Only 12% of HGVs have DVS permit ahead of March deadline

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Transport for London (TfL) has issued 50,000 Direct Vision Permits to date, accounting for just 12% of currently licenced HGVs.

From March 1, all vehicles weighing 12 tonnes or more will need to display a valid permit to operate in the city.

According to telematics firm SmartWitness, which published the data, less that 60% of the 91,800 HGVs in London and the south-east have a DVS permit.

Introduced with the support of London Councils, the scheme is expected to reduce death and serious injuries in the Capital.

Vehicles are assigned a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window. If the vehicle does not meet the required standard, additional equipment such as mirrors, sensors and cameras must be installed.

TfL agreed to give HGV owners an extension if it is sent a proof of installation date from an approved DVS supplier before March 1.

SmartWitness and Brigade Electronics, which both produce equipment that can help HGVs achieve compliance, say they have been approached by several fleets looking to take advantage of the 90-day extension.

Fearghal MacGowan, Smartwitness’ MD for EMEA, said: “Most fleets have done too little too late, and are only now getting round to preparing for DVS and so there is a massive bottleneck on installations. There is simply no way we will fit in the orders by the March 1 deadline.

“The only way around this is to book an installation now and SmartWitness can get on to TfL and get an extension granted. We are sending TfL the proof of install date before the end of May so that it falls inside the 90 day Grace Period on letterheaded paper, as will our partners and resellers.”

Emily Hardy, Brigade’s UK marketing manager, said: “Our market intelligence shows many operators were ahead of the game with regards to fitting DVS.

“However, the last three months have been our busiest on record and we anticipate the next few months will be even busier. Intelligence from our sales teams strongly suggests there is a huge amount of people still unaware of requirements, despite tremendous PR and marketing on the topic.

“We believe that many operators were focused on a no-deal Brexit and delayed decisions with regards to DVS and any capital outlay, especially companies based in Europe.

“Many have not given themselves enough time and, with the recent lockdown, will undoubtedly struggle to meet the deadline.

“The consequences of failing to do so are stark. If you have not received confirmation of your permit by March 1 your vehicles will not be recognised by the Automatic Number Plate recognition cameras – and you will receive a penalty charge notice.”

TfL has announced other leniency measures, such as aiming to process multi-applications within 10 days rather than 28 and processing single-vehicle applications within one working day of receipt. Manufacturers will also be issuing star rating certificates for new vehicles which will further speed up the process.

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