New Standard will ‘revolutionise the safety’ of HGVs

LRSC Direct Vision Standard

An initiative to protect vulnerable road users in London from the ‘most dangerous’ heavy goods vehicles will launch in October, with enforcement to commence in 2020, TfL has confirmed.

First announced in 2016, the Direct Vision Standard is designed to tackle road danger at its source by minimising blind spots on HGVs.

Under the Direct Vision Standard, HGVs will be categorised depending on the level of a driver’s direct vision from a cab – and will be given a rating between ‘zero-star’ (lowest) and ‘five-star’ (highest).

Only vehicles rated ‘one-star’ and above, or those that have comprehensive safety systems, will be able to operate in London from 2020. From 2024, the minimum requirement will be raised to ‘three-star’.

HGVs that do not meet the required Direct Vision Standard star rating will need to improve their overall safety through the introduction of ‘Safe System mitigating measures’ such as cameras, sensors and audible warnings.

HGV operators will have to apply for a permit via an online portal on TfL’s website, from October 2019 onwards.

Timeline for the Direct Vision Standard:

  • October 2019: The first permits will be issued. Trucks rated 0* will need to upgrade to a Safe System in order to get a permit
  • 2020: Enforcement begins
  • 2024: The minimum Direct Vision Standard star rating increases from one to three star

‘Positive public response’
Research shows that between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions with people cycling (63%) and walking (25%) on London’s streets, despite only making up 4% of the miles driven.

In January 2019, TfL launched a public consultation – and says the majority of respondents were supportive of the final scheme proposals.

61% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the proposed process for obtaining a vehicle star rating – while 67% strongly agreed or agreed with the proposed safe system mitigating measures (including cameras and mirrors).

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “I’m delighted by the support that the public has shown for our world-leading plans to remove the most unsafe lorries from our streets.

“In just a few months’ time London will become the first city in the world to introduce safety permits for lorries, reducing the chances of further heartbreak and tragedy on our roads.

“Improving HGV safety standards will dramatically reduce danger for both cyclists and pedestrians. This will enable more people to cycle and walk as part of their everyday routine – improving their health and helping tackle London’s toxic air.”

30 April 2019