EU ministers confirm eight year delay on safer lorry designs
CTC and other cycling and sustainable transport organisations wrote to the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, in May, urging him to support the proposed regulations. He supported the proposals but on June 5, EU ministers approved an eight year delay on introducing the life-saving measures.
The European Parliament had voted in favour of introducing the safer lorry designs straight away, but, under pressure from lorry manufacturers, Renault and Volvo, France and Sweden led the call for a long delay. Transport ministers decided to side with the lorry makers and support the eight year delay: three years for the law to be transposed plus a five year delay in introducing the new regulations.
During this time, up to 144 cyclists could die on Britain's roads in collisions with lorries.
The European Parliament, Commission and Council will now have to engage in negotiations before the final law can be adopted.
This is an absolute travesty. We are going to see many cyclists die in collisions with unsafe lorries before these measures come into force. Ministers had the chance to save innocent lives and they threw it away.
CTC's Road Safety Campaigner
New safety measures
The length of lorry cabins is currently restricted to 2.35 metres, which is why they have box-shaped fronts. However, the new changes to the weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins allow for longer and rounder cabins.
The increased space will allow for larger windscreens to be designed, which help to reduce 'blind-spots', while the new rounded shape will create a 'crumple zone' to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from being knocked under the vehicles' wheels. The rounded cabin shape will also increase the fuel-efficiency of lorries.
The positive news to come out of the Council of Ministers' meeting is that they rejected the European Commission's proposal to allow cross-border use of so-called 'megatrucks'. Such trucks present a serious danger to road users by creating even bigger blind spots and larger turning angles. MEPs had previously demanded that the European Commission conduct an assessment of the impact on longer lorries and report back to Parliament in 2016.