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Local Lib Dem MEP backs life-saving lorry campaign

November 29, 2010 1:04 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne
Lorry / truck

West Midlands MEP Liz Lynne is backing a campaign to fit sensors and cameras to articulated lorries to cut the risks for other road users

Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne is backing 'See Me, Save Me' - a cross party campaign which could save the lives of hundreds of road users every year.

A growing number of serious road accidents, including many of the estimated 2000 cyclists killed in the UK and mainland Europe each year, have been linked to blind spots that affect many large heavy lorries. Even with large mirrors, cyclists, pedestrians and some small cars close to large articulated lorries are often invisible to the driver when the vehicle is turning.

Liz Lynne has signed a Written Declaration launched by fellow Lib Dem MEP Fiona Hall with cross party support in the European Parliament, calling for the fitting of sensors and cameras in lorries to eliminate blind spots.

The campaign, backed by charities Sustrans and Brake and victims' families, follows the tragic death of Eilidh Cairns who was killed by a lorry while cycling in London. Her family have since campaigned tirelessly to improve road safety.

Liz Lynne has personal experience of the problem after having a lucky escape when her car was trapped and severely damaged by a lorry in an accident a few months ago.

Liz said: "This is a real problem, as I found out. I was approaching a roundabout to turn left and there was a lorry beside me in another lane.

"The road ahead was blocked off and I assume the lorry driver decided to turn left instead of going straight on. He didn't see my car and hit the back and side of it. The car was seriously damaged but fortunately he heard me hooting before he squashed me too."

"Sadly many cyclists have not been so lucky, as in this tragic case with Mrs Cairns. This was just one of many recent serious accidents which sensors and cameras could prevent.

"Lorries are vital to distributing goods and account for 8% of road traffic but they are involved in over 30% of accidents. The technology now available offers an affordable solution.

"Sensors and cameras would mean lorry drivers could be fully aware where other road users are. They would supplement mirrors around the vehicle and help drivers to check all angles before moving off at junctions on a bend, where so many accidents occur.

"I urge anyone who wants to help end these needless deaths to write to their Euro MPs asking them to sign Declaration 81 as a matter of urgency.

"If we can get a majority of MEPs to sign up by February 17th, the Commission must make proposals to change the law. We can make a huge breakthrough in road safety."

Julie Townsend from road safety charity Brake said: "Many needless deaths and injuries could be prevented through mirrors and other devices fitted to vehicles. We're urging MEPs to support this declaration, which is a crucial move in protecting road users."

ENDS.

Note to editors: 0081/2010 Written declaration on heavy goods vehicle collisions

The European Parliament,

  • having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) make up 3 % of the EU vehicle fleet, but give rise to 14 % of fatal collisions, amounting to more than 4 000 annual fatalities in the 27 Member States of the European Union,

B. whereas in Europe every year, some 400 people, mostly unprotected road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, are killed because of HGV 'blind spots',

C. whereas many of these fatalities could be avoided by the full installation of mirrors or increasingly cheap camera-monitor devices, active warning systems, advanced emergency braking and lane departure warning systems,

D. whereas significant and dangerous blind spots remain around HGVs despite the increased visibility requirements of Directives 2003/97/EC and 2007/38/EC for newly registered HGVs and HGVs in circulation respectively,

E. whereas the 2007 requirements are weaker than those of 2003 and have been insufficiently implemented by Member States, despite the EU's aspiration to cut road fatalities by half,

1. Urges the Commission to speed up its evaluation of Directive 2007/38/EC and to revise it in order to align it with technological advancement and with the latest indirect vision equipment requirements for newly registered trucks, so as to ensure an optimum level of safety;

2. Urges the Commission to ensure that no exemptions are provided to the mandatory fitting of advanced emergency braking systems and lane departure warning systems in accordance with General Safety Regulation (EC) No 661/2009;

3. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council and the Commission.