The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced proposals for a 'star rating' for driver vision.
TfL’s Direct Vision Standard will use a rating from 0 to 5 stars to rate construction and other heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) based on the level of vision the driver has directly from the cab.
Under the plans to be consulted on shortly, the most dangerous ‘off-road’ HGVs will be banned from London’s streets entirely by January 2020.
These HGVs would be ‘zero star rated’ by the Direct Vision Standard. Only HGVs meeting 3 stars or above – ‘good rating’ in the new Direct Vision Standard - would be allowed on London’s roads by 2024.
Recent data shows that HGVs were involved in 22.5% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist fatalities on London’s roads in 2014 and 2015, despite only making 4% of the miles driven in the Capital. The restriction of drivers’ field of direct vision by vehicle design has been proven to have contributed to many of these fatalities.
There are around 35,000 of the zero star-rated ‘off-road’ HGVs currently operating on London’s roads, and they were involved in around 70 per cent of cyclist fatalities involving HGVs in the last three years. It is this type of vehicles the Mayor has pledged to remove from London’s roads by 2020.
TfL and the wider Greater London Authority group will lead by example and adopt the new Direct Vision Standard in all future contracts from the new financial year, to ensure that no trucks with poor direct vision are used in their future supply chains.
The Mayor and TfL will also work with developers and councils to encourage them to do the same, and the Mayor has pledged to continue pressing the EU to introduce new EU wide safety standards for HGVs.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: ‘I’m not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads. The evidence is clear – HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the last two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.
‘I’m determined to ensure the most dangerous zero star-rated lorries are removed from our roads completely by 2020. Our ground-breaking Direct Vision Standard will be the first of its kind in the world, directly addressing the issue of lethal driver blind-spots. I’m also proud that TfL will lead by example and will not use any zero-star lorries in its supply chain from the new financial year.
‘By continuing to work closely with industry, using TfL and public sector procurement and announcing our plans now, I’m confident that many of our lorries will now be upgraded well before the ban comes into place, and the benefits of a new era of modernised and safer HGVs felt by all road users across London.’
Leon Daniels, managing director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “Lorries designed in the 1970s and for use in a quarry have no place on the streets of a 21st century city. Our Direct Vision Standard has been developed using extensive technical research and builds on the success of working in partnership with both vehicle operators and manufacturers through the award-winning CLOCS. It will help bring the whole lorry fleet up to modern safety standards. The right lorry in the right place keeps a city functioning."
Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy London, responded: “The Mayor’s proposed plan is a much more targeted approach which we welcome. Improving direct vision is in principle a good idea, FTA has been advising members to purchase vehicles with improved direct vision for several years - they should continue to do this, as this can only help. But it would be wrong to think of this as some kind of a silver bullet – research suggests that in some incidents involving lorries and cyclists, this may not help.
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