New UK Government legislation will help make HGVs more environmentally friendly – but how will this affect road safety?

Government changes to UK legislation, which came into effect in February 2022, now mean that lorries and HGVs can use aerodynamic features and elongated cabs to help reduce fuel consumption and decrease carbon dioxide emissions.

This eco-friendly approach for HGVs will be a welcome update for the fleet management and road transport industries, allowing haulage companies to choose vehicles that will be more fuel efficient – helping to reduce costs and lessen the impact on the environment. In fact, a 2013 study estimated that aerodynamic improvements on HGVs could result in fuel savings of between 7% and 15%.

While these regulations are part of the UK government’s commitment to being greener and more environmentally conscious, the elongated cabs will also improve driver vision, enhancing road safety and helping to protect vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

What are aerodynamic rear devices?

Aerodynamic rear devices are flaps that are fitted on the back of trailers to reduce the vehicle’s aerodynamic drag without using up precious loading space. Previously, they were not permitted on Great Britain’s roads under regulations that have been in place since 1986. However, good practice for using these devices on HGVs is being urged due to the potential safety implications in certain situations for urban and rural areas.

Safety advice from the government says that retractable or foldable aerodynamic rear devices should be in the closed position in urban and rural areas where they are likely to encounter vulnerable road users. Usually, this would be on roads with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less. For example, in built-up areas.

It is also advised that drivers should ensure that retractable or foldable aerodynamic rear devices are in the closed position in the following situations where special attention or consideration is necessary:

  • While manoeuvring, reversing or parking the vehicle
  • When the vehicle is parked
  • While loading or unloading goods from the side of the vehicle
  • In preparation of and during intermodal transport. For example, while on a ferry.

How can Brigade help?

At Brigade, we provide a comprehensive range of compatible vehicle safety devices for HGVs, lorries and other commercial vehicles.

These include our best-selling Backeye®360 range. Available in high definition and compatible with our vehicle CCTV Mobile Digital Recorder, the Backeye®360 is designed to assist with low-speed manoeuvring by eliminating blind spots and providing a complete 360-degree real-time view of the vehicle and its surroundings in a single image.

In addition to our range of cameras, our ultrasonic obstacle detection systems work to warn and alert drivers of potential hazards in the immediate vicinity. Brigade’s range of ultrasonic sensor systems includes Backscan®Frontscan®Sidescan®Cornerscanand Stepscan. Perfect for road-going vehicles operating in confined spaces or manoeuvring at low speed, the detection system alerts drivers of obstacles close to the vehicle, whether moving or stationary. An audible and/or visual in-cab warning display warns of distance, while an optional external speaking alarm can be added to alert those outside the vehicle that it is turning.

For enhanced protection, Brigade’s bbs-tek® White Sound® reversing alarms use broadband technology to emit a ‘ssh-ssh’ sound, similar to breaking waves, that’s highly directional, gentler on the ear and easier for pedestrians to pinpoint. These vehicle safety devices help to alert vulnerable road users of a driver’s intention to manoeuvre ensuring that pedestrians remain out of harm’s way.

For further information about Brigade and our range of commercial vehicle safety products, please speak to one of our friendly team on 01322 420300 or email [email protected].