The Permanent Representatives Committee of the EU Council is fast-tracking the introduction of longer, more aerodynamic lorry cabs to improve fuel consumption and road safety.
The committee agreed yesterday that the presidency of the EU could begin negotiations with the European Parliament to potentially amend the directive concerning the maximum length for heavy goods vehicles. The amendment would bring forward introduction of lorry cabs which are longer and more rounded than those currently used.
Lorries whose front cabs are long and rounded, rather than short and cuboid, consume less fuel than traditionally shaped vehicles due to the lessened impact of air drag; leading to reductions in both fuel costs for operators and the carbon emissions produced on roads. Rounded, aerodynamic lorry cabs provide drivers with improved comfort and visibility, leading to an increase in road safety for lorry drivers and other road users. Due to current EU restrictions on the length of goods vehicles, fleet operators planning to introduce aerodynamic cabs must reduce the amount of space allotted to cargo to compensate.
The amendment agreed by the committee allows for a derogation of the length restrictions set out in the current directive to enable operators to introduce aerodynamic cabs into their fleets. Rovana Plumb, Romania’s acting Minister for Transport and President of the Council, said: “A more streamlined cab design will lead to fuel savings, reduce emissions and help save lives. Bringing its introduction forward is a very targeted and welcome amendment to the current rules.”
The amendment acknowledges changes in the needs of the market and developments in transport technology; and emphasises that the European Commission should allow the derogation of current length restrictions to come into effect as soon as possible, in order to ensure the “smooth and swift entry” into the market of newer, more streamlined cabs.
The final text of the amended directive must be agreed upon by the European Parliament and Council before it can come into effect.