Representatives of EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission met last night (10 Dec) to find an agreement on the new legislation which will enable, but not require, manufacturers to make changes to lorry cabs that improve visibility and reduce the impact of crashes on other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
ETSC says the deal, which is still subject to agreement by member states at a meeting on 12 December and a vote by the European Parliament, effectively delays the optional changes until 2022.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC, said: “These changes could prevent up to 900 deaths a year on European roads, so any delay will cost lives.
“The idea that these road safety innovations should be subject to a moratorium to enable all manufacturers to compete equally is without precedent.
“Just imagine how many more lives would have been lost if innovations like seat belts and electronic stability control had been held back from the market for similar reasons."
Earlier this week Boris Johnson, Chris Boardman and Kate Cairns, founder of the road safety campaign group, See Me Save Me, lobbied in support of the revised regulations which would allow the introduction of lorries with aerodynamic cabs including crumple zones and larger windows to the front and side. (road.cc)
Talking to road.cc, Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said: “The way lorry cabs are designed currently means drivers are often unable to see cyclists and pedestrians until it is too late. Eliminating blind spots is an obvious and relatively simple way for vehicle manufacturers to help save lives.
“I’d urge the DfT to push ahead with supporting these plans, which will remove some of the blockages which prevent us from making lorries safer.”
Chris Boardman, British Cycling policy advisor, said that “postponing this until 2025 is not an option” and added: “These vehicles are involved in a disproportionately high number of fatalities involving people on bikes and only better designed cabs can put a stop to this.”
According to road.cc, a spokeswoman for the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association said that rather than redesiging cabs, equipping lorries with features such as cameras and proximity sensors is a “more efficient way to improve safety.”