New truck cab designs will include larger windscreens and have more streamlined bodies after MEPs passed a law to do away with ‘brick-shaped’ lorries.

Manufacturers will be able to lengthen the design of cabs by 80-90cm, according to Transport & Environment (T&E), but only if they use the extra space to provide better vision for the driver, improve aerodynamics and boost safety.

The campaign group said the reforms will allow newly-designed trucks on Europe’s roads from 1 September 2020.

However, some manufacturers have responded with caution, pointing out that important technical specifications are missing.

T&E, which campaigned for an end to brick-shaped cabs, said the new law would save lives, carbon emissions and fuel and that curved cabs should “better deflect pedestrians and cyclists in collisions – so that they do not go under the truck wheels”.

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James Nix, T&E freight director, said: “This reform is a win-win for industry and the public. The truck of the future will be sleeker, reducing fuel bills and emissions.

“It will also be safer through better driver vision of cyclists and pedestrians in particular.

“And truck drivers themselves will have more in-cab comforts.”


Daf welcomed the news; marketing manager Phil Moon said it offered the potential to further enhance safety and reduce fuel consumption.

“To be quite specific, in order to meet the challenging CO2 emission reduction targets set by the EU, this new legislation is likely to be a prerequisite.

“Efficiency enhancements need to be found in every aspect of the truck design and operation, and aerodynamics will be a key focus area,” he said.

None of the other major truck manufacturers would comment, but the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said the European Parliament vote only dealt with timescales.

“Given the fact that many important technical specifications are still missing, it is not possible for truck manufacturers to comment on this vote,” said an ACEA spokesman.

“Instead, the EU truck industry calls upon member states and the EU institutions to finalise these technical specifications as soon as possible,” he added.

However, Nix said: “The next question is how soon manufacturers will take advantage of the EU’s new design blueprint.

"The EU has rolled out the red carpet for the next generation of truck cabs. If European truckmakers don’t deliver them, then US and Asian manufacturers will. The race is on.”

  • The vote followed a separate agreement between governments and MEPs on a direct vision safety standard that will also enhance truck safety. The standard governs the amount of the road drivers must be able to see directly and from September 2025 all new types of truck and bus models sold in Europe will have to meet it.