European Commission may limit trailer heights

European Commission may limit trailer heights

According to a report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in Europe, the European Commission is considering a trailer height limit of 4 meters (13 ft, 1 inch) throughout Europe. Robin Dickeson, manager-commercial vehicle affairs, said the proposal could be published next week

According to a report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in Europe, the European Commission is considering a trailer height limit of 4 meters (13 ft, 1 inch) throughout Europe. Robin Dickeson, manager-commercial vehicle affairs, said the proposal could be published next week.

“If this makes its way onto the statute book it will limit high cubic capacity double-deck and hump-backed trailers,” said Dickeson in a release from SMMT.

Dickeson went on to say that operators could see increased costs due to the use of more trailers to move the same amount of goods as a result. SMMT told Transport Engineer that a rule such as this will increase the calls for longer vehicles in Europe.

"The ruling would push up costs, as operators would need more trailers than is currently the case – so overall dimensions would then be under pressure," Dickeson said. “Expect anguish. We hope fleet managers will react and force the proposal to be abandoned before it gets into legislation.”

Carriers in the UK have been pushing for longer vehicles, extending out to 82 ft. BigLorryBlog, a blog on Roadtransport.com, questioned the effect this may have on new technologies, such as a “Teardrop” trailer design from manufacturer Don-Bur and “double-decker” trailers that are used in England to improve efficiency while reducing carbon footprint.

“The irony of that is that right now, the fact that the UK has no height limit and so many double-deck trailers is probably one of the strongest arguments against 25.25m LHVs in Britain,” the author of the blog wrote.

Don-Bur describes the “Teardrop” design as a “tractor-trailer shape [that] mimics the perfect aerodynamic lines of a teardrop and significantly reduces the co-efficient of drag by incorporating a specially designed continuous full-length curve on the roof (also considering the tractor). Beginning at a standard 3800 or 4000mm height at the front, the roof gradually curves upwards before gently tapering off at the rear whilst maintaining a generous rear aperture. This actually increases internal volume … an additional 10%.”

Because the front bulkhead on the design leans slightly forward, the trailer also closes the gap between the trailer and cab, improving aerodynamics, the company said.

‘The smooth roof lines not only manage linear airflow air well, they are designed to angle the airflow at the rear of the trailer (departure point) to minimise the turbulent area behind the trailer,” the company said.

The drawback: the trailer stands 4.2 meters tall – exceeding the limit under consideration.

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