Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), is proud to announce revisions to mandates for commercial truck design in Europe. The organization thinks extending the maximum allowable length for semi-trucks will help move more goods on less fuel.

Straight from the ACEA:

From the Brussels, 5 June 2014 – The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) reconfirms its commitment to cleaner and safer trucks following today's agreement of the Transport Council on the revised Directive on the weights and dimensions of trucks.

"The revision of the Directive on the weights and dimensions of commercial vehicles provides a unique opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions more efficiently from heavy duty vehicles," explained ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.

"Industry should have the flexibility to make use of revised rules to deliver even cleaner and more efficient trucks in the most cost-effective manner," said Mr Jonnaert.

Mr Jonnaert added, "Allowing an extension of the current maximum length of vehicles and vehicle combinations, while complying with legal requirements, will enable the industry to incorporate both existing and future fuel-efficiency innovations into their designs."

The industry has long advocated revising weights and dimensions rules to further increase the efficiency of the road freight sector. This includes using the most cost-effective solutions – such as permitting the wider use of the European Modular System (EMS). EMS greatly improves fuel-efficiency without negative safety impacts or increased road wear, and can be implemented immediately by all stakeholders at low cost.

Should it become mandatory to re-design truck fronts in order to improve their fuel-efficiency performance, the lead time granted to the industry must reflect the complexity and expense of this exercise, bearing in mind that trucks are very complex to design and are also produced in small volumes. This lead time should respect the product lifecycle for a new truck, which is on average 10-15 years. This means that manufacturers need to know about a new regulatory framework several years before its implementation.

Jonnaert: "The industry is committed to continuing to improve truck safety. Safety technologies that prevent accidents happening in the first place are the best way forward." Regarding improvements to forward, side and rear vision for instance, the use of new technologies such as cameras and proximity detectors will provide a quicker, more flexible and more efficient way to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists than re-designed cabs. This technological approach to safety is covered by different legislation - the General Safety Regulation.

European commercial vehicle manufacturers are world leaders in fuel efficiency, with fuel consumption down at least 60% since 1965. Modern trucks are involved in just 6% of all road accidents.