Nowadays, safety on the road is paramount, especially for HGV’s whose drivers have to contend with blind spots and long vehicles, which significantly increases the chances of an accident. From fleet tracking to Satnavs, there have been many advances in technology to help make our roads safer; however, there are discussions of new lorry designs to help maximise safety for the drivers and those around them. 

The European Parliament has recently approved proposals for safer lorry designs and more fuel efficient vehicles; now it’s down to the national government to back the changes. If this government do, designs would consists of larger windows and rounder fronts in order to diminish the risks of a driver’s blind spot. Several groups that work to represent cyclists across the country have urged the UK government to vote in favour of the proposed changes. In total, these proposals were supported by around 570 MEP’s and were voted against by 88 individuals. 

Boris Johnson, London Mayor, commented saying that he is “worried the UK government may oppose the changes.” The draft legislation states that “a new cab profile will also contribute to improving road safety by reducing the blind spot in the driver’s vision, including under the windscreen and to the side of the vehicle, which should help save the lives of many vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists.” “The new cab profile should therefore, after an appropriate transitional period, become mandatory. This new profile should also incorporate energy absorption structures in the event of a collision.” Advocates of the proposed legislation argue that an improved aerodynamic shape at the front of the vehicle will also help to improve the fuel-efficiency of the truck or lorry and the European Cyclists’ Federation states that HGV’s on average are involved in as many as 18% of all fatal accidents on Europe’s roads, costing thousands of lives each year, making it clear that something needs to be done about the level of safety of lorries on the roads. Brian Simpson, British Labour MEP, commented “We need to make sure that cabs are designed to give drivers a clear view” and noted that “lorries are involved in a disproportionately large number of cycle deaths.” 

If the proposals for the new designs are accepted by the 28 member state governments involved, the new changes will become compulsory just seven years after the directive takes effect. Phil Bennion, British Liberal Democrat Campaigner, commented on the vote by saying that it is a “victory for all the campaigners in the UK who have worked so hard to bring about these life-saving changes to lorry design.” He also said that he was “confident the changes would get government approval later this year, after the May European elections.” If the proposals are approved, manufacturers will be permitted to establish larger Lorries however, only if the additional space is put into ensuring maximum safety and creating aerodynamic features for the drivers. How do you feel about the proposal to change the design of Lorries? Do you agree that it will help to optimise safety on the roads for not only other cars but passing cyclists and pedestrians too?