“Driving ban for Trucks with no turn-off assistant”

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Almost weekly cyclists or pedestrians to die by a turning Truck. This long-existing technology could prevent many of these accidents, explains a traffic expert.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr Lottsiepen why it always comes back to this serious, often fatal turn accidents with Trucks?

To The Person

  • Katja Täubert

    Gerd Lottsiepen is the traffic political speaker of the environmental transport club VCD in Berlin. The 64-year-old studied social scientists committed to sustainable mobility, in its focus on the vehicle and the environment””. For over 20 years Lottsiepen the annual “car-environment-list” of the VCD, which is awarded to particularly eco-compatible production vehicles.

Gerd Lottsiepen: the Problem of the dead angle, from the metre-high driver’s cab are certain areas of the roadway difficult to see. Therefore, alone, are prescribed on the right side of the Truck four mirrors by law. However, in the stressful city traffic with lots of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, traffic lights – it is still very difficult to keep track of them. It was therefore already developed some years ago, the electronic turn-off assistant, which helps drivers in such situations. Unfortunately, this is not required today by law.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How does this assistance system?

Lottsiepen: Is a moving object, so a cyclist or pedestrian, in the lateral monitoring zone, to detect these radar sensors, and the truck driver will first visually informed. In the event of imminent collision, a visual and acoustic warning.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And that is useable in practice?

Lottsiepen: Absolutely, in the passenger Car are blind spot assistant, already been available for years. Since the 2016 Mercedes-Benz turn-off assistant for a new Truck, aftermarket systems are on the market. But the System has not yet. Here, the insurers accident research (UDV) has already demonstrated five years ago that the wizard half of the Truck-turn accidents with pedestrians and cyclists could be avoided. In the previous year, a round table in the Federal Ministry of transport to the Truck was set up on the Initiative of the General German Bicycle club-turn-off assistant.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: what was the outcome?

Lottsiepen: The then Federal government delegates the issue to the EU, on the road has, until today, nothing changed. At the technical feasibility of it is not. The Truck manufacturer has been the development of a cornering wizard, already ten years ago an award for safety innovations – but in series, the product never went.


Lottsiepen: I can’t say, probably because it costs money. At Mercedes-Benz, currently the only Truck manufacturer to offer a cornering wizard, is the extra cost for the System is around 2500 Euro. The Berlin Dekra-chief denies that the costs are so high: Radar – or infrared-based turn-off assistant costs of his statement to a maximum of 200 to 300 Euro. But even 2500, EUR not so much, when you consider that a new Mercedes Actros for long-distance transport costs in the basic equipment locker 120,000 euros. In the case of Mercedes, only every fourth newly sold Truck is also equipped with the turn-off assistant. There are also companies that offer the turn-off assistant for the retrofit, but the biggest part of the Truck without this technique.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What do you throw a policy and to manufacturers?

Lottsiepen: you have the Problem on the irresponsible way out: The number of Truck-turn accidents killed people is on the rise, now is an average per week of a dead bike rider, or pedestrian to complain – and also children. And, although the Truck could be equipped with life-saving technology.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you explain this Sit?

Lottsiepen: There is a lack of political will and sense of responsibility on the part of the Truck manufacturers as well as companies and municipalities, the trucks in your fleet. The cost for such a wizard – even if it’s 2500 Euro more at the Mercedes-Benz – may not be a reason to abandon the technology. 2500 euros is nothing, if as a result, the life of a child, his family, and in the Rest of the Truck is not destroyed in the driver. Without a political framework is going to happen here, but still nothing.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How far is the policy?

Lottsiepen: The EU provides for a European-wide regulation for new Trucks until the year 2022. Federal transport Minister Andreas Scheuer must now set all levers in motion, so that a retrofit with the turn-off assistant will be made on the national level as soon as possible and binding. The called in this spring, the Federal Council. From our point of view need to also get the municipalities, the legal, a-minute Express prohibition for Trucks without cornering wizard.

The turn-off assistant, however, is only the first step, he needs to be quickly with an automatic braking coupled. Moreover, intersections must be rebuilt. Truck driver, Bicycle and pedestrian must be able to see each other much better.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Who should from their point of view for the retrofit?

Lottsiepen: Pay should be the company itself. Because of all the trucking companies would be affected, there would be no competitive disadvantages. And also for the driver the turn-off assistant would be a great help: no one wants’ve killed a human. Federal transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has invited on Tuesday to the “action turn assistant”: the representatives of the forwarding companies, logistics associations, manufacturers, suppliers, Cycling and road safety organisations to come together then. We are excited to see what it has to say CSU Ministers on the subject.

Video: death case of a dead angle – cyclists against Truck



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