EU makes next step toward truck design reform

The European Union has made the next step towards making aerodynamic truck and trailer design a reality.

Newswire Reuters reported that a draft law to allow for a more aerodynamic truck design was backed by EU politicians last week.

According to Reuters, the revision of Directive 96/53 on the maximum dimensions and weights of vehicles now has to be approved by a plenary session of the European Parliament next month, which is expected to be a formality.

Tuesday's vote was made in the European Parliament's Committee on Transport (TRAN), which is leading the debate on the draft law.

The vote follows the European Commission's announcement last April that it was relaxing limits on cab size to give manufacturers more space to create a more streamlined design. Trailers may also be lengthened by 50cm to allow for the installation of boat tails at the rear to make them more aerodynamic.

Although plenary parliamentary approval is expected in April, EU member states still need to agree the formal wording, which could delay the implementation of the new law.

Meanwhile, the Transport Committee rejected the Commission’s proposal to liberalise the movement of so-called giga liners across Europe, pending further research. The Committee asked the Commission to further assess the impact of lifting the ban on cross-border usage of oversized combinations, which can measure up to 25m in length and weigh 60 tonnes, by 2016.

Although the discussion is going on since 2012, the ban is still in place as anti-giga liner campaigners continue to oppose the plan. The Commission therefore needs to continue assessing the impact of such a measure on competition, modal shift, the cost of adapting roads, the environment and safety before any decision can be made.

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