The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed frustration at the slow progress with regards to changes to vehicle design to improve the aerodynamics and safety elements of HGVs.
FTA members are currently spending hundreds of thousands of pounds retrofitting existing HGVs to try to improve visibility from the cab, "but the best way to truly eliminate blind spots in HGVs is to design them out", says the Association.
Freight operators want to buy such vehicles, so FTA would like to see the regulatory barriers to their development removed. These changes would offer fuel savings and therefore reduced emissions in addition to important safety benefits.
FTA is involved in the Commission’s expert working group advising on the draft proposals to amend Directive 96/53, along with vehicle manufacturers, UK Government, other member states, the freight industry, and Transport for London: an FTA representative participated in a meeting of the working group yesterday (Thursday 24 October).
Christopher Snelling, FTA Head of Urban Logistics & Regional Policy said:
"The best way to truly eliminate blind spots in HGVs is to design them out. FTA is fully supportive and engaged in the discussions taking place with the European Commission. Manufacturers want to produce vehicles they can sell into the entire European market, not just the UK, so it’s right that this issue is being examined in Brussels."
Due to the improvements to safety that this equipment is thought to deliver and the push to improve cab design to eliminate blind spots, the mandate of the group has been amended to take into account other road users, including cyclists.
Mr Snelling added:
"If the Brussels based institutions do not prioritise this initiative, or tie it in with other measures so that its introduction is delayed, a huge opportunity to radically improve safety on our roads in the most efficient fashion will be missed".