‘Megatrucks’ fears delay Parliament lorry safety vote

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Source: Transport and Environment (T&E)

The European Parliament’s transport committee has postponed a vote that had been scheduled for today on design rules of lorries. The proposed design changes would make lorry cabs slightly longer, enabling a rounded, aerodynamic nose as well as great improvements to driver’s visibility and lorry crash performance. These changes have been delayed due to disagreements over whether to allow so-called ‘megalorries’ [1] to cross national borders. The committee vote has been postponed until 18 March.
A vote on 18 March leaves very little time to finalise the file in time for the last plenary session of the current Parliament on 14 April. Without a plenary vote, the views of the current transport committee would not be taken into account.

Reacting on the delay, William Todts, policy officer at T&E, said: 'The proposed changes to lorry design would be revolutionary. Lorries would become much safer, saving hundreds of lives but they’d also burn less diesel, making this a very attractive proposition for hauliers. We need safer and cleaner lorries now, not in the far future. ”

The Parliament rapporteur, Joerg Leichtfried, as well as the chair of the transport committee, Brian Simpson, this morning reassured MEPs they still intended to finalise the dossier before the elections.

“It’s the 11th hour and MEPs have a tremendous responsibility. Failure to adopt the lorry design changes now would lead to years of delay and avoidable fatalities on Europe’s roads,” William Todts concluded.

Lorries represent just 3% of the vehicle fleet in the EU but they cause 25% of road transport emissions, and are involved in 15% of fatal crashes, which kill 4,200 people annually.

Two weeks ago, a coalition of 130 mayors, trade unions, cyclists’ organisations, hauliers’ association, green and safety campaigners asked MEPs to seize this once-in-a-generation chance to enforce life, and fuel-saving lorry designs.

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