The European Commission has proposed new rules that would create a generation of lorries with superior environmental and safety credentials. But how? Today's lorries – like most modern vehicles - must be built within parameters, e.g. length of cabin. However, the current requirements were set thirty years ago when environmental efficiency and road safety were less prominent issues. The new rules would therefore enable manufacturers to build lorries that satisfy the needs of twenty-first century motorists. As such, their cabins would be longer to create space for curvaceous fronts rather than the current flat concepts. Furthermore, aerodynamic flaps could be fitted to the rears of trailers without breaching length requirements. The European Commission claims these rules would reduce the running costs of typical long-distance lorries over 100,000km by €5,000. These would also produce 7 to 10% less greenhouse gas than current equivalents.
European Transport Commissioner Comments
European Commission Vice-President and Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, said: “a brick is the least aerodynamic shape you can imagine - that's why we need to improve the shape of the lorries on our roads”. He continued: “These changes make road transport cleaner and safer. They will reduce hauliers' fuel bills and give European manufacturers a head-start in designing the truck of the future - a greener truck for the global market.”
New Lorries To Improve Road Safety
The proposed rules would make lorries safer too. Why? Because their curved noses – as well as improving fuel efficiency and cutting carbon emissions - would incorporate crumple zones to disperse energy during collisions. These would benefit both lorry drivers and those within the smaller vehicles they collide with. Pedestrians and cyclists should benefit too. As such, those struck by lorries with curved fronts would have a reasonable chance of being brushed to the side away from the vehicles. Those hit by today's lorries, in contrast, have a higher probability of being thrown backwards then driven over. The new rules would also give drivers a better view of the road courtesy of larger windscreens. These steps might significantly reduce lorry-related fatalities/injuries.
Road Safety Expert Comments
The European Federation of Road Traffic Victims President, Jeannot Mersch, said: “lorries have an infamous reputation when it comes to road safety, and rightly so. Currently, a frontal crash with a lorry is like hitting a brick wall”. The President added: “Design changes to the nose of the lorry cab will help to reduce severe injuries and save hundreds of lives each year. These improvements should be mandated for all lorries as soon as possible.”