TfL lorry safety plan to embrace more holistic approach

Published: 30 November 2017

TfL lorry safety plan to embrace more holistic approach
TfL has started a recent consultation regarding the DVS (Direct Vision Standard) system in place for lorry drivers in the capital. They have pledged to a “more holistic approach” to the safety of trucks and their drivers, choosing to focus on direct vision, suggesting the adoption of a safety permit scheme rather than simply banning HGV models.

The DVS system involves a 0-5 star rating model, choosing whether trucks should be able to operate within London, the system was put in place to gauge the level of direct vision available while within a cab as a driver, this is in an effort to improve road safety for road users in the capital.

Industry stakeholders had expressed concerns they felt regarding the high costs for operators who have faced outlay to purchase emissions-complaint Euro 6 trucks for operation in London, which could now be a waste of money and resources for them if they are banned due to the new planned approach.

Those who responded and discussed earlier consultations made suggestions that direct vision shouldn’t be the only option considered for improving the safety of lorry drivers working within London. TfL have accepted that other options must be considered, and also conceded that truck manufacturers were failing to produce sufficient redesigned cabs suitable for London operators.

Direct vision will remain at the core of the ideas produced, TfL also stated other aspects must be taken into account via their permit scheme, meaning indirect vision aids designed to lessen the blind spots of HGVs in London, it would also involve a warning system for other drivers near the vehicle. This would mean developing physical hardware for the HGVs which would reduce the danger and damage caused with impacts as well as a recommended urban driver training course that would focus on venerable road user safety.

The star rating as mentioned in the direct vision scheme would determine how much input would be required per vehicle. Vehicles rated 0 would simply not be granted a permit unless other elements were addressed while others might need updated and suitable equipment for travel in London but don’t prove to be a major hazard for London travel.

“Our research into the impact of the Phase 1 consultation proposals has shown that direct vision for current HGV fleets is very poor and it will be some years before manufacturers can produce enough vehicles with sufficient direct vision,” said TfL.
 
“It also showed that an opportunity for greater safety benefit exists if we set the ambition for HGV safety wider than looking at direct vision alone. It is therefore necessary to take a more holistic approach and review additional safety measures that may assist in reducing road danger before improved designed cabs become widely available.”
 
The transport firm continued: “In line with the Mayor’s Vision Zero principles we are proposing to take a ‘safe system’ approach, as we do for bus safety risk. We intend to develop and deliver this safe system through our preferred scheme option of an HGV safety standard permit scheme.
 
“Under this proposal, in 2020, all larger HGVs (Class N3 over 12 tonnes) working in or entering Greater London would require a safety permit to operate, regardless of how good their DVS rating is.
 
“HGVs rated one star and above would automatically be granted a permit. HGVs rated zero star will be granted a permit in 2020 only if they meet specific measures in a defined safe system. In 2024, HGVs rated below three stars would need to prove they meet the standards of an updated ‘progressive’ safe system.”
 
TfL expressed: “This proposal does not require HGVs with poor direct vision to adopt practices or equipment that are not already approved and commonplace in the industry.

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