At the end of October 2019, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched the Direct Vision Standard which aims to remove the most dangerous Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) from London’s streets.
The first of its kind, the Direct Vision Standard tackles road danger at its source by minimising HGV blind spots which contribute to many tragic deaths and life-changing injuries. Based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows, the unique star system rates HGVs over 12 tonnes from zero (lowest) to five (highest). HGVs will need to meet a minimum ‘one-star’ rating by the time enforcement begins to enable them to operate in London, or will need to fit ‘Safe System’ measures to improve the vehicle’s safety.
Big lorries are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions. Whilst they account for just four per cent of the overall miles driven in London, between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were involved in 63 per cent of fatal collisions involving cyclists and 25 per cent involving pedestrians.
Operators can apply now for a HGV Safety Permit ahead of enforcement beginning on 26 October 2020. This gives them 12 months to upgrade their fleets. HGV operators who fail to meet these new minimum safety standards and obtain a permit will be issued a penalty charge. The Direct Vision Standard will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be enforced within the Greater London Boundary.
Owners of vehicles rated zero-star will need to improve the overall safety of their vehicle by fitting a ‘Safe System’ to reduce the risk it presents to people walking, cycling and riding motorcycles before enforcement begins. These include a camera monitoring system, a noise alert when turning left and sensors. Fitting the ‘Safe System’ will not improve a vehicle’s DVS star rating but will bring the safety standard of the vehicle up to allow operators to apply for a Safety Permit.
At the same time as the Direct Vision Standard is brought into force, requirements for the London-wide Low Emission Zone will be tightened so that heavy vehicles across the Capital are subject to the tough Ultra Low Emission Zone standards. These changes show the vital role the freight industry will play in both tackling road danger and cleaning up the Capital’s toxic air.
The Direct Vision Standard is part of TfL’s Vision Zero commitment to tackle the number of people being killed and seriously injured on London’s roads.
Contact: Mr Steve Newsome