Gigaliners on german roads from 2012

Berlin, 9. November 2011 – in spring 2012, the first 25-meter-long mega trucks will roll along german roads despite fierce criticism. For five years, the government wants to test in a field trial whether the use is worthwhile. The cabinet approved an exemption regulation to this effect, which will come into force on january 1, 2012. January 2012, a spokeswoman for the ministry of transport said on wednesday.

Not everyone goes along

In the spring, the first of a total of 400 trucks were actually allowed on the road. The bundestag and bundesrat do not have to approve the trial – several states oppose the test, including north rhine-westphalia with its dense highway network. Only seven states have given their approval: lower saxony, schleswig-holstein, hamburg, saxony, thuringia, hesse and bavaria. Saxony-anhalt tolerates the test, but releases significantly fewer routes.

Where the states do not agree, no mega trucks are to drive on the autobahns. This is what the exemption regulation says, said the ministry spokeswoman. The federal government is entitled to access these highways, but it is relying on cooperation. However, regionally limited tests, even in federal states that reject the rough field test, have already run. Therefore one hopes that still further countries agree to the tests. A complete route network will not be available until january 2012.

Two instead of three

Critics see major dangers for road traffic. "We fear that there will be even more accidents on the roads," said michael fromming, the lower saxony state head of the german transport club (vcd). Even overtaking was allowed to become more risky – the mega trucks are up to 6.5 meters longer than previously permitted. Therefore, according to the ministry, only drivers with at least five years of experience and no more than three points in flensburg may sit behind the wheel of a truck. In addition, despite their coarseness, the trucks are not to exceed the maximum weight of 44 tons prescribed today. "There will be no six-ton trucks, no gigaliners or mega trucks," declared german transport minister peter ramsauer (csu). Nevertheless, they are supposed to consume about 20 percent less fuel and emit less co2. "Where there are three trucks a day today, there are only two long trucks in the field trial," he says.

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