N4 – Heavy vehicles

The Weights and Dimensions of Heavy vehicles in the EU follow directive 96-53-EC.

This Directive secures the competition between the transporters and ensures that transportation between two countries cannot be prevented due to the weights and dimensions of the heavy vehicles.

The European Commission announced on 28-03-2011 that according to the White Paper, Directive 96-53-EC must be revised to adapt to the new technologies and constraints to facilitate transportation and to reduce energy consumption and emission. Therefore the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) started the consultation on 21-12-2011.

Adaptations in the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles may contribute to the improvement of transport efficiency.

Such adaptations may also have beneficial consequences in terms of traffic and transport safety and preservation of the infrastructure.

However, the technical design and the dimensions and weights of heavy vehicles also have impact on the infrastructure and the accessibility of these vehicles.

Special circumstances for each country such as the inveteracy of the infrastructure and the financial difficulties of this period must be taken into account.

CEDR’s members have very different ways of thinking about the weights and dimensions, attitudes toward longer and heavier vehicles and vehicle combinations and infrastructure challenges associated with this among member states.

This diversity makes it difficult to agree on how heavy vehicles’ weights and dimensions can be adapted to maintain or increase the performance of the road network.

An inventory of ways of thinking about the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles could form the basis for a more unified position on these issues.

The debate on weights and dimensions is narrowed for years now to the European Modular System (EMS). This issue could be broadened to other kinds of improvements by adapting weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles.

A special focus shall be put on factors that cause incidents and reduced accessibility for heavy vehicles in winter season due to such factors as tyre patterns, inappropriate axle loading and (lack of) retractable axles.



  • To keep CEDR’s members informed about on-going activities concerning the open dialogue to revise Directive 96-53-EC. CEDR must participate in this consultation to revise the Directive.
  • Making an inventory of the on-going developments and ways of thinking about weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles of the different CEDR members. This inventory will allow CEDR’s members to identify common positions on these issues,  identify topics of which further studies will be of value to many of CEDR’s members,  help to create strong, professionally grounded positions on subjects relating to the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles.
  • Consider an exploring dialogue with truck and trailer manufacturers, which could give a picture of  potential solutions to the topics outlined in the consultation on the revision of Directive 96-53-EC, such as improvements to the aerodynamic properties of heavy vehicles, other potential measures to improve transport efficiency and potential ways of reducing the impact of heavy vehicles on the infrastructure.
  • The goal concerning the content is to maintain or improve the current quality and performance of infrastructural network, with limited resources.
  • Contribute to finding solutions to the challenges outlined in this SP, by making transport «greener» by reducing energy consumption, by  improving transport efficiency and traffic and transport safety.
  • CEDR shall take direct action only if clear and visible benefits from CEDR’s involvement can be defined.

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