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Call for action against pick-up trucks imported through loophole

Thousands of American pick-up trucks are being imported into Europe through a loophole which excuses them from meeting the emissions and safety standards of other vehicles.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) is a Europe-wide approval scheme for vehicles imported, assembled or manufactured in very small numbers. Examples of such vehicles quoted on the UK government website are ‘amateur built cars and bespoke trailers.’

a silver ram truck parked in a parking lot

However, data analysed by Transport & Environment (T&E) has revealed that an increasing number of large American-made trucks are being brought into Europe through this mechanism.  They found that in 2023, close to 5,000 Dodge RAMs were imported, a 20% increase on the previous year.

They estimate that there are currently 20,000 Dodge RAMs on Europe’s roads and that these oversized vehicles make up 60% of all IVA imports.

From 7th July this year all new cars and vans must incorporate the following safety features but vehicles can be approved under IVA without any of them.

  • Improved crash protection for vulnerable road users (energy-absorbing bonnets and front bumpers to mitigate injury severity in collisions)
  • Automated Emergency Braking (an automatic system to stop the driver crashing into the rear of another vehicle)
  • Lane Departure Warning (alerting drivers when the vehicle is about to drift outside the lane)
  • Intelligent Speed Assistance (helping drivers stay within the speed limit)
  • Drowsiness and distraction warning (alerting drivers who become sleepy or inattentive)
  • Event data recorders (helping investigate crashes)
  • Reversing detection (alerting drivers to the presence of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users behind the vehicle), and
  • Emergency Stop Signal (alerting other drivers when the vehicle is rapidly reducing speed).

Furthermore, these vehicles are not required to comply with the 2019 EU General Safety Regulation on-road tests for air pollution or the EU car and van CO2 standards.

T&E report that CO2 emissions from Dodge RAMs are around three to nine times higher than the average for new cars. 

James Nix, vehicles manager at T&E, said: ‘Pickup trucks like the Dodge RAM have no place on European streets. Not only are they heavily polluting, they are also deadly. We need to slim down the cars on our roads, not give a free pass to the biggest and most dangerous. The EU needs to close the loophole that allows these monsters onto our streets.’

A number of consumer, safety and environmental groups, including T&E, Clean Cities and the European Transport Safety Council has written to the European Commission, calling for the loophole to be closed. They highlight issues concerning three specific topics: Air pollution, Climate and Road safety (a pedestrian or cyclist struck by a pick-up truck is almost 200% more likely to die than if they were struck by a regular vehicle.

Paul Day
Paul is the editor of Public Sector News.

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