European Union to limit trailer heights to four metres24 August 2010

Brussels looks set to limit trailer and semi-trailer heights right across Europe to just four metres, if draft text, due to be published in the official journal of the EU, remains intact.

According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), which has seen the document, the idea comes from the European Commission and would include the height limit in European Whole Vehicle Type Approval parameters.

Robin Dickeson, manager of commercial vehicle affairs at the SMMT, says that resulting legislation could affect all vehicles built and sold across the EU.

"Detailed plans are expected to be published before September. If this makes its way onto the statute book, it will limit high cubic capacity double-deck and hump-backed trailers," he says.

Dickeson concedes that there are already strict rules on trailer heights in the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). However, he makes the point that extending these de facto rules Europe-wide would necessarily re-open the debate on longer vehicles.

"The ruling would push up costs, as operators would need more trailers than is currently the case – so overall dimensions would then be under pressure," he asserts.

"Expect anguish. We hope fleet managers will react and force the proposal to be abandoned before it gets into legislation," adds Dickeson.

Brian Tinham

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