The Direct Vision Standard seeks to eliminate dangerous Heavy Goods Vehicle blind spots, proven to be the cause of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and serious injuries.
Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that it has issued more than 8,000 Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Safety Permits, as part of the Direct Vision Standard since it launched in October 2019. Freight operators are required to obtain a free Safety Permit, which is needed to be compliant with TfL's world-leading scheme, before enforcement begins on 26 October.
Between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions, with 63 per cent of those involving people cycling and 25 per cent of those involving people walking. The first of its kind, the Direct Vision Standard tackles road danger at its source by minimising HGV blind spots which contribute to many tragic deaths and life-changing injuries.
Based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows, the unique star system rates HGVs over 12 tonnes from zero (lowest) to five (highest). HGVs 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.
The number of permits issued so far is encouraging. However, TfL estimates that around 250,000 HGVs are entering London each year that will need to apply for a permit by the October deadline. Every HGV over 12 tonnes will require a permit and it is possible to apply for multiple vehicle permits in a single application, making it easier for operators with larger fleets. Almost 6,000 of the permits issued so far have been done through this process.
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 500 of the 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 to receive a Safety Permit to continue operating in London. These vehicles have the lowest levels of direct vision from the driver's cab and are rated zero stars, which is why safety advances were needed.