A longer, more aerodynamic cab with better vision for lorry drivers could save the lives of hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians, according to academics at Loughborough University’s Design School.
The proposed new cab, 80cm longer with a rounded nose, smaller dashboard, expanded glazed areas, and a slightly lower driver position, could “drastically reduce” blind spots around the lorry.
The ‘Direct Vision’ lorry concept would increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50% compared to today’s lorry designs and could save the lives of cyclists and pedestrians.
That’s the major finding of a study by Dr Steve Summerskill and Dr Russell Marshall, from the Loughborough Design School, which was commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) and Transport & Environment (T&E).
Dr Summerskill, project lead, said: “Blind spots can be a significant factor in fatal accidents. The study shows that the size of these blind spots can be minimised through improved cab design, the reduction of cab height and the addition of extra windows.
“This is a key moment in the definition of truck design legislation at the European level. Our work is being used to demonstrate that improvements to vehicle aerodynamics must go hand in hand with improvements that allow heavy goods vehicle drivers to have improved vision of vulnerable road users around the vehicle.”
William Todts, senior policy officer at T&E, said: “Not only drivers, but politicians too need vision.
“It’s incomprehensible that we allow huge 40 ton mammoths on our roads without making sure the people behind the wheel can actually see what’s going on.
“After decades of tinkering with mirrors, we need to take this once-in-a-generation opportunity and make direct vision compulsory for new lorry designs.”