Local legislation, when it comes to logistics movements in the UK, is a “minefield” and TfL’s proposed Direct Vision Standard for HGVs in the capital is “not the answer”.
Speaking at the Truck to The Future debate at last week's Microlise Transport Conference, Laurence Drake, business planning director at Daf Trucks, called on local governments throughout the UK to end the “minefield” of differing local legislation and standards.
He also called for clarity on where HGV manufacturers needed be in five years' time.
“If we know, then we can get there,” Drake said. “When you look at TfL's requirments, the danger is they almost become laws because you cannot quote for a tender [without meeting them].”
Martin Flach, product director at Iveco, said he did not see the Direct Vision Standard in London –which assesses and rates how much an HGV driver can see directly from their cab – “as being the real answer” to improving vulnerable road user safety.
The standard, which remains under development, rates a vehicle against a five-star scoring system based on the driver's direct vision from the cab (as opposed to indirect vision via aids such as mirrors and cameras).
Flach thinks technology is a more cost-effective way to save lives. “There is nothing quite like an advanced emergency braking system for forward-facing collisions – So, can you do that for potential collisions at the side of a truck? [This would relieve] the driver of the decision.”
Mark Grant, UK aftersales director at Scania (GB), called on local governments throughout the UK to give the industry clear guidelines.
“What do councils want? They need to agree it across all metropolitan boroughs and in London. Manufacturers are good at coming up with great designs once we know what we have got to design for. I am a great believer in devolved power but there has to be co-ordination,” he said.
“We need a single view on what we are going to build to. And we will meet it because that is what we do.
“It is the operator that will pay if we have to do different designs. Margins are thin enough in logistics,” Grant added.
DHL Supply Chain has also recently called on devolved cities to apply a consistent approach to transport requirements.