Eight year wait for safer lorry cabs

18 cyclists die a year in the UK in lorry crashes
Representatives of EU Member States have agreed to delay the introduction of safer lorry cabins for eight years.

Representatives of EU Member States today reached an agreement on changing the regulations of weights and dimensions of lorry cabins.

The provisional agreement sets a delay of eight years before redesigned lorry cabs can be driven on Europe’s roads, even though design changes could save hundreds of lives and billions of litres of diesel fuel every year.

UK and European Parliament support

Under the Commission’s original proposal, the maximum allowed length of lorry cabs would be extended, enabling lorry makers to introduce life-saving designs such as larger windscreens to reduce blind-spots, straight away if they choose to, without being forced to do so. The European Parliament voted to allow the safer designs immediately.

CTC is glad the UK government supported the European Parliament's position, even though there was insufficient backing from other member states to prevent the delay. 

CTC and seven other organisations sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, urging him to oppose any delay and over 700 CTC supporters emailed the Transport Secretary. 

Lorry lobby

The call for a long delay was led by France and Sweden in an effort to shield national lorry makers Renault and Volvo, and was adopted despite opposition from other countries including the UK, Germany and Denmark.

Even though UK support was not enough to prevent the delay of new regulations, we would like to thank everyone who wrote to the Transport Secretary urging him to support safer lorry designs

Rhia Weston
Road Safety Campaigner
CTC, the national cycling charity

The delay includes a five year moratorium on introducing the new law and a three year transposition period. 

Roughly 18 cyclists die a year in the UK in collisions with lorries.

This means that in the time it will take for safer lorry cabs to be introduced, 144 cyclists might be avoidably killed on UK roads.

Across the EU, 4250 people die a year in lorry-related incidents. 

The agreement will now be presented to European ministers for their approval at the Transport Council on 5 June.

William Todts, senior policy officer at the European Federation for Transport and Environment, said “Calling for a delay to an enabling law, which would make Europe’s lorries safer and cleaner, is absurd because it prevents those who are ready to do the right thing. The French, Swedish and any other governments supporting this delay are putting the interests of their manufacturers’ above the well-being of pedestrians and cyclists whose lives could be saved.”

“Europe’s transport ministers must reject any delay of safer, cleaner lorries. It is unthinkable that they could put their signatures to a document which will effectively mean more preventable deaths on Europe’s roads, higher fuel bills and more climate changing emissions,” Todts concluded.