Labour MEPs: EU can help make UK roads safer

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Labour MEPs will vote next week in favour of updating EU rules on large vehicles to encourage greener and safer buses, trucks and lorries. The updated legislation, setting the maximum weights and dimensions for vehicles on EU roads, reflects technological advances in vehicle design and alternative fuels.

Labour MEPs are now calling for further action at EU level to improve vehicle safety and environmental standards, as part of ambitious EU road safety targets.

Lucy Anderson MEP, Labour's European spokesperson on transport, said:

"These updated rules are a step in the right direction but following pressure from industry, they will not come into force until 2022. Clearly, the EU has a long way to go if we are to meet our target of halving road deaths by 2020, with most recent figures from 2012 indicating 28,000 fatalities on EU roads and more than 100,000 serious injuries.

"The research and development of safer lorry design is ongoing, with important advances to reduce blind spots, improved mirror systems and rounder fronts that deflect pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a collision.

"But if these new lorry designs are to be widely applied, they must be backed up with new EU legislation that strengthens the minimum safety standards allowed for EU vehicles and makes safer designs the norm."

The European Commission has indicated it will review its 'General Safety Regulation' of motor vehicles in 2016, which safety and environmental campaigners have identified as a key opportunity for improving safety standards across the board.

Lucy Anderson MEP added:

"In my own constituency of London, this year local councils and Transport for London are implementing a London-wide ban on lorries without safety equipment.

"But while freight delivery and essential traffic is clearly vital for cities and their citizens, in the light of the proven dangers of lorries for pedestrians and cyclists more extensive action to regulate the use of road space and control lorry access where appropriate should be considered.

"For example, in London alone in 2013, nine out of 14 cyclist deaths were as a result of collisions with heavy goods vehicles. Well-designed lorries are only part of the solution, we should also aim to create cities that genuinely do all they should to ensure safety for pedestrians and cyclists."

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