France’s national Court of Auditors has been fiercely critical of the country’s government and MPs for allowing the French heavy goods ‘ecotax’ to be abandoned. The tax was first suggested as part of an exploration of environmental ideas in 2008 and approved by MPs in 2009, but in November it was abandoned after a series of protests. The Court of Auditors says that the decision was ‘a strategic failure’ and ‘a mess’ that will damage the public finances and the credibility of the country’s transport policy.
Eight governments are demanding new vehicle safety standards in order to diminish road deaths significantly. In a letter to EU internal market commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the governments, including Germany, France and Austria, call on the Commission to mandate safety measures such as direct vision to eradicate blind spots in the upcoming revision of the General Safety Regulation (GSR). Such measures would not only drastically improve truck safety but also boost the global competitiveness of European manufacturers, according to the alliance.
If done correctly, charging road users for their use of road infrastructure can contribute to the reduction of emissions from the transport sector. The European Commission is currently preparing its proposal for the review of the Eurovignette directive, which sets the parameters by which member states can toll roads. This revision provides an ample opportunity to link the Directive with Europe’s ambition to transition to low-emission mobility.
Transport ministers from eight countries have united to demand new EU-wide standards for vehicle safety. Safer vehicles, such as trucks with improved direct vision to eradicate blind spots, need to be rolled out fast, the governments – which include those of France, Germany and Italy – told internal market commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska in a letter. In 2015, 26,000 Europeans died in traffic accidents but the number of fatalities has stagnated since 2013 – despite the EU demanding that member states halve the number of road deaths by 2020.
Proposals to make lorries safer for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians have been announced by the European Commission. T&E has welcomed the basis for the new legislation, but says the Commission’s 2028 deadline for improved direct vision for trucks is too long and must be shortened.
The European Commission has outlined its plans for new car and truck safety rules. Under the Commission's plans new cars would be fitted with intelligent speed assistance and emergency braking systems. For trucks, the Commission plans to introduce the world's first-ever direct vision standard to tackle truck blind spots. The new rules will be proposed as legislation in the summer of 2017 and would apply to all vehicles sold in the European Union. T&E welcomes the Commission's plans but warns that direct vision trucks must hit the road well before 2028.
By William Todts, freight and climate directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: “So what did you learn in 2016? And could you write a blog about it?" asked our communications officer.Silence. My God, where do I start, I thought. First Brexit, then Trump, and before all that there were people bombed on the metro in my hometown. What a year! But I can't write a doom and gloom Christmas blog.Then somehow I started thinking about this one thing that had really surprised me. A year ago I was campaigning to get the EU to introduce truck CO2 standards and, frankly, things weren’t looking great. Yes, there had been the Paris agreement, but still the odds were stacked against us. The Commission just didn't want to budge and the truck industry seemed all-powerful.
The number of people dying on Europe’s roads nearly halved between 2000 and 2010. However, this spectacular progress has now grinded to a halt. In 2013, 4,000 people died on our roads. Since then until today fatality numbers have remained stable. For already several years the European Commission has promised to come up with a revision of the General Safety Regulation (GSR) which is completely outdated but so far nothing is on the table. Standards set in the GSR would apply to all new vehicles produced and sold in the EU. The GSR is therefore a key instrument to drive vehicle safety developments and accelerate market uptake of and investment in new lifesaving designs and technologies.
Campaigners in Poland believe they are close to persuading the government to expand the country’s road toll system for lorries. T&E’s Polish member Inspro is pushing for the existing system to become totally CO2-based – thereby discouraging the use of highly polluting lorries – and knows the Polish government is generally in favour of expanding road tolls, but it is still seeking the political will. The issue is important because the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Eurovignette directive next year could allow CO2-based tolling.