The European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee today backed safer ‘direct vision’ trucks and buses , amongst a dozen new life-saving measures for cars, vans, buses and trucks. The new direct vision standard will drastically reduce deadly blindspots, enabling truck and bus drivers to see more of the road around the vehicle, thus preventing accidents with cyclists and pedestrians. The European federation of green NGOs, Transport & Environment, welcomes the vote but stresses the urgency of wrapping up this law before European Parliamentary elections in May. Failing to reach a deal before this Parliament mandate would mean another 18 months wasted to save lives.
Some 97% of Spain’s population is being exposed to harmful levels of air pollution, a report by T&E’s Spanish member Ecologistas en Acción shows. The economic recovery has brought an increase in the use of diesel for cars, airplane jet fuel, and coal to generate electricity. The main source of pollution in urban areas, where most of the population lives, is road traffic.
The way trucks are designed and configured has a major impact on what truck drivers are able to see from their cab (direct vision). A new study by Loughborough Design School (LDS) has analysed the direct vision and blind spots of top selling trucks in all vehicle categories (long-haul, construction, urban). The study shows that there are large differences between best and worst-in-class performance.
CO2 standards for new vehicles have been proven to work and new targets should be introduced for 2025 and 2030, a report for the European Parliament’s transport committee has said. The limited quantities of available biofuels are also highlighted, while the shift to electric vehicles is ‘inevitable’.
New research has suggested that investing in public and low-emission transport could bring massive financial savings in addition to making a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.
The European Commission has developed a test procedure called VECTO to measure CO2 emissions from new trucks and buses. The VECTO test procedure is a simulation tool that aims to provide truck buyers with accurate fuel consumption information. The details of the test procedure are currently being discussed in a DG GROWTH expert committee and the final legislative proposal is expected in mid-2016. In this submission, T&E advocates a truck CO2 test procedure that is reliable, transparent and easy to use for third parties. T&E also demands that the VECTO simulation results be verified through a form of testing for real-world compliance.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over claims it is exceeding limits on air pollution from traffic. Britain has two months to respond to the case that it breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which cause breathing and other health problems.