Today, the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council reached political agreement on updated rules for the maximum weights and dimensions of heavy-goods vehicles, buses and coaches. The new draft directive aims to amend the current directive from 1996 in order to improve those vehicles' aerodynamics, fuel efficiency and road safety.
In particular, the proposal grants derogations on vehicle length so as to allow rear flaps to be attached to the vehicle or the front of the vehicle to be redesigned to create a more aerodynamic shape. The new lorry cab design will improve drivers’ field of vision and the safety of both drivers and other road users. The new deflecting shape and crumple zone will greatly reduce the impact of frontal collisions, thus helping to save the lives of numerous pedestrians and cyclists.
According to the text agreed by ministers, the use of clean fuels will be promoted by authorising a weight increase of one tonne for alternatively fuelled vehicles, to take account of the weight required for the alternative fuel technology.
The maximum weight of buses would be increased by 1.5 tonnes to accommodate various developments such as the increase in the average weight of passengers and their luggage and of new equipment imposed by the safety regulations.
In order to enable the inspection authorities to better detect infringements, six years after the entry into force of the directive, member states must start to identify vehicles in circulation that are likely to have exceeded the weight limit and should therefore be checked. This identification may be carried out by means of weighing mechanisms built into the road or through on-board sensors in vehicles that communicate data remotely to the authorities. Every year each member state must perform an appropriate number of vehicle weight checks. The number of such checks should be proportionate to the total number of vehicles inspected in the member state's territory annually.
As regards deadlines for the new maximum lengths retained by ministers, the provisions concerning the rear devices will start to apply from the transposition date, which is three years after the directive's entry into force, and the cab redesign provisions will apply five years after transposition, or when conditions related to type approval and other requirements as specified in the directive have been fulfilled.
The Commission sent its proposal (8953/13) in April 2013. The adoption of this directive requires the approval of both the Council and the European Parliament. The Parliament adopted its first reading position in April 2014.
Road transport - Weights and dimensions