Safer Lorry Design Rules Approved by MEPs

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New rules to make the roads safer by modifying the design of lorries were passed this week by the European Parliament. As a company that strives to keep vehicles as safe as possible when out on the road, with expert truck maintenance and repair services, we welcome legislation that will lead to improved safety and reduced accidents. So, what will the new rules mean to the industry?

Aerodynamic Cabs

MEPs voted overwhelmingly to end the current ‘brick-like’ shape of lorries, which leads to blind spots that can be fatal for cyclists and pedestrians. Instead, new lorries will have a streamlined, longer cab with a sloping nose, similar to the design of high-speed trains. The new rules will mean that lorries have bigger windows to give better visibility for drivers. Statistics show that around 4,300 people die annually in accidents involving lorries and heavy-goods vehicles, accounting for 18% of fatal accidents in the EU.

Cost Implications

Industry estimates indicate that the new rules will increase the cost of a lorry by up to 1,500 Euros. The new design will make cabs far more aerodynamic though, which will in turn lead to better fuel efficiency and result in savings that could offset these costs. The change in shape will also lead to reduced emissions, which will mean further cost reductions. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association have criticised the new legislation, as they believe it does not take into account the long lead-time needed for research and development into new cab design.

What Happens Now?

While politicians have backed the new proposals, with only 88 MEPs voting against and 570 for, the new design features now need to be approved by the governments of the 28 member states and made into national law, which can take up to two years. They will not become compulsory until 2022, seven years after the EU directive takes effect. Some in the UK, including London’s Mayor and keen cyclist, Boris Johnson, believe that the British Government may oppose the changes, but others, including the Liberal Democrat MEP, Phil Bennion, predict that the proposals will receive Government approval later this year.

No matter how long the new rules take to filter through to manufacturers, you can be certain that Mobile Fleet Support will be fully prepared to carry out modifications to help you comply with any new legislation, whether to a whole fleet or to a single vehicle. Our expert and skilled professionals are fully qualified to work on any size and shape of vehicle, so don’t hesitate to call us on 01582 432007 to discuss any maintenance, repairs or modifications that you require.