Opponents are lining up against a European Commission (EC) push for “mega-trucks” to be allowed across the continent’s highways. The EC would like to see combination vehicles measuring up to 82 ft. and weighing as much as 60 tons on the roads. Opponents, citing safety concerns, are pulling out all the stops to prevent the measure from passing.
According to a news release issued by the FIA European Bureau, “The FIA believes that – based on the actual information, the numerous field trials and research studies carried-out in several European countries – the disadvantages related to a relaxing of the currently allowed dimensions and weights for lorries far outweigh the advantages. These disadvantages include increased risks for road safety, higher potential damages to road infrastructure and an even greater modal shift to goods transport by road.”
The latest EC study, released last week, cites decreased costs of goods’ transport, higher energy efficiency and a lower burden on road infrastructure among the benefits of the larger vehicles, creating improved road safety and environmental impact. The FIA, though, disputes those claims.
“The commissioned research doesn’t consider the consequence of the interaction of mega-trucks with vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians” Olivier Lenz, director of mobility of the FIA told a group of experts gathered at a European Commission stakeholder’ meeting. “The European Commission should take seriously the concerns raised by several field studies showing the risk of severe damages done to the infrastructure, in particular tunnels and bridges. Considering that European road infrastructure already suffers from severe and chronic under-investment, additional damages to the road network would have a further negative impact for the mobility of Europe’s citizens.”
Sweden already allows 60-ton trucks and several countries have conducted testing on the larger vehicles.
“It is no coincidence that this move is being made now,” said Martin Roggermann, the person behind the web site “No Mega Trucks.” Roggermann believes the idea of mega-trucks is being pushed through now as the European parliament prepares for upcoming elections, according to a release from the railway lobby Allianz Pro Schiene. “Their timing goes to show that the European Commission wants to make mega trucks a fait accompli.”
According to Roggermann, 73% of German and 75% of British citizens polled are opposed to the mega-trucks. “European bureaucrats are acting against the will of Europe’s citizens,” he said.