An 80cm longer cab with a rounded nose, smaller dashboard, expanded glazed areas and a slightly lower driver position could drastically reduce fatal blind spots  around the lorry cab, a new study by the Loughborough Design School  reveals. The ‘Direct Vision’ lorry concept would increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50% compared to today’s lorry designs and could save hundreds of cyclists’ and pedestrians’ lives.
Lorries are involved in 4,200 fatal accidents in Europe every year. Many of the fatalities are vulnerable road users such as cyclists or pedestrians. Poor driver vision and lorry blind spots are a major cause of accidents. Unlike passenger cars, there are no direct vision requirements for lorries and regulators have instead focused on mirrors to reduce blind spots.
The EU is currently discussing its climate and energy policy for 2030. As part of these discussions German carmakers have been advocating the inclusion of road transport emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Some countries like Denmark also support the idea, although for different reasons. This briefing explains why transport’s inclusion in the ETS would delay emissions reductions in transport, undermine more effective climate policies for transport, and weaken the ETS and increase costs.
The European Commission has proposed to allow lorry makers to produce slightly longer cabs on the condition that they are shown to be safer and more aerodynamic. Existing lorry cab designs are dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists because of their flat front and many blind spots. The Commission refrained from setting a specific length limit and wants to define this through comitology (meetings with member states and the Commission). This T&E note looks at the different length options for safer lorries.
Measures that limit the movement of cars in urban areas actually attract public support – if they are understood.
The question of how to tax transit traffic fairly under EU rules is likely to come to the fore after the German transport minister announced a new road toll aimed at non-German vehicles driving on German roads.
The Commission’s proposed new lorry carbon dioxide strategy lacks decisive action to reduce the sector’s growing emissions in Europe, green transport campaigners have said. Under the plan, lorry CO2 emissions would be measured, certified and reported in the hope that increased transparency will accelerate improvements.
France’s Assemblée Nationale approved a scaled-down toll for lorries, which will do little to improve logistics efficiency as well as lorries’ environmental and health impacts. The decision goes against a wider trend of expanding or introducing ambitious lorry km-charging schemes in other countries like Germany, Poland, Austria and Belgium.
The Commission is consulting on whether EU rules on combined transport are working or need updating. Combined transport – which is generally taken to mean freight movements that are largely by rail or water but with the start and end by road – is regulated by an EU directive dating from 1992. It aims to promote combined transport through reducing restrictions, eliminating authorisation procedures, and offering financial support through fiscal incentives for certain combined transport operations.
EU transport ministers decided today to delay changes to the weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins, which would allow safer and more fuel efficient lorries to be produced . Under Franco-Swedish pressure, ministers regrettably agreed to ban the introduction of safer and cleaner lorry cabs from Europe’s roads for at least eight years. In a more positive note, ministers rejected a proposal to allow megatrucks to cross borders.