Volvo Trucks Global
Volvo Trucks Global

Why has London implemented a Direct Vision Standard for HGVs and how will it affect you?

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Heavy goods vehicles are involved in more than half the cycling fatalities on London’s roads, and more than a fifth of pedestrian deaths, despite making up only 4% of motor traffic. London’s transport authority, TfL, is taking drastic action to address the issue – here’s how it's likely to affect you.

TfL’s proposed Direct Vision Standard (DVS) will require all HGVs over 12 tonnes to have a safety permit to operate in Greater London. Trucks will be assessed using a star rating system from zero (poor) to five (excellent), based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows. From October 2020, only one-star HGVs will be permitted to enter the city. From 2024, HGVs will need to have three stars.

It’s important to note that the European Commission has indicated that this is likely to roll out to other cities across Europe. That’s why truck owners need to keep a close eye on the coming developments – they’re certainly going to have a considerable impact on the transport industry in Europe.

Thankfully, in London, it will be possible to retrofit existing trucks that don’t comply with the 2020 regulations by adopting the proposed ‘Safe System’ – a series of measures designed to reduce the risks HGVs present to cyclists and pedestrians. These include a camera monitoring system, class V and VI mirrors, driver sensor systems, audible warnings and external stickers to alert vulnerable road users, plus sideguards to prevent under-run collisions. A ‘Progressive Safe System’ has also been outlined ahead of the 2024 requirements. It will take into account additional technology or safety equipment not available in 2020.

As truck manufacturers respond to increasing safety demands, new truck designs with improved visibility will come to market. Some are likely to have lower cabs that place the driver almost at eye level with cyclists and pedestrians (although that has its own disadvantages), others will offer a combination of features for better direct vision – enlarged side windows and slimmer, straighter A pillars coupled with enhanced sensor systems.

I believe what is happening in London is just the start – traffic safety regulations in urban areas all over the world are set to have a significant effect on the transport industry. Ensuring maximum visibility for drivers in cities must therefore be a primary concern for fleet owners in the near future.

(DVS star ratings are now available from truck manufacturers – to enquire about the current rating of your trucks you will need to provide the chassis number).

Do you want to learn more?

Feel free to download my guide about the new London Direct Vision Standard. I hope you find it useful.


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