Volvo_Cyclists 3

Industry experts have accused TfL of putting the cart before the horse with its Direct Vision Standard (DVS).

Speaking at the Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace this week (7 November), Ross Paterson, head of product and marketing at Mercedes-Benz, said customers were asking what star rating each model had on a daily basis.

“We can’t simply answer that question; there is so much uncertainty about it, but nonetheless, customers need to buy some vehicles. They have to safeguard themselves; they don’t know what to buy at the moment”

He later added: “From my perspective regrading the Direct Vision Standard and working with TfL, a lot of hard work is ongoing but it not complete. But I do feel the announcement was made a bit too early – the research should have been done first and then announced afterwards. So there is confusion.”

FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham agreed. “The mayor’s ambition, noble as it is, has seen him progressing too quickly with this. It has gone ahead of the checks and balances required and means we remain in the dark over DVS,” he said.

Hookham said there was an urgent need for clarity about the DVS specification so manufacturers could factor this in to designs where possible and customers, pressured to upgrade their vehicles to meet London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone coming in 2019, could make the correct purchasing decisions.

Read more

Paterson added: “We build vehicles for the European market rather than for specific cities or political agendas.”

Announced last year, DVS plans to introduce a star rating system from zero to five based on the level of direct vision a driver has from the cab. Although TfL published interim star ratings in September, these have been removed from its Safer Trucks website.

Tim Ward, freight and fleet engagement manager at TfL, reminded delegates that 78% of cyclist fatalities in London involved HGVs, with truck blind spots the key issue identified in police reports.

He said: “Since the first announcement, which was ‘DVS or nothing’, we have now looked at the research, spoken to manufacturers and we are about to consult on a permit scheme.

"The scheme will mean a vehicle fitted with suitable equipment [potentially sensors or cameras] could bring a zero-star truck up to the basic standard.”

Ward added TfL would launch a consultation regarding the permit scheme, what it might contain and how it might work,within a month.

Freight in the City Expo featured an extensive seminar programme that you can read about on our sister site Freight in the City including: