Lorries with potentially safer and more aerodynamic cabs could be on European roads as early as next year, following an EU agreement to bring forward new rules on the maximum dimensions of heavy goods vehicles.
Flat-fronted lorries have been the norm in Europe for decades due to the way in which the length of vehicles was regulated. The combined overall length of the cab and trailer was restricted by law, leading to most space being used for cargo and the shortest possible length used for the cab. A study by FKA Aachen carried out in 2011 for the sustainable transport campaigners Transport & Environment concluded that the optimum additional length for a safer and more aerodynamic cab would be 80cm.
Legislation agreed in 2014 allowed for such an 80cm longer cab but only from 2022.
As the standard is optional, there was no reason to justify a seven-year delay to its introduction, which came following pressure from lorry-producing countries that feared their manufacturers could be left behind in the race to offer the new designs.
In a welcome agreement reached earlier this month the EU institutions agreed to bring forward the changes to allow the new designs from next year.