Truck manufacturers highlight safety commitment, call for more flexible approach to fuel-efficiency

Brussels, 5 February 2014 – In the run-up to next week's vote by the Transport Committee of the European Parliament on the revised directive on truck weights and dimensions, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) re-iterates the industry's commitment to building safety technologies into commercial vehicles.

The most significant safety advances, it stresses, will continue to come from a technological approach to safety - which is covered by different legislation - rather than from re-designed cabs as is proposed in this revised directive.

Thanks to recent advances in vehicle safety systems, modern trucks are involved in only 6% of all road accidents[1]. In addition, between 2001 and 2011, the number of fatalities in accidents involving heavy goods vehicles in the EU has declined by 42%[2].

"This is largely thanks to joint efforts between the industry and EU policy makers under the regulatory framework that deals with vehicle safety, the General Safety Regulation,” said Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General. “The industry is committed to going forward with safety improvements under this Regulation.”

Regarding improvements to forward, side and rear vision for instance, the use of new technologies such as cameras and proximity detectors will provide a quicker, more flexible and more efficient way to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists than re-designed cabs.

The primary objective of the weights and dimensions proposal is to improve fuel-efficiency. To this end, the industry calls on policy makers to introduce flexibility on the length of trucks, rather than allowing longer cab fronts for aerodynamic purposes only. “This would enable manufacturers to incorporate into vehicle design innovations which can really improve fuel-efficiency and drive down emissions, but which require extra space,” explained Mr Jonnaert.

A number of such fuel-efficiency innovations requiring extra space already exist, such as alternative powertrains, more efficient cooling solutions and fuel tanks for alternative fuels. Others are in the pipeline, like waste heat recovery. These innovations have a far greater impact on fuel-efficiency than the proposed length extension, which is exclusively limited to the re-design of the cab for aerodynamic improvements.

“This flexible approach would be far more ambitious, helping us put the most fuel-efficient trucks on the road," said Mr Jonnaert.

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Notes for editors

- For more details on the industry's position on the revision of the weights and dimensions directive, visit http://www.acea.be/publications/article/truck-of-the-future-innovative-fuel-efficient-and-safe.

- The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), is the Brussels-based trade association of the 15 major car, van, truck and bus producers in Europe.

- ACEA has seven commercial vehicle members: DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, IVECO, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volvo Group.

- For a video outlining recent developments in truck safety, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-C3ibd2nTs.

- Some of the most important vehicle safety technologies now available, or under development, include:  

  • Systems that help prevent skidding, wheel locking and loss of control under heavy braking and improve braking performance (Electronic Braking Systems or EBS);
  • Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) which start braking manoeuvres automatically if the collision is imminent and the driver is not performing any action to avoid it;
  • Stability Control and Roll-Over Control Systems (ARP) to avoid accidents due to truck or trailer skidding and overturning;
  • Devices for front, rear and side under-run protection, which can significantly reduce the risk of injury to car drivers involved in accidents with trucks;
  • Adaptive and Advanced Cruise Control (ACC) which helps the driver maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead;
  • Systems that help improve visibility around the truck, reducing the number of blind spots and improving indirect vision, including special mirrors, camera systems and radars;
  • Improved tyre safety, including innovations in treads adapted to each axle, better road holding, reduced water projection, and under-inflation detection/warning;
  • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which warns the driver if he leaves a marked lane without using his indicator;
  • Drowsiness or fatigue detectors, which warn the driver if his vigilance decreases;
  • Collision warning systems, which warn a driver of potentially dangerous obstacles in the lane;
  • Automatic convoy systems that safely and automatically control vehicles following one another.
 

[1] Road Safety Vademecum/EC, 2013

[2] CARE Database/EC, September 2012