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  • Safer and more aerodynamic lorries on the way

    The Commission has given a hint of its forthcoming draft directive on weights and dimensions that will be published early next year. It says the guiding principle behind it will be fuel efficiency, and T&E has welcomed what is likely to be a boost for lorries that are safer and cleaner.


    Commission officials gave an indication of its content to the German transport magazine Verkehrsrundschau. It seeks to remove bureaucratic obstacles to the development of intermodal transport, and to encourage the use of more aerodynamic lorries, but it does not address the issue of ‘megatrucks’. The transport commissioner Siim Kallas believes his ‘reinterpretation’ of the rules on cross-border use of 25-metre trucks earlier this year has solved the issue, but MEPs dispute this.

    According to the officials, the Commission seems to be moving towards allowing slightly longer lorries for two reasons: for trailers to have aerodynamic ‘tails’ which can reduce emissions by 5-8%, and for the cab to make the fronts of lorries rounder. Rounder cabs would be more aerodynamic, cutting emissions by 3-5%, but would also incorporate safer design to help save hundreds of lives every year.

    The draft directive would allow for aerodynamic devices to be fitted on the back of trailers but does not yet specify the new rules for the front. The idea appears to be for these to be designed in cooperation with lorry makers after the new law is adopted.

    T&E lorries officer William Todts said: ‘Lorries need to become safer and cleaner, so we welcome the focus on improving aerodynamics and safety. But we’d like to see more concrete proposals for the lorry front, to make sure they’re well designed to both save lives and cut emissions. Clarity is needed now, so that manufacturers can start producing much-needed smarter lorries sooner rather than later.’