LEAD IMAGE Mayor of London launches new Safety Permit in October 2019 (1)

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launches the new safety permit in October 2019

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it has issued more than 8,000 HGV safety permits as part of the Direct Vision Standard since it launched last October.

Freight operators are required to obtain a free permit, which is needed to be compliant with the scheme before enforcement begins on 26 October.

The Direct Vision Standard seeks to tackle road danger at its source by minimising HGV blind spots. Based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows, the star system rates HGVs over 12 tonnes from zero (lowest) to five (highest).

Each will need to meet a minimum one-star rating by the time enforcement begins to enable them to operate in London or will need to fit Safe System measures to improve the vehicle’s safety.

TfL described the number of permits issued so far as "encouraging" but estimates that there are around 250,000 HGVs entering London each year that will need to apply by the October deadline.

Every HGV over 12 tonnes will require a permit and it is possible to make multiple applications at once, which TfL hopes will make it easier for operators with larger fleets.

Almost 6,000 of the permits issued so far have been done through this process.

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Operators with vehicles rated zero star will need to allow extra time to apply for their permit as Safe System measures, including cameras and sensors, need to be installed and evidenced for a permit to be issued.

HGV operators who fail to meet these new minimum safety standards and obtain a permit will be issued a penalty charge of £550 a day for driving in the capital. The Direct Vision Standard will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be enforced within the Greater London Boundary.

More than 6% of the 8,000 Safety Permits issued so far have been for zero-star vehicles. The remaining 94% of permits – more than 7,500 vehicles – are rated between one and five star, meaning they are compliant with the Direct Vision Standard until new tighter measures are brought in in 2024.

TfL also revealed that more than 500 permits have been issued to lorries previously classed as the most dangerous on London’s roads, which have been required to make vital safety improvements. These vehicles have the lowest levels of direct vision from the driver’s cab and are rated zero star, which is why safety advances were needed.

Commented Christina Calderato, head of transport strategy and planning at TfL: “It’s promising to see that so many operators have applied for permits and made their vehicles safer since our safety permit scheme went live three months ago, but we would strongly advise all operators who haven’t yet applied to do so now. It’s vital that everyone plays their role in this life-saving scheme, and I’d like to remind operators that those who fail to meet our standards will not be permitted to drive in the capital.”