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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Truck design rules: reform delayed

The Council and the European Parliament reached agreement on a proposal from the Commission for a directive amending Council Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996 on vehicle weights and dimensions. Readers will recall that the Parliament approved the proposal some time ago, but now national interests have become involved and the changes will not come into force for some time – and even then they will not be mandatory.

The most significant change will be to allow vehicles to be 80 to 90 cm longer – which doesn't sound much, but which would enable manufacturers to move away from the brick-like aerodynamics that the present rules (in conjunction with the need to maximise carrying capacity) make necessary, and also to improve the driver's view of cyclists, pedestrians and everything else going on around them. Unfortunately, truck designs have a very long life cycle and a couple of major manufacturers (Volvo and Renault) are committed to new bricks, so Sweden and France have led Member States in delaying the introduction of the new dimensions and making them optional.

Weights and Dimensions page on the Commission website (the link to the proposal is broken).

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