Press release

Blind-spot mirrors to be retrofitted to older lorries

Transport - 10-05-2007 - 12:16
Plenary sessions
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Parliament adopted today a first-reading report approving with amendments a Commission draft directive calling for blind-spot mirrors to be "retrofitted" to heavy lorries which have been in operation since 2000. The deadline will be 31 March 2009. Each year, 400 Europeans - many of them children on bikes - are killed when lorry drivers changing direction at a crossing or roundabout fail to see them in a blind spot around the vehicle.

Under a 2003 EU directive, new lorries must be equipped with blind-spot mirrors from 2007 onwards. However, at current replacement rates, the EU population of some 5 million lorries (not counting those owned in Romania and Bulgaria) would not be entirely replaced until 2023. Until then, the danger to vulnerable road users, particularly children, would continue.
The European Commission in this latest directive has therefore proposed retrofitting such mirrors to older lorries as well, i.e. those registered since 1 January 2000.  
Parliament, in adopting a report drafted by Paolo COSTA (ALDE, IT) endorsed the Commission's plans with amendments.
Parliament voted for the retrofitting exercise to be accompanied by awareness-raising campaigns about the dangers of blind spots on heavy goods vehicles, including information aimed at vulnerable road users. Light goods vehicles and buses are not covered by the directive but MEPs called for this question to be reviewed in future.
Parliament also voted for the Commission to gather data from Member States with a view to devising a future strategy on blind-spot accidents.   
MEPs do not anticipate any practical problem in retrofitting lorries registered since 2000. The estimated cost would be € 100 - 150 per vehicle,  i.e. the cost of one stop at a petrol station, but this measure could save up to 1,200 lives in Europe by 2020.  Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark already have national retrofitting schemes.
Vehicles "operated mainly for their historical interest" will be exempted from these rules.
Parliament's amendments were the fruit of compromises between the EPP-ED, PES, ALDE and Greens/EFA groups and this co-decision legislation is now expected to be concluded at first reading.
REF.: 20070507IPR06401