Media release

Safer and greener lorries approved by the Council

© European Union 2012 - EP
20 April 2015

Lorry and bus manufacturers will be allowed to exceed current length and weight limits to use designs that will improve road safety and fuel efficiency. These changes to the 1996 weights and dimensions directive were adopted by the Council on 20 April 2015.

Streamlined vehicle shapes

A new lorry cab profile with a rounded nose will reduce drivers' blind spots and lessen wind resistance. The slightly longer front can also feature a crumple zone to absorb energy and diminish the impact of collision. All this can help save the lives of numerous pedestrians and cyclists.

Length derogations will also allow retractable or foldable aerodynamic flaps to be attached to the rear of the vehicle.

The rounded front and the rear flaps will both improve the vehicle's fuel performance. This will bring savings to hauliers and reduce harmful emissions.

Vehicles with the new features will have to be type-approved before they can be put onto the market. The Commission will propose the necessary changes to the current type-approval rules.

The provisions concerning the rear devices will start to apply as soon as the technical and operational requirements have been adopted. The cab redesign provisions will begin to apply three years after the relevant type-approval rules are in place.  

Other novelties 

  • The use of clean fuels, such as electricity and hydrogen, will be encouraged by authorising a weight increase of up to one tonne for vehicles using such fuels.
  • The maximum weight of buses will be increased by 1.5 tonnes. The new weight will accommodate the increase in the average weight of passengers and their luggage and of new equipment imposed by safety regulations.
  • New rules on the length of vehicles transporting certain containers in the context of an intermodal operation will make it easier to combine road transport with other modes of transport which are less carbon intensive.
  • Member States must take specific measures to check vehicles for overload. The vehicle-check provisions will apply six years after the entry into force of the directive.

Extra-long vehicles: no change

The current rule on extra-long vehicles does not change. This means that member states may continue to allow the use of vehicles exceeding EU standards in their own territory as long as doing so does not significantly affect international competition. This concerns the transporting of large loads for instance by specialised forestry vehicles or through the use of long combination vehicles.

Agreement with the European Parliament

In order to be adopted, the legal act had to be approved by both the Council and the European Parliament. This second reading agreement was based on the deal struck between the institutions in December 2014. The Parliament held its second reading vote on 10 March 2015. 

Entry into force, enactment deadline and review

The directive will enter into force twenty days after its publication in the EU Official Journal. After publication, member states will have two years to transpose it, i.e. adopt national provisions to comply with it. It will be reviewed three years after the transposition deadline.

Jānis Rungulis
Spokesperson (COREPER I)