MEPs close to outlawing deadly blind-spots in trucks

The proposed EU law to reduce deadly blind spots for truck and bus drivers is almost approved, but it must wait for the new European Parliament before completing its legislative passage. Once approved by the 2019-24 Parliament, the law will modernise truck design to allow drivers to see more of the road, including pedestrians and cyclists, and thereby reduce road deaths and injuries.

In another first, Europe also agreed a ‘direct vision’ standard for trucks in 2019, along with design changes to enable truck-makers build safer and more aerodynamic cabs.

More than 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists die in Europe every year in collisions with trucks and buses and many more are seriously injured, yet over half of such fatalities could be avoided if drivers could just see more of the road around their vehicles.

On 16 April, MEPs voted by 578 to 30 in favour of the law. This would normally complete the regulation’s passage through the EU legislative process, but the text that was approved had not yet been checked by lawyer linguists. It means the new parliament to be elected over the weekend of 25-26 May will need to vote again once the verified text is ready.

T&E’s transport safety officer Sam Kenny said: ‘This measure will prevent deaths simply because drivers will have direct sight of pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. Truckmakers will be obliged to design new trucks so that they can actually see more of what’s happening on the road around them. Because everyone stands to gain from this, we sincerely hope the new parliament will approve the revised law without delay, as it was only the linguistic/legal process that stopped it completing its passage. To lose more lives because of an unnecessary hold-up would be irresponsible.’

The approved text will force truckmakers to improve direct vision on all newly introduced models from 2025, and then on all new vehicles from 2028. The automotive industry wanted later introduction dates, while road safety campaigners said direct vision cabs should be obligatory sooner.