Transport for London (TfL) has released interim direct vision star ratings for Euro VI Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) as part of the development of its proposed Direct Vision Standard (DVS).
The DVS will be the first initiative of its kind to categorise HGVs depending on the level of a driver's direct vision from a cab. HGVs will be given a rating between zero (lowest) and five (highest), with only those vehicles rated three and above, or which have comprehensive safety systems, able to operate in London from 2024.
Research by TfL shows that during 2014 and 2015, HGVs were involved in disproportionately high numbers of fatal collisions with cyclists (58%) and pedestrians (22.5%) on London's streets, despite only making 4% of the miles driven in the Capital.
Industry views have helped shape the proposals which now include plans for an HGV safety permit scheme based on the DVS ratings, and industry-recognised safety systems to reduce road danger.
If approved, the proposals will require all HGVs over 12-tonnes to hold a safety permit to enter or operate in the Capital from 2020.
It promises to be a big step forward in terms of safety for all the capital’s road users, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA). However, Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London believes the lack of clarity over which vehicles will be permitted to operate under the new scheme, is creating huge uncertainty for those unable to confirm what vehicles will be eligible for work in the capital or what equipment they will need in less than three years’ time.
“FTA has always argued that, in the long term, the really significant road safety improvements we want will be delivered through technology,” says Chapman, “However, to ensure that the capital’s businesses are able to plan and function effectively, it is imperative we have clarity as soon as possible about what the final DVS scheme is going to require.”
Nigel Butler, commercial director of Renault Trucks, supports the scheme. He stated: “Renault has worked closely with TfL throughout this consultation. While we have a number of questions regarding the interim DVS ratings communicated today, we hope that these can be resolved before the next consultation phase in the autumn. We believe the proposal for a ‘safety standard permit scheme’ is a sensible one, in particular if it builds on the learning from the existing FORS and CLOCS initiatives.”
Further information on the Direct Vision Standard concept can be found here: tfl.gov.uk/info-for/deliveries-in-london/delivering-safely/direct-vision-in-heavy-goods-vehicles