Cube-shaped trucks will soon belong to the past: EP paved the way for round-shaped designs offering better aerodynamics and a better view for the driver. 

The House approved rules on Tuesday that allow manufacturers to increase the length of lorry cabs if this improves road safety and environmental performance. These rules were agreed informally by the Italian Council Presidency and Parliament negotiators last December.

The changes to the Weights and Dimensions Directive (1996) approved by Parliament allow manufacturers to use new designs for lorries, which may exceed current weight and length limits if they improve overall environmental and safety performance.

Improving road safety and fuel efficiency

  • more rounded lorry cabs would increase the driver's field of vision making it easier to see vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, and reduce drag;
  • a deflective shape would reduce the impact of collision;
  • an additional weight allowance (up to 1 tonne) for alternative fuel powertrains/engines would encourage take-up of greener technologies;
  • aerodynamic flaps added at the rear of the lorry would help cut fuel consumption and emissions.

Other improvements

  • more efficient freight transport: an additional length allowance (15cm) for the intermodal transport of 45-foot standard containers would ease goods deliveries using several modes of transport;
  • stricter enforcement of weight limits and better information for the driver: member states should take specific measures to identify vehicles that are likely to have exceeded the relevant weight limits; data in on-board weight sensors should also be made available to the driver.

Further review to react to market changes

The new rules also provide for the Commission to review the directive three years after national rules are in place.

Entry into force

Member states have to put relevant national rules in place within two years of the entry into force of the revised directive. The rules for cab design enter into force three years after relevant safety rules for putting newly designed lorries on the market have been adopted. The Commission intends to propose the latter “type-approval” rules by 2016. Rules for larger lorries remain unchanged.

Next steps

The text now has to be formally approved by the Council of the European Union.


Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure, 2st reading agreement