TfL have revealed proposals for a new star rating system for the direct vision that HGV drivers have from their cabs.
The Direct Vision Standard will categorise HGVs in relation to the driver’s direct line of sight from the cab. HGV’s will be graded from zero to five stars (five being the highest) with only HGVs rated three stars or above able to operator in London from 2024.
If the proposals are approved all HGVs over 12t will be required to hold a safety permit to enter or operate within the capital from 2020. Any HGVs rated one star or above would automatically be granted a permit, however any HGVs rated zero stars would need to have specific recognised safety systems, such as sensors and visual warnings, before a permit would be granted. The permit scheme will in no doubt evolve over time as advances in technology could make HGVs safer.
The specific details of the proposed safety permit scheme will be included in an autumn consultation. Confirmed star will also be published.
Alongside developing the Direct Vision Standard and the proposed safety permit scheme, TfL is also lobbying the European Commission for changes in international vehicle safety and design regulations to push for long term improvements to future HGV fleets.
Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, said: “Businesses across the Capital need HGVs to operate, however the number of deaths involving HGVs is unacceptable. The industry has already made significant advancements to safety and has been very keen to support to the work we are doing to go even further and develop the Direct Vision Standard. Alongside the Mayor, we are committed to ridding London’s streets of dangerous vehicles and are taking a Vision Zero approach to road danger. We welcome the industry’s feedback on our latest proposals for the Direct Vision Standard as we work together to improve vehicle safety.”
Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The proposal for Direct Vision Standards may be part of the road safety mix; however it is unlikely to be the panacea to the road safety challenges faced by London.
“TfL have not been clear about what impact the proposal will have on road safety as the focus has been on the engineering standards and visibility from the cab in isolation from other factors.”
Nevertheless, he said: “It is positive that we now have an opportunity to work with TfL and the industry to find an effective solution to improve road safety in a balanced way and to have recognition that the issue is complex and will require a lot more work to ensure that the best possible road safety benefits are obtained.”
Returnloads.net founder Richard Newbold said: “Anything that improves the safety of drivers working within the capital is great, we just need to be careful that there are no additional costs of getting these permits otherwise the cost of haulage services within the city will increase.”