Draft truck design rule changes, to allow designers to make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists and improve bodywork streamlining to cut pollutant emissions, were backed by Transport Committee MEPs on Tuesday. The rules would allow designs to exceed current maximum length and weight limits in order to improve performance in these areas.

"The draft rules would allow designers to put better trucks on the road that improve road safety and reduce environmental damage. On the issue of ‘megatrucks’ Parliament has always asked the European Commission for a proper impact assessment. By deleting the parts of the legislative proposal on cross-border circulation for longer vehicles, we reinforce this position. The Commission will be asked to review the situation and report back to the Parliament and the Council by 2016", said lead MEP Jörg Leichtfried (S&D, AT).

The draft rules would allow truck cabins to be made longer if designed to cut emissions, e.g. by improving aerodynamics; or to prevent accidents, e.g. by reducing blind spots or making the cab more rounded to push people clear, so that they are not run over.

Aerodynamic flaps up to 50 cm wide would be allowed at the rear of the truck to reduce drag and emissions. To encourage the use of less polluting motors, many of which are heavier and hence less commercially attractive than traditional ones, trucks and busses with low-carbon alternatives, could exceed the current maximum weight by up to one tonne, depending on the weight of the alternative system.

Boost for „intermodal“ transport

The draft rules would also allow trucks for use in combined road-rail or road-ship transport operations to be made 15 cm longer, to make it easier to load standard 45-foot containers.

Next steps

The changes are to be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole on 15 April.

Procedure: Co-decision, first reading