While debates rage in the US over increasing truck weight limits, Italian commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco is supporting a move to longer trailers in Europe.
The company launched a UK focus group to examine the potential of the new designs. Accordign to Iveco, Chamberlain Transport and DHL are involved, along with trailer manufacturer Montracon and the UK's Freight Transport Association.
Representatives from each group attended a meeting in Italy earlier in the year Turin to learn about the experience of German firms that have been involved in the trial since 2007, and to hear about Iveco's experience with similar efforts in Italy.
In the Italian trial, six logistics firms are conducting -road trials of eight semi-trailers, each with an overall length of 18 meters (59 feet). Standard length is 16.5 meters (54 feet).
In other safety-related news, the Freight Transport Assocation (FTA) said “Unsafe overseas-registered trucks operated by over-tired drivers are giving the whole logistics sector a bad name.”
FTA voiced its concerns as the House of Commons Transport Select Committee released its report on the work of the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA).
FTA’s Jo Tanner said, “Seeing obviously unsafe overseas trucks being driven erratically by over-tired drivers is enough to give the logistics sector a bad name, despite the fact that the UK fleet is recognized as the safest in Europe. This does the 2.3 million people that work in the logistics sector a great disservice.”
Tanner continued, “The safety of our roads has to be the number one priority and our continuing concern is that safety standards are being ridden rough-shod over by rogue operators from overseas. While UK operators by and large operate what is considered to be the gold standard in terms of compliance with safety regulations, operators coming across from the continent, particularly those from Eastern Europe, often fall well short.”
FTA concurred with the Select Committee’s findings that solving the problem was not solely about injecting more cash into VOSA. Shared information and a commitment to collaboration between all the Government agencies in this area, as well as their opposite numbers overseas, are key.
Tanner concluded, “VOSA’s detection rates are good, but how are these vehicles able to make it so far from their home nation unchallenged? The Select Committee is absolutely right in encouraging greater collaboration and information-sharing between agencies, not only on this side of the Channel, but on the continent too.”