and heavier lorries (Megatrucks), from crossing borders in Europe.

Polis is working to make sure that the safety aspects of lorry cab design is properly addressed. After signing a joint declaration with London and a number of organizations which was presented at a press conference in Brussels end of January 2014, Polis has supported the amendments to make safety the central element of the European Parliament’s proposal. Polis wishes to see this reflected in the debate in Council.

The changes will be voted in the European Parliament’s Plenary on 13 April before the text goes to the Council for discussion.

Joint Declaration: Safer, cleaner lorries now!

For more information, contact Cleo Davies: cdavies@polisnetwork.eu

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