TfL has praised the Capital’s fleet operators for fitting ‘vital safety features’ to their HGVs, in preparation for the introduction of its ‘world-leading’ safety standard.
The Direct Vision Standard is designed to protect vulnerable road users from the ‘most dangerous’ heavy goods vehicles by minimising blind spots.
Under the standard, HGVs will be categorised depending on the level of a driver’s direct vision from a cab – with 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 October 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.
Since October 2019, HGV operators have been able to apply for a permit to show they meet the required standards. To date, more than 8,000 have done so – prompting praise from TfL.
However, TfL estimates that there are around 250,000 HGVs entering the Capital each year that will need to apply for a permit by the October deadline.
Christina Calderato, head of transport strategy and planning at TfL, said: “It’s promising to see that so many operators have applied for permits and made their vehicles safer since our scheme went live three months ago.
“But we would strongly advise all operators who haven’t yet applied to do so now.
“It’s vital that everyone plays their role in this life-saving scheme, and I’d like to remind operators that those who fail to meet our standards will not be permitted to drive in the Capital.”
Statistics show between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions in London, with 63% of those involving people cycling and 25% people walking.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “For too long dangerous lorries have been a scourge on our roads and have been responsible for some of the most heart-breaking traffic incidents in the Capital.
“Our trailblazing initiative – which is the first of its kind in the world – tackles the issue at its source by encouraging HGV owners to switch to safer vehicles rather than face fines.
“With more than 8,000 permits already issued, the initial response from freight businesses has been encouraging. But we urge more HGV owners to sign up to the scheme ahead of enforcement beginning to help us to eradicate all deaths from our roads.”
30 January 2020