Dear Mr Goodwill
Safer more aerodynamic lorry designs need EU go-ahead now In revision to Directive 96/53/EC The UK has been very supportive of enabling safer and cleaner lorry cabs so we are writing to ask you, in your role at the Council of Transport Ministers, to support changing this law to allow (but not mandate), more aerodynamic, safer lorry designs as soon as possible.
Both the Parliament and Commission want the new designs allowed by 2017/2018 which allows time for transposition into national laws. However, in its political agreement, the Council suggests new designs should be banned until at least 2023 which means they probably could not enter the market until 2025-2028. We understand that some member states, led by France and Sweden, are trying to delay the revised designs until after 2025 after pressure from certain truck manufacturers.
Hundreds more lives will be needlessly lost if the safer more aerodynamic HGV cab design which allows more direct vision to reduce blind spots and has a crumple zone to make sure pedestrians and cyclists are not knocked underneath the wheels in a collision, are delayed. In London, lorries were involved in over half of cyclists' deaths even though they only made up 5% of traffic in both 2011 and 2012.
I hope you will be able to push for a final agreement that does not allow a moratorium until 2023 on new lorry designs. Hauliers should have the choice to buy safer, more fuel efficient and more comfortable HGV cabs for their fleets.
Current EU rules on weights and dimensions of HGVs have indirectly restricted the length of cabins to 2.35m, which explains why European lorries have such blunt brick-shaped cabin fronts which affecting their aerodynamics and making them inefficient and dangerous in the event of a frontal crash. The revision of the weights and dimensions directive 96/53/EC is the enabling legislation to allow the extra dimensions in the cab to allow for the streamlined design, but also requires lorry makers to improve safety and in particular reduce blind spots.We believe that the specific safety requirements can be developed through committee procedure within the Vehicle Type Approval framework.
I believe that if the UK Government is serious about improving road safety it must push for this introduction of the new HGV cab designs now on a voluntary basis as soon as possible. MEPs are being asked to support this too.