New EU rules for safer and more eco-friendly lorries
Last week the European Parliament gave its final approval to new EU rules for safer and more eco-friendly lorries (Directive 2013/0195), put forward by the Commission.
These rules will allow manufacturers to develop more aerodynamic lorries which will reduce fuel consumption by 7-10%, cut emissions of greenhouse gases, and also enhance road safety.
Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said [10 March 2015]: "Today's final backing by the European Parliament is a significant achievement, which takes us one step closer to having better lorries on our roads. This will lead to fewer emissions and casualties on our roads and lower fuel costs for hauliers. It will also allow the industry to produce new lorries and to remain competitive on the global market. Today's vote will pave the way for Member States to reach a final agreement, so that society can start to reap the benefits of these new rules."
The new rules will bring a number of important benefits:
► Better road safety: The current "brick shape" front of the cabin can increase the severity of injury to road users in a collision. It also reduces the driver's field of vision. This is particularly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians at junctions. A more rounded shape increases the field of vision and in the event of a low-speed collision – typically in an urban environment – reduces the risk of serious injury. Up to one third of controlled vehicles are overloaded, causing damage to roads and compromising safety. On-board weighing systems linked to the digital tachograph and weigh-in-motion stations on main roads will allow for more consistent checks from country to country. The overweighting of lorries is estimated to cost €950 million per year to the taxpayer.
► Better environmental performance:In the EU, transport relies on oil and oil products for about 96% of its energy needs. Improved vehicle aerodynamics will reduce the fuel consumption of long-distance road haulage by 7–10%, makeing a significant economic and environmental contribution. For hauliers, this will allow savings of approximately €5,000 per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance lorry covering 100,000 km. In addition, the rules allow for additional weight specifically to allow the use of heavier batteries required by alternative propulsion systems (hybrid, electric) for lorries and coaches. However, the loading capacity of lorries will not change.
► More innovation and industrial opportunities for vehicle manufacturers: European heavy vehicle manufacturers are market leaders and the sector is one of the largest corporate investors in research and development. New aerodynamic cabins and rear flaps will be an opportunity for manufacturers to develop new models, which will support job creation and economic growth in Europe.
► Promoting intermodal transport:Red tape will be reduced allowing 45-foot containers to be switched more easily between ship, road and rail.
The specific safety rules for new truck designs need to be developed in a separate vehicle safety legislation (Regulation 661/2009). A proposal to amend this law will be made by 2016.
2015 Formal adoption of new lorry dimension rules
2016 Commission proposal to develop safety rules for redesigned lorries
2019-2020 Finalisation of safety rules (co-decision + implementation)
2021-2022 End of 3-year moratorium – safer lorries allowed
source: European Commission