End to deadly truck blindspots now in sight

A new law to drastically reduce deadly blindspots in trucks and buses came a step closer when MEPs signed off on a ‘direct vision’ requirement. It would see new heavy-duty vehicles being designed so that drivers can see more of the road around them, including pedestrians and cyclists.

The EU’s first ever direct vision requirement was backed by the European Parliament’s internal market committee last week. It would apply to newly-introduced truck models from 2024, and then all new trucks from 2027.

Research clearly shows that trucks with low-entry cabs, which many European manufacturers already make, have excellent direct vision and prevent road fatalities. 1,000 cyclists and pedestrians die every year in truck collisions. The European Commission found that improving the direct-vision performance of trucks would save up to 550 lives per year.

MEPs are now likely to enter into negotiations with EU governments and the Commission on 14 March. T&E welcomed the vote but stressed the urgency of wrapping up this law before European Parliament elections in May. Failing to reach a deal before the end of this Parliament’s mandate would mean another wasted 18 months when lives could have been saved.

T&E’s transport safety officer, Samuel Kenny, said: ‘This key vote moves us one step closer to safer roads for all Europeans. The Parliament brought forward the implementation of this key safety feature and improved it. Truckmakers will have to remove the blindspots in front of the driver seat and significantly reduce the blindspots through the side windows. This is good for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and will help EU countries save lives on their roads.’

Trucks account for about 2% of vehicles on the road but represent 15% of fatalities. The EU has the exclusive competence to mandate safety improvements for new cars, vans, buses and trucks. The last new safety requirements date back to 2009 and their review and update were long overdue.

For the past two years, several institutions and governments, including 18 major European cities and eight EU countries led by Germany, Italy and France, have demanded direct vision standards for trucks.