The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for commercial vehicles in London is a positive step towards better HGV road safety, but does not go far enough.

All goods vehicles over 12 tonnes now require a permit to drive into Greater London, including vehicles from outside the UK.

Enforced by TfL, the DVS legislation is based on a ‘star rating’ indicating how much a driver can see directly from the cab in relation to other road users. The legislation aims to protect vulnerable road users, such as people walking and cycling, near the vehicle.

The DVS only requires ‘indirect vision’ technology like cameras and sensors for vehicles that have a zero-star rating. However current successful schemes such as FORS and CLOCS require devices for indirect vision regardless of cab design based on direct vision.

CLOCS is a national standard that requires all stakeholders in construction to minimise collisions between vehicles servicing construction projects and vulnerable road users. The organisation works with stakeholders from across the construction industry to deliver real, long-term, and sustainable improvements.

TfL claims drivers using indirect vision have a slower response time, resulting in an increased incidence of simulated pedestrian collisions.

No one is doubting the importance of direct vision, but it relies on the driver looking in the right place at the right time to see the potential danger.

Safety technology is more than just indirect vision. It includes passive and active systems like cameras and sensors that alert the driver to something in their blind spot – which encourages them to look. Cameras also offer the advantage of providing a wider angle of view than mirrors.

In 2024 the star rating requirements will increase which means a greater number of vehicles over 12 tonnes will require devices for indirect vision, but in the meantime operators should look at bringing their vehicles in line with FORS silver requirements, which includes a rear camera, a reversing alarm and a digital recording system to record incidents and assist in driver training and development.

Emily Hardy, UK marketing manager, Brigade Electronics