Transport ministers hold back progress on lorry safety

lorries blind spot

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Brussels, Belgium – 5th June 2014
The European Council has threatened to set back much-needed design changes in the automobile sector by 8 years after voting on delaying lorry safety designs. This is at odds with the decision made by the European Parliament that agreed earlier last month to allow changes as soon as possible. Larger vehicle blind-spots are a major source of cycling fatalities, and legislative action needs to be taken sooner than later.
Changes to Directive 96/53 have the possibility to allow extra space at the front of the cabs for safer designs, thus giving extra visibility to drivers who currently have many blind-spots of the surroundings of the large vehicles they drive – a major safety issue that brings a pervasive and unabated threat to road-safety in Europe. Dangers are especially prevalent for the most vulnerable group of road-users, namely pedestrians and cyclists.
The change to this Directive would have made redesigns voluntary for manufacturers, not a requirement, and ECF had seen this as an encouraging step towards safer roads and safer streets. However, it was blocked by Member States after intense lobbying by France and Sweden to delay any changes whatsoever to the legislation.
Ceri Woolsgrove, Road Safety officer at ECF, said:
“This could be a disaster for making lorries safer for cyclists. Changes to this Directive were very necessary, as they could have provided a basis for better design that put a focus on visibility and a safer deflective shape. Transport ministers have effectively put a moratorium in place on safer lorry design for 8 years.”
Larger vehicles are responsible for around 23% of cycling fatalities in Europe each year. The majority of these are caused by lorries turning and hitting cyclists, unseen by drivers who do not have adequate rear-view capabilities.
The Parliament, Council and Commission now need to reach agreement on their proposals

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