The European Parliament’s transport committee has voted overwhelmingly in support of proposals to improve the safety of heavy goods vehicles.
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.
Welcoming the news, Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said:
Europe is a global leader in vehicle safety. This vote brings us a step closer to bringing innovations on crumple zones, visibility and pedestrian protection to lorries; it’s great news.
According to ETSC data, around 4300 people died in collisions involving lorries in 2011. Because of their size and weight, crashes can be catastrophic with a much higher risk of death or serious injury.
A study carried out for the European Commission estimates that as many as 500 lives could be saved every year if the cabs were made safer.
From a safety point of view, a key issue is enabling the driver to see more of what is going on around the vehicle. At the moment, the driver eye-level is around 2 meters above the ground. That means cyclists or pedestrians passing directly in front of the vehicle are invisible. Lowering the eye-level and enlarging the windows and mirrors will help to eradicate this problem. Having a rounded front end will also help lorries deflect cars and help stop them from running over pedestrians.
MEPs also said today that there should be no change to the current rules that prevent so-called longer and heavier lorries, from crossing borders in Europe, a decision also supported by ETSC.
The proposed rules now need to be agreed with EU member states and are subject to a vote by the European Parliament plenary.
Notes to editors
– See ETSC’s briefing on lorry weights and dimensions
– For further background data on collisions involving HGVs, see ETSC’s latest Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) report.
– European Commission impact assessment study on the proposals.