Frequently asked questions
Why long trucks?
The strong growth in German freight traffic will continue. Current forecasts by the German Government put the increase in road freight traffic alone at around 40 percent by 2030 as compared with 2010. All modes of transport must become even more efficient and environmentally friendly. Bottlenecks in the infrastructure must be eliminated, modern traffic management systems must be applied, and the dovetailing of different modes of transport must be improved. The deployment of long trucks is therefore an important tool for coping with the increasing amount of freight traffic.
What is the advantage of deploying long trucks in freight traffic?
Innovative commercial vehicles such as long trucks can make a major contribution to raising efficiency in freight traffic and transport and logistics chains. This is because they can transport the same quantity of freight with fewer journeys and lower emissions. Bundling journeys and easier loading of containers from one mode of transport to another can also help relieve the impact on freeways and assist action on climate.
What is special about long trucks?
The maximum length of long trucks is 25.25 meters. By comparison, until now the maximum length of semi-trailer combinations has been 16.50 meters, and 18.75 meters for truck-trailer combinations. Long trucks do not have a higher total permissible weight than conventional trucks. Today’s road freight traffic generally transports light but high-volume or bulky goods. In around 80 percent of transports the limiting factor is not the weight, but the loading volume. For this reason, long trucks manage with a total permissible weight of 40 tonnes, just like standard trucks.
Are long trucks not only longer than other trucks, but also heavier?
No. Long trucks are not allowed to exceed conventional axle loads or total masses. The total permissible mass for long trucks is 40 tonnes, and 44 tonnes in the initial and final legs using combined transport. These weight limits already apply to conventional trucks.
Does the deployment of long trucks cause additional wear on roads and bridges?
No. Long trucks do not cause more wear on the infrastructure than conventional trucks. This is because their total weight is distributed over more axles. Whereas the weight of conventional combinations is borne by a maximum of five axles, long trucks usually have six to eight axles. This makes for better distribution of the axle load. The result is that using long trucks does not increase the maintenance needed on roads and bridges.
Which German states are taking part in the field trial?
In Bavaria, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia, extended semi-trailer combinations measuring 17.80 m may use the entire road network pursuant to Section 2(2) of a special ordinance (LkwÜberlStVAusnV). In addition, other vehicle combinations of up to 25.25 m may use the “positive network” allowed for the field trial. Some approved freeway sections in Saxony-Anhalt connect the freeways in other federal states. Here the long trucks measuring 17.80 m must not leave the freeways unless they reconfigure before doing so, so that the vehicles conform to the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO).
What are the requirements for the drivers of long trucks?
Drivers must have held a CE driver’s license for at least the last five consecutive years, and and have five years of professional experience in commercial road freight traffic or works traffic. They must also take a special course in driving long trucks.
Are long trucks allowed to overtake other road users?
Not on the freeways. On other roads they are permitted only to overtake vehicles that are either unable to travel faster than 25 km/h, or are prohibited from doing so.
Is it safe to overtake long trucks?
Yes. Long trucks are nearly always on the freeways. Overtaking them there is just as simple as overtaking conventional trucks. According to the studies by the BASt, the overtaking maneuvers observed in the field trial were just as straightforward in terms of safety as the overtaking of conventional vehicles.
Are long trucks also allowed to enter inner-cities and residential areas?
There are no plans to deploy long trucks in residential areas. Instead they are expected to be used for logistical point-to-point transportation restricted to a selected road network. Extended truck combinations will not take over deliveries to shopping centers or supermarkets in the inner-cities. The advantage of long trucks is in the direct transport between logistics hubs, such as freight villages, terminals for combined transport, large plants, ports, etc.