London’s Direct Vision Standard wins backing from public

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Transport for London’s Direct Vision Standard, aimed to increase the safety of HGVs, has been backed by the public.

Research by the organisation found the majority of respondents were supportive of the final scheme proposals, including the permit application process, Safe System requirements and enforcement of the scheme.

The Direct Vision Standard will tackle road danger by minimising HGVs’ blind spots, an improvement which will now be included in future European road safety regulations.

Restrictions in an HGV driver's field of vision, or 'blind spots' have been identified as a significant contributory factor in collisions. 

Research shows that between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions with people cycling (63%) and walking (25%) on London’s streets, despite only making up 4% of the miles driven in the capital.

To overcome this, HGVs will be categorised depending on the level of a driver's direct vision from a cab, and will then be given a rating between 'zero-star' (lowest) and 'five-star' (highest).

Only those vehicles rated 'one-star’ and above, or those that have comprehensive safety systems, will be able to operate in London from 2020. From 2024, the minimum requirement will be ‘three-star’ or a Progressive Safe System.

 HGVs that do not meet the required Direct Vision Standard star rating will need to improve the overall safety through Safe System mitigating measures such as cameras, sensors and audible warnings.

Alex Williams, director of city planning at TfL, said: “Our plan to reduce road danger around HGVs is a world first and will save hundreds of lives.

“By working with the freight industry and listening to their views, we are creating a scheme that works for everyone.

“We are delighted that the European Commission has included direct vision in their recent safety review and hope that it encourages other cities and countries to prioritise safety in freight.”

The majority of the 280 respondents were in favour of the proposals presented for the final scheme, including:

  • 61% of the total respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the proposed process for obtaining a vehicle star rating
  • 60% of the total respondents stated either they strongly agreed or agreed with the proposals for the permit application process
  • 67% of the total respondents stated they either strongly agree or agree with the proposed safe system mitigating measures (including cameras and mirrors)
  • 57% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the plans for how to enforce the scheme and deal with appeals.

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