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Victory for Lib Dems as MEPs approve safer lorry designs

April 15, 2014 3:54 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Bill Newton Dunn, Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands has welcomed a European Parliament vote to improve lorry safety through tougher design standards today, which was approved by an overwhelming majority with 604 MEPs in favour.

Cyclist Jane Oseman keeps a wary eye on a large lorry at the Green Long EatonUnder changes pushed for by Liberal Democrat MEPs, the design of lorry cabs are set to be changed to reduce the number of blind spots under the front windscreen and the side of the vehicle. The new designs would also include safer cab fronts to reduce damage caused by impacts with cyclists and pedestrians. It is believed the proposal could help prevent dozens of fatal accidents each year.

Over the past few years Liberal Democrat MEPs have met with a number of safety campaigners in Brussels and the UK who have called for tighter EU rules to improve lorry safety including Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Boardman, Kate Cairns from the See Me Save Me Campaign and Nazan Fennell from the 'Live in Hope' campaign.

Bill Newton Dunn commented:

"Today's vote is a victory for all the campaigners in the UK who have worked so hard to bring about these life-saving changes to lorry design."

"This shows that when individuals engage with MEPs and the EU they can affect the outcome and bring about positive change."

"With today's strong backing from the European Parliament I am confident that we can push these reforms through in negotiations with national governments later this year."

MEPs will now enter into negotiations with national governments in order to finalise the new legislation. These negotiations will not take place until after the European elections in May.

Under the new rules lorry manufacturers would be permitted to increase the dimensions of their vehicles as long as they used the extra space to incorporate safety and aerodynamic features. These safety features will then become compulsory seven years after the entry into force of the Directive.

The full text of the proposed legislation voted on today can be found here. The full results of the vote will be published around 2pm BST.