An EU ruling means we could soon see the end of brick-shaped lorries on our motorways in a bid to improve both safety and efficiency.
Currently, EU law dictates the dimensions of lorries – so cabins are shaped like a brick with little thought towards pedestrian safety or aerodynamics.
Research suggests that a lorry with a rounder front end could improve fuel economy by up to 10%. The benefits could be significant: while only accounting for 3% of vehicles on European roads, lorries emit a quarter of Europe’s road transport emissions.
The safety figures are just as shocking with lorries being involved in 15% of all fatal collisions every year, resulting in around 4,200 deaths. A new, more pedestrian-friendly front end would add crumple zones reducing fatalities.
While the European Parliament has voted for the decision to change regulations on lorry dimensions, it needs to be approved by the 28 EU member states before it becomes law. These states are under pressure from lorry makers to block the new regulations, as many feel they’d put them at a disadvantage over competitors.
Clean vehicles officer at Transport & Environment, William Todts, said: “This vote brings the end of the brick-shaped cab closer. It’s a key decision that will reduce road deaths and kick-start progress on lorry CO2 emissions after 20 years of stagnation.”
He added: “Giving lorry makers extra cab space in return for life-saving and fuel-efficient features is a no-brainer. Europe’s governments shouldn’t let vested interests trump common sense.”
If the vote is backed by member states, lorry makers will be able to improve designs straight away. The European Parliament is calling for the new safety features to be compulsory for all new lorries by 2022.