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France and Sweden delay safer lorries norms

Representatives of EU Member States today reached an agreement on changing weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins. The provisional agreement sets a delay of eight years before redesigned lorry cabs can be driven on Europe’s roads, even though design changes could save hundreds of lives and billions of litres of diesel fuel. The call for a long delay was led by France and Sweden in an effort to shield national lorry makers Renault and Volvo, and was adopted despite opposition from other countries like the UK, Germany and Denmark.

Renault Trucks. Photo: Renault
Renault Trucks. Photo: Renault

Under the Commission’s original proposal, the maximum allowed length of lorry cabs would be extended, enabling lorry makers to introduce life-saving designs straight away if they choose to, without being forced to do so. The European Parliament voted to allow the safer designs immediately.

William Todts, senior policy officer at Transport & Environment, said “Calling for a delay to an enabling law, which would make Europe’s lorries safer and cleaner, is absurd because it prevents those who are ready to do the right thing. The French, Swedish and any other governments supporting this delay are putting the interests of their manufacturers’ above the well-being of pedestrians and cyclists whose lives could be saved.”

The agreement will now be presented to European ministers for their approval at the Transport Council on 5 June.

Volvo Trucks. Photo: Volvo
Volvo Trucks. Photo: Volvo

“Europe’s transport ministers must reject any delay of safer, cleaner lorries. It is unthinkable that they could put their signatures to a document which will effectively mean more preventable deaths on Europe’s roads, higher fuel bills and more climate changing emissions,” Todts concluded.

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