RHA is calling on TfL to delay the introduction of stricter criteria under the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), warning that hauliers will struggle to meet the October 2024 deadline.

The call follows the closure of TfL’s consultation this week on the proposed changes to DVS, which was introduced in 2019 as part of London mayor Sadiq Khan's Vision Zero strategy, which aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from London’s streets by 2041. DVS tackles road danger at its source by minimising HGV blind spots.

Since the introduction of DVS fatal collisions involving HGVs and vulnerable road users, where vision was a contributory factor, have halved, down from 12 to six, according to TfL.

However TfL said DVS was always meant to be progressive and is pushing for even better results by tightening the standard even further.

Under the proposals, from October 2024, the minimum DVS rating for HGVs entering and operating in Greater London will move from one star to three stars.

Vehicles that have a two star rating or lower must fit a Progressive Safe System, which is a range of safety measures and equipment that must be installed on the vehicle before a permit is applied for. Hauliers must provide proof of this system to obtain a permit.

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Responding to the consultation RHA said it was supportive of Vision Zero's aims but questioned whether the new DVS requirements that TfL expect to implement from October 2024 are achievable.

It warned: “With no specifications published by TfL and a growing shortage of technicians, questions arise over whether the required ‘safe systems’ and the staff needed to fit them are available in sufficient quantities to meet TfL’s planned start date.

“Given the practical issues we raise, we believe it sensible and rationale for TfL to consider delaying the implementation date.

“Meanwhile, we encourage TfL to ensure the other aspects of Vision Zero, such as providing safe infrastructure and investing in educational awareness campaigns for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists, continue.”

TfL insists that DVS was always a progressive measure that would continue to drive even further improvements in a bid to cut deaths resulting from collisions with HGVs.

Since the introduction of DVS in 2019 TfL sais fatal collisions involving HGVs and vulnerable road users, where vision was a contributory factor, have halved, down from 12 to six.

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