London’s transport authority is taking drastic action to address truck safety on the capital’s roads. According to The Guardian, some 35,000 trucks currently operating in the city could be banned in 2020.
But this is not just about London – the EU is currently planning new vehicle safety requirements for trucks, and cities all over the world are now adopting a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to traffic injuries. Finally, road safety is getting the recognition it deserves.
Sadly, trucks pose a disproportionate risk to pedestrians and cyclists, especially in urban areas. In London, trucks are involved in more than half of the city’s cycling fatalities, and more than a fifth of pedestrian deaths, despite making up only 4% of motor traffic.
As a result, Transport for London is proposing a Direct Vision Standard (DVS) that will require all trucks over 12 tonnes to have a safety permit to operate in the capital. Trucks will be assessed using a star rating system based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows. From October 2020, only one-star or more trucks will be permitted to enter the city. From 2024, trucks will need to have three stars.
Significantly, the EU is set to follow London’s DVS for trucks and is even responding to advances in safety by proposing a series of mandatory accident for all vehicles, including warnings of driver distraction and tiredness, and intelligence speed assistance. In New York City, the authorities are transitioning their service and maintenance trucks to designs with lower cabs and minimal blind spots.
For me, it’s really positive to see road safety legislation becoming tougher. However in order to reach Vision Zero, the ultimate goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries on our roads, we must strive to ensure that such legislation is also harmonized across different countries and cities.