Mobility and Transport


Review of directive 96/53/EC: Weights & Dimensions

Review of directive 96/53/EC: Weights & Dimensions

Review of directive 96/53/EC: Weights & Dimensions
Consultation period: 

Review of directive 96/53/EC: Weights & Dimensions

Consultation period: 22/12/2011 - 27/02/2012

Current EU rules and regulations

Weights and dimensions of heavy-duty vehicles operating international and national transport in the EU are ruled by Directive 96/53/EC. This Directive aims at ensuring fair competition between hauliers, ensuring that transport operations may not be refused between two Member States on the basis of the dimensions of the vehicle used. In this sense it is a Directive which contributes to the internal market and the free movement of goods and persons. Under certain circumstances and in line with the principle of subsidiarity, the Directive also permits Member States to provide derogations from the provisions for weight and height of vehicles carrying out national transport within their own borders, and to deviate in some specific case from the provisions for length and width.

There is now a case to adapt these rules which were put together during the 1990's. The Commission announced in its White Paper on Transport presented on 28 March 2011 that urgent action needs to be taken to make road transport more resource-efficient and to further integrate the various transport modes to achieve a Single European Transport Area. In keeping with these objectives, the White Paper announced that the legislation on weight and dimension should be reviewed to adapt it to new technologies and needs, and to facilitate intermodal transport and the overall reduction of energy consumption and emissions.

This revision of the Directive will eventually have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. It will be supplemented in due time by an adaptation to technical progress of the type-approval requirements on masses and dimensions for regarding heavy-duty vehicles (which defines standards to be complied with for the commercialisation of new vehicles) within the framework of Regulation 661/2009 and Directive 2007/46/EC. The revision will also feed into the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from heavy duty vehicles to be launched by the European Commission in the course of 2013.

Scope of the questionnaire

The present questionnaire will provide input for the considered revision of Directive 96/53/EC and the impact assessment to be carried out beforehand. The questionnaire addresses issues related to the energy and CO2 performance of heavy-duty vehicles, inter-modality and innovation in transport needs, specific legal issues raised by the current directive, and improvement of compliance with the regulations through controls and enforcement.

A considerable number of studies have also been carried out on the potential of vehicles combinations (European Modular System) to increase efficiency of road transport, whereas several Member States have performed or intend to perform trials on the use of such vehicles, or use them for national transport operations within the framework provided by Directive 96/53/EC. However the discussions and experience so far have not produced a mature position as to the long-term impact of a move towards such vehicles, notably as regards infrastructure, road safety, environment and modal split. The Commission will take stock of all relevant information on this subject, but does not intend to provide the framework for a general introduction of heavier and/or longer vehicles, or for their mandatory use by Member States.

How to reply to this consultation

Stakeholders may reply to this consultation via the Commission's on-line interactive policy-making tool or by submitting their replies either by e-mail or mail to the addresses indicated below. Responses submitted by any of these means will be taken into consideration but stakeholders are encouraged to fill in the questionnaire on-line as it will facilitate the processing of the replies. Contributions are welcome from citizens, organisations and public authorities.

You are strongly advised to prepare your contribution in advance before filling-in the questionnaire online. We recommend you download the electronic version of the questionnaire, to allow you to draft your answers to the open text questions carefully. After preparing all your answers, please open the online questionnaire and fill it out.

Respondents can send an electronic copy of their replies to the following e-mail address:

and/or respondents can send a paper copy of their replies to the following postal address:

European Commission
Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport
Unit D3 – Land transport
DM28 4/066
Rue de Mot 28
B – 1049 Brussels

The contributions received from stakeholders will be published on the Commission’s website, unless requested otherwise by their authors. A consent box is provided at the end of the questionnaire.

Consultation period

Questionnaires should be returned by 27 February 2012 or preferably sooner.

Important notice

Please note that this document has been drafted for information and consultation purposes only. It has not been adopted or in any way approved by the European Commission and should not be regarded as representing the view of the Commission. It does not prejudge, or constitute the announcement of any position on the part of the Commission on the issues covered. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

Rules on personal data protection apply .