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In the more than 25-meter-long trucks that emerged on German roads in 2017, the German government sees a growing potential. Germany is changing regulations and expanding the network of roads on which extended trucks can travel.

The “Lang LKW”, i.e. sets 25.25 m long, was put into service in Germany on 1 January 2017 after tests carried out by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). Although the vehicles do not require additional permits, they can only travel on the designated road network called “Positivnetz”. Two years after the emergence of mega trucks, the German government decided to extend this network and abolish the requirement that these vehicles had to be adapted to intermodal transport. This provision was intended to prevent the shifting of freight transport from rail to road. As BMVI claims, no such trend has been observed since the entry into service of extended trucks.

An important change is also the increase in the permissible length of “Lang LKW” type 1 from 17.80 m to 17.88 m. Under the new regulations, these vehicles will not be subject to a ban on overtaking on motorways in Germany. The remaining extended sets (type 2 with a length of 24 m and type 3 with a length of 25.25 m) will still not be allowed to perform this manoeuvre.

Extension of the road network

In addition, according to the draft regulation, Baden-Württemberg and Bremen/Bremerhaven are included in the list of Länder in which the use of extended type 1 trucks is permitted on the entire road network. The “Positivnetz” has also been supplemented by missing fragments of A3 in North Rhine-Palatinate. With these extensions, the road network available for 25-meter trucks will cover the entire A3 motorway from the Dutch border to Austria.

Technical requirements

In addition, new regulations introduce safety requirements. The “Lang LKW” will have to be equipped with a blind spot assistant and the side-marker lights will have to be modified. These changes are expected to enter into force by 1 March 2020.

Mega trucks all the more common

Not only Germans see the potential of mega trucks. Extended trucks can be found on the roads in other European countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Spain. Recently, Belgians and Dutch have carried out the first cross-border transport using this type of vehicle as part of a pilot project. Finland increased the permissible length of the truck combination to 34.5 m in January this year. Americans are also working on the regulations permitting the use of extended trucks on roads.

There are considerable advantages to the use of mega trucks. Namely, they help to reduce harmful emissions, save on fuel and increase efficiency without the need to increase the number of employees.

Photo: Wikipedia/Teppo Lainio CC BY-SA 2.0

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