Transport for London (TfL) has launched the final public consultation on its world-first Direct Vision Standard proposals, which will tackle road danger at its source by eliminating Heavy Goods Vehicles’ (HGVs’) blind spots that are the cause of so many tragic deaths and life-changing injuries.

The Direct Vision Standard, and associated Safety Permit for HGVs that have retrofitted a Safe System, will reduce road danger for people across the capital. In 2017 around 4,000 people were killed or seriously injured in collisions on London’s streets, which is unacceptable. TfL research shows that between 2015 and 2017 HGVs were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions, with 63 per cent of those involving people cycling and 25 per cent of those involving people walking. This is despite HGVs only making up four per cent of the overall miles driven in the capital.

TfL is now asking people to have their say on the final scheme proposals with a particular focus on the HGV safety permit processes. As part of the consultation, people can comment on:

  • The process for obtaining a vehicle’s direct vision star rating
  • The safe system requirements
  • The permit application and administration process
  • The enforcement and appeals process

The European Commission has followed London’s lead by including direct vision in the revised General Safety Regulation, which is the leading piece of EU road safety legislation. This is a major step in reducing road danger and will help make all HGVs safer across Europe.

The Direct Vision Standard forms a key part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero approach to eliminating all deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads by 2041. Restrictions in an HGV driver’s field of vision, or ‘blind spots’ have been identified as a significant contributory factor in collisions. The HGV Safety Permit is a holistic approach which aims to improve the overall safety of HGVs through blind spot elimination and minimisation, warning of intended manoeuvre, minimising the physical impact of a hazard and recommending driver safety training.

TfL has worked with Loughborough University and vehicle manufacturers to rate a sample of Euro IV and Euro V HGVs in the same way the Euro VI HGVs were rated. These ratings are now available directly from manufacturers.

Subject to final consultation, permits will be issued from October this year. Operators will be able to apply for a permit via an online application portal on TfL’s website to help make the process as straightforward as possible. The timeline for Direct Vision Standard is as follows:

  • 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 or a progressive Safe System.

Source and photo credits: TfL