Hauliers could be asked to make further changes to their trucks to meet new Direct Vision Standards criteria being mooted by Transport for London (TfL).

TfL has launched a consultation on a series of proposals to tighten up the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and HGV safety permit scheme. 

The proposed changes are designed to improve the safety standards of HGVs operating in the capital with the aim of further reducing the risks HGVs pose to vulnerable road users such as people walking and cycling.

TfL’s HGV safety permit scheme, first introduced in 2019 as part of the DVS, requires all operators of HGVs weighing more than 12 tonnes to apply for a free permit to operate in London.

The scheme has delivered significant results with data showing that fatal collisions involving HGVs - where vision is cited as a contributing factor - halved from 12 in 2018, which is the year before the scheme was introduced, to six in 2021.

Hauliers are granted the HGV safety permit if the vehicle meets the minimum DVS star rating, which is based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab windows.

Ratings range from zero stars - the lowest rating with poor direct vision - to five stars for the highest rating with excellent direct vision.

Vehicles that do not meet the minimum requirements, currently one star, must already have or fit the ‘Safe System’.

This is a series of vehicle safety measures, such as mirrors, sensors and cameras, which are designed to reduce the risks that HGVs present to people walking and cycling.

TfL is now asking for people to have their say on recommendations to enhance the current Safe System, taking into account new and emerging technology or safety equipment that was not previously available.

Announcing the consultation TfL said: “Moving to a new Progressive Safe System is vital to TfL’s and the Mayor’s continued efforts to meet the Vision Zero goal of eliminating all deaths and serious injuries from London's transport network by 2041.

“TfL estimates that these new safety requirements will be applied to around 165,000 vehicles, which is 90% of the existing fleet operating in London.”  

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Proposed changes to the Safe System include: 
• Updating existing guidance on the use of mirrors and mirror-replacement Camera Monitoring Systems (CMS)  

• The requirement for CMS fitted on vehicles to eliminate any remaining blind spots on the passenger side

• Sensors ensuring full coverage down the passenger side of all vehicles to detect vulnerable road users. They must not activate in relation to roadside furniture or stationary vehicles
• Moving Off Information Systems (MOIS) fitted to the front of a vehicle to prevent collisions at the frontal blind spot zone when a vehicle moves off from rest  
• Audio warnings fitted to all vehicles, including those with left hand drive to ensure all vehicles operating in London have the ability to warn of an intended manoeuvre 

The consultation is open until 3 April 2023 with the feedbackhelping help to inform and finalise the development of the Progressive Safe System requirements.
Christina Calderato, TfL's director of transport strategy and policy, said: “It’s crucial that all vehicles using London’s roads have safety at the forefront of their design and our world-first Direct Vision Standard has helped to significantly improve lorry safety.

“We will continue to take every possible measure to eradicate deaths and serious injuries from our roads, which is why we are proposing to enhance the safe systems for HGVs. All feedback to our consultation is important to developing the best possible set of requirements and I'd encourage everyone affected to take part.”   

Victoria Lebrec from Action Vision Zero said: “TfL should be commended for the Direct Vision Standard Scheme. The risk that HGVs pose to people walking and cycling is unacceptable, and it will not be possible for London to prevent death and injury on its roads until HGV blind spots are eliminated. 

“I personally lost a leg when the driver of a skip lorry turned left across my path in 2014, and I'm certain that the crash would have been prevented had the driver's vehicle been a five star vehicle.

“Many people have been killed and seriously injured since my crash, and I'm grateful to TfL for its commitment to preventing these crashes happening in the future.”