Freight on Railfreight on rail
homewho we arehot topicsfacts & figurespress releasesno mega trucksconsultationscontact

Ask your MEPs to oppose cross border mega trucks traffic across EU?


Mega truck German Trials “©Allianz pro Schiene /Kraufmann /Kraufmann

1. The European Commission is publishing its revision of the directive 96/53 which governs the weight and dimensions of HGVs on 15th April, which by allowing cross border mega trucks traffic, will usher in mega trucks through the back door by default. This clause stating that 25 metre mega trucks should be allowed to cross international borders between consenting countries will have a domino effect.
So, despite the fact that the UK Government says it will not allow mega trucks on UK roads it will come under huge pressure from the road haulage industry to allow mega trucks on competition grounds 1

Furthermore, no analysis of the congestion, safety and pollution impacts of cross border traffic has been carried out by the Commission which is contrary to its own rules. This also means that the infrastructure costs to cater for these massive vehicles have not been costed, nor funded. At a time when the EU is trying to reduce costs, recommending a policy which will cost taypayers billions is misplaced.    

Please contact MEPS in your region. You can either use my latest briefing April 2013 or follow the suggested text.

Main messages are:-

  • Mega trucks will result in more road fatalities 2, more road congestion and more pollution.
  • Cross border traffic will result in mega trucks coming to the UK by default over time
  • Taxpayers will have to foot the billions it will cost to adapt the infrastructure and the extra wear and tear on our roads 3.  
  • Maximum weight and dimensions of HGVs need to be set in directive at 17.85 metres length and 44 tonnes 4 for international transport to prevent general circulation of massive road trains
  • In countries which allow mega trucks, national limits should be set prohibiting mega trucks of 25 metres from using non dual carriageway/motorways in order to protect cyclists, pedestrians and general traffic 5

See also press release

2. However we support the elements of the directive proposing better rather than bigger lorries:-

a) Improved aerodynamic designs to reduce accidents and improve fuel efficiency as long as they are compatible with rail and water freight.

b) Better enforcement of road regulations - As part of this process we believe it is essential that HGVs should have weight sensors on board 6 which the Commission is not proposing at the moment.  

c) Approval of 45ft containers


1. The UK Government has already buckled to pressure from road haulage industry and is now carrying out trials of 7ft longer lorries in the UK.

2. Commission’s own research stated that mega trucks are more dangerous than existing HGVs– TML Effects of adapting the rules on weights and dimensions of HGVs  P14 penultimate line 6 November 2008 DGTREN website.
The double articulation of a mega trucks increases side to side oscillation ie a “snake” (rear amplification) and problems with other manoeuvres at cruising speeds, for example changing lane on a dual carriageway. There is a conflict here between the manoeuvrability needed in urban areas with a dangerous loss of stability at cruising speeds. Source Table 26/27 Assessment results of the handling characteristics Knight & Wohrmann 2008

3. The Austrian study by Asfinag calculates 5.3 billion euros for the highways and federal roads (25 m/60 t).2009 in Austria alone.

4. In the Netherlands the weight limit on 25 metre mega trucks has been increased from 50 to 60 tonnes with Finland increasing the weight limit to 76 tonnes; Sweden is now trialling 30 metre (100ft) HGVs with an 80 tonne weight limit between urban areas.

5. Normal non dual carriageway roads are not designed for 25 metre HGVs and are therefore not suitable for these vehicles which have to perform difficult manoeuvres and come into contact with cyclists and pedestrians. The Dutch trials stated that mega trucks should only be allowed on roads with separate infrastructure for bikes which does not exist in the UK and in most member states.

6. FTA Logistics report 2012 stated that UK road side weight checks had a 58% overloading rate.

Copyright © Freight on Rail 2001-2018