Some delivery trucks have blind spots up to 1.9 metres even though the best in their class have virtually none and could save hundreds of pedestrian and cyclists’ lives , according to the latest study by the Loughborough Design School. It finds huge differences in the direct vision – what drivers can see with their own eyes – of best and worst-in-class trucks in all categories, and that ‘low-entry cabs’ like the Mercedes Econic out perform all of today’s best performing vehicles.
In the light of discussion on a new test procedure for truck CO2 emissions (VECTO), this study commissioned by T&E compares the test procedures in the US and EU to measure the aerodynamic resistance of trucks and what tolerances can be used. The research concludes that the 10% tolerance currently discussed for VECTO should clearly be adjusted downwards and therefore suggests a maximum tolerance of 5%.
Trucks are less than 5% of all road vehicles but emit around 30% of road transport CO2 emissions in the EU. Also in Germany heavy duty trucks and buses account for 30% of road CO2 emissions and this is projected to grow during the coming decades.
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.
The German state of Schleswig-Holstein says it will pioneer a 6km stretch of electronic highway by the end of 2018. As part of its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of goods being transported by road, it says it will dedicate part of the A1 motorway between Reinfeld and Lübeck to be used by lorries powered by electricity via overhead cables.
Fears that a new diesel emissions scandal is already happening across much of Europe have resurfaced following a documentary on German television. The scandal is believed to involve around 20% of lorries operating from eastern Europe, and is generating around 14,000 tonnes of additional nitrogen oxides, making it twice the size of the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal in the US that involved the German carmaker Volkswagen.
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.