European Truck Industry Refuses To Adopt Safer, Cleaner, Cheaper Designs Soon In Order To Preserve 'Competitive Neutrality'
from the lobbying-before-lives dept
When it comes to industries perversely refusing to accept changes that would be good for both them and their customers, it's usually the music or film companies that are involved. But over in Europe, the same story is playing out in the world of trucks -- or "lorries" as they're known locally. The site Transport & Environment explains the situation:
Current rules on weights and dimensions of lorries indirectly restrict the length of cabins to 2.35m, which explains why European lorries have such blunt cabin fronts. Longer and rounder cabins can save hundreds of lives and billions of litres of diesel per year.
That's because more rounded designs bring with them better visibility and less air resistance. Recognizing those advantages, the European Parliament voted to allow manufacturers to adopt the new rules if they wished, but without forcing them to do so if they didn't -- which sounds fair enough. But not according to the companies involved. As another post on the Transport & Environment blog explains:
the industry grudgingly conceded that while in principle flexibility to make better cabins isn't a bad thing, in this case new designs should be prohibited until at least 2025. The reason for this rather odd position? To maintain 'competitive neutrality' -- suppose one manufacturer would have better designs on the shelves and another not, wouldn't that be terribly unfair?
Unfortunately, good old local protectionism from countries with major truck manufacturers means that this ridiculous view is likely to prevail:
Under Franco-Swedish pressure, ministers regrettably agreed to ban the introduction of safer and cleaner lorry cabs from Europe's roads for at least eight years.
The new designs would have been great news for the huge number of European companies using trucks: Transport & Environment estimates that the new designs would save their owners around €3,000 annually. Even more importantly, many of the 4,200 deaths caused by trucks every year in Europe could have been avoided because of better sightlines and enhanced safety features.
But while no law is too repressive, or expense too great, when it comes to fighting terrorism -- even though just 17 people died in Europe as a result of terrorist attacks in 2012 -- it seems some EU politicians are unwilling to push through a simple change in regulations that could not only save many more than 17 lives each year, but which would also reduce pollution and produce savings for numerous European companies as well. Such is the insane power of the lobbyists in Europe (as elsewhere), who care only for their clients, not for the lives of citizens.