EEA EFTA Comment on proposed directive on maximum authorised dimensions and weights of lorries

Published 10-03-2014
The EEA EFTA States have submitted comments to the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament on the proposal for a directive on the maximum authorised dimensions in national and international traffic and the maximum authorised weights in international traffic of certain road vehicles.

The proposal will allow cabins with a rounded shape, as well as the use of aerodynamic flaps at the backs of trailers. These measures are designed to improve the aerodynamics of vehicles, saving approximately EUR 5 000 per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance lorry covering 100 000 km. This represents a 7 to 10% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (or 7.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide for the same long-distance lorry covering 100 000 km). At the same time, the driver’s field of vision will be improved, helping to save the lives of 300 to 500 vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists every year. The proposal also allows the cross-border use of the European Modular System (EMS) for journeys that only cross one border, if both Member States concerned already allow it and if the conditions for derogations under directive 96/53/EC are met. This aspect is highly debated in the European Parliament and the Council.

In their comments, the EEA EFTA States note that the land transport industry needs a predictable and comprehensible framework. A ban or weight restriction on the cross-border use of EMS trucks might be difficult to justify to a land transport industry that might have aligned itself and invested according to the latest interpretation by the Commission. Furthermore, a ban might open up for illogical or evasive practices, for example national EMS transport to a border, separate cross-border transport with the trailer and further national EMS transport after the border and onwards. They also note that EU/EEA States might be better placed to decide on these questions themselves, based on the principles of subsidiarity and non-discrimination. This is not least important for rural parts of Europe, where rail and sea transport might not always be viable alternatives and where the infrastructure allows for these types of trucks.

Read the full comments here.

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