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European bureaucrats paving the way for 82 ft (25 metre) mega trucks across Europe?

European bureaucrats  are proposing allowing cross border traffic of  mega trucks between consenting countries even though these vehicles are bigger,more dangerous and more polluting than existing HGVs. Crucially, this action will lead to mega trucks circulating across Europe by default over time and result in a domino effect.

Once a few countries have mega trucks it will make it harder for hauliers in other countries who do not have mega trucks to compete, so  they will lobby their Governments to allow these massive vehicles on competition grounds.

Why – because mega trucks will reduce operator’s  costs by up to 20% but will impose these costs upon society in terms of  more fatal collisions, more congestion, more pollution and more costs maintaining/adapting the infrastruture. Currently existing sized lorries only pay between one to two thirds of the costs they impose on society and mega trucks will exacerbate the situation.

Whilst the UK Government says it will not allow mega trucks here, the reality is that it will come under huge pressure from the road haulage lobby which it will find hard to resist. The UK has already buckled to pressure from the industry in allowing 7ft longer trailers which are more dangerous than existing lorries as they have bigger tail swings, blind spots and inferior manoeuvrability to existing lorries.

 

Mega truck trials “©Allianz pro Schiene /Kraufmann

Why should we oppose mega trucks

Mega trucks will cause more road congestion as extra time will be needed to clear junctions and railway crossings.  Additionally, they will also undermine rail and result in trainloads of freight returning to our congested road network. The heaviest UK train can remove up to 160 HGVs from our roads.

Mega trucks have serious dangers due to their size and lack of manoeuvrability.
The European Commission's own research in Jan 2009 stated that mega trucks are individually more dangerous than standard HGVs. –The double articulation of a mega truck increases side to side oscillation ie a “snake” and problems with other manoeuvres at cruising speeds, for example changing lane on a dual carriageway. As it is, existing sized HGVs are over 4 times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than cars on minor roads.

The promoters are claiming that these vehicles will be restricted to motorways, dual carriageways and major roads. The reality is that these vehicles will need local road access to distribution hubs not on motorways/dual carriageways.

And finally, the European Commissioner does not even know what the implications will be of allowing mega trucks as it did not carry out any impact assessment, which goes against its own rules.



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