Strasbourg, 16th April - Two important changes to new vehicle safety regulations, secured by West Midlands MEP Dan Dalton, will help cut cyclist deaths and safeguard Britain's niche car manufacturers.
The European Parliament today agreed revised lorry cab designs to improve driver visibility as part of a wider package of vehicle safety rules. Following pressure from Mr Dalton, the changes must now be included on new lorries by 2025 and existing models by 2028, an advance on the European Commission's proposed deadlines of 2026 and 2029.
Figures show that 78 per cent of cyclist fatalities in London involve lorries, with driver blind spots a serious problem, and it is a similar story in cities in the West Midlands.
Mr Dalton said:
"The changes agreed today, such as glass doors, bigger windows and a lower driver position, are practical and sensible. Indeed, some existing vehicles already use them.”
"I am pleased that my calls for the earliest possible introduction have been heeded. It is clear cut. The earlier these design changes become mandatory, the fewer people will die needlessly on our roads."
Mr Dalton also successfully argued that small carmakers should have more time to implement new regulations covering front bodywork design, a key demand of several UK companies, including Malvern's iconic Morgan Motor Company.
"Unlike large manufacturers, low volume car makers do not regularly overhaul their model range and so major design changes are difficult and expensive for them to implement. This derogation means the revisions will only apply to new models after a minimum of six years and small manufacturers will have sufficient time to plan for them as part of a phased introduction. For existing models, these can continue to be produced until 2035.”
"Without this delay, some British firms could have been forced to cease trading for the sake of negligible safety improvements."
Today's wide ranging package includes a requirement for new cars, from 2021, to provide feedback to the driver if the speed limit is being breached. This can be done in a variety of ways, including a sound or vibration. The system can be capable of being turned off and there is no demand for cars to be fitted with a speed limiter, as was recently incorrectly reported in some sections of the media.