EU to end brick-shaped truck cabs – saving lives and carbon emissions

MEPs have today passed a law that will literally change the face of trucks in Europe – from brick-shaped cabs to rounder ones. Transport & Environment (T&E), which campaigned for the reform, said the new truck designs will save lives, carbon emissions and fuel. Today’s vote in the European Parliament follows agreement this morning between governments and MEPs on a ‘direct vision’ safety standard that will also enhance truck safety.

Images courtesy of PEM Motion GmbH

Truck manufacturers will be able to lengthen the design of cabs by 80-90cm, but only if they use the space to provide better vision from the driver’s seat, improve aerodynamics, add new safety features and boost driver comfort. As a result, new truck cab designs in Europe are expected to include larger windscreens to see cyclists and pedestrians and have more streamlined bodies to reduce fuel use and pollution. The curved cabs should also better deflect pedestrians and cyclists in collisions – so that they do not go under the truck wheels.

James Nix, freight director at T&E, said: “This reform is a win-win for industry and the public. The truck of the future will be sleeker, reducing fuel bills and emissions. It will also be safer through better driver vision of cyclists and pedestrians in particular. And truck drivers themselves will have more in-cab comforts.”

Currently, 4,000 people die in truck-related incidents on Europe's roads every year. Trucks are just 2% of vehicles on the road but are involved in 15% of fatalities. Around 1,000 of these deaths are cyclists and pedestrians. The reforms will also reduce trucks' carbon emissions and fuel bills up to 5% in long-haul trucks (or up to 10% when combined with the newest engines and tyres).[1]

The newly-designed trucks will be allowed on Europe's roads from 1 September 2020. However, European truck manufacturers have given no indication of when they will start producing these safer and cleaner models that will both save lives and save fuel for their customers.

James Nix concluded: “The next question is how soon manufacturers will take advantage of the EU’s new design blueprint. The EU has rolled out the red carpet for the next generation of truck cabs. If European truckmakers don’t deliver them, then US and Asian manufacturers will. The race is on.”

Note to editors:

[1] International Council on Clean Transportation, Fuel consumption testing of tractor trailers in the European Union and the United States (2018). https://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/EU_HDV_Testing_...


Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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