Transport safety organisations have been demanding progress on legislation which will allow for safer lorry design within the EU. However, France and Sweden want the legislation to be delayed by several years as Renault and Volvo will likely see more competition. The open letter was sent to the Transport Minister and was sent on behalf of 11 UK transport organisations including British Cycling.
The letter calls for changes to be made to the design of EU lorries to reduce the number of blind spots for drivers of the heavy vehicles. According to a study by Loughbourgh University, redesigning lorries to increase the driver’s field of view by 50% more than current lorry designs would reduce the number of accidents and save the lives of hundreds of cyclists as well as pedestrians every year.
The EU Parliament and Commission want the new designs to be allowed by 2017/2018 but France and Sweden are campaigning to have this pushed back. This is due to the costs associated with creating new designs and Volvo in particular has recently released a new range. Their statement suggests that it would prove costly to produce a new line at such short notice giving competitors the edge.
However, the new legislation will not demand that lorry companies make the changes but will allow it. In London alone, lorries were involved in over half of cyclists’ deaths in 2011 and 2012 and it is thought that the new designs could prevent the deaths of thousands of road users.
Road safety with HGVs
Heavy goods vehicles have large blind spots which means that cyclists and drivers should keep a safe distance to avoid an accident. As mentioned, many accidents do occur due to the blind spots in large vehicles and these accidents can cause serious injuries to vulnerable road users.
Keeping a safe distance, driving at a safe speed and keeping aware of your surroundings can help lower the risk of being involved in a road accident but, if you are involved in an accident that is someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
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