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New safer lorries delayed until 2022

Cyclist/lorries in London Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cyclists in London often have little space to squeeze past heavy traffic

New lorries designed to make it easier for drivers to spot pedestrians and cyclists face delays of up to eight years, it has emerged.

In April, the European Parliament passed a draft law to make lorries safer for other road users.

But the rules will not come into force until 2022 after the industry called for more time to develop the lorries.

The European Parliament and campaigners had originally wanted to introduce the changes as soon as possible.

The delay until 2022 is, in part, the result of a compromise deal after manufacturers such as Sweden's Volvo and France's Renault said the introduction of new cab sizes should be delayed to create a level playing field for all, pointing to the long life-cycle of trucks.

Member states, led by France and Sweden, had originally pushed for a five-year delay on the new designs, which would have seen their introduction postponed until about 2024.

The need to develop new safety requirements first had already pushed the original deadline back from 2017.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council, said: "These changes could prevent up to 900 deaths a year on European roads, so any delay will cost lives.

"The idea that these road safety innovations should be subject to a moratorium to enable all manufacturers to compete equally is without precedent.

"Just imagine how many more lives would have been lost if innovations like seatbelts and electronic stability control had been held back from the market for similar reasons."

William Todts, of campaign group Transport & Environment, said: "This deal signals the end of dangerous and inefficient brick-shaped trucks.

"This is good news for hauliers and truck drivers and, above all, for pedestrians and cyclists who'll be much safer.

"But the absurd and unprecedented decision to impose a ban on new lorry designs until 2022 casts a dark shadow over the agreement."

Mr Todts added: "Few other industries would do what the lorry industry has done here: lobby hard to keep a ban on a better product for as long as possible."

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