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How Direct Vision Could Ban HGVs From London Roads

>> Dec 8, 2017

The way HGVs operate in London is about to undergo a substantial change. After several years of debate and research, the implementation of the Direct Vision Standard regulations has come into force. This radical change could see many HGV's being banned from the London roads.


What Is The Direct Vision Standard Used For?

Direct Vision is a recently devised standard incorporated by the Transport for London authority with full support from mayor Sadiq Khan. It is one of the few motoring regulations focused directly on the use of HGVs within a specific geographical area and its sole objective is to increase the safety of the roads. The premise behind the Direct Vision standard arose from statistics indicating that 70% of cyclist fatalities and 20% of pedestrian fatalities within London involved HGVs. When researchers examined these statistics, they found that the reason for the fatalities was mainly a lack of direct visibility - a mixture of poor visibility within the HGV cab and the view from London roads. Many HGV companies welcome this new standard and Tom McGhie from HGV jobs provider Easy as HGV, believes that by helping everyone ensure they are using, contracting or buying lorries with high levels of driver direct vision, we will increase the demand and supply of such vehicles to the point where these safer trucks are the main lorry of choice in the Capital, other cities and around the world." The Direct Vision standard approaches this issue by assessing how much of the road and 'risk points' are visible to a driver from the windows of the HGV cab without looking in mirrors or cameras. The system is rated using a star design with zero stars being the lowest and five stars being the highest. An HGV with a score of one or below will be banned from driving within London.


How Is an HGV Rated?

1. Assessment of the average visibility when sitting inside the HGV cab.
2. Specific assessment of average visibility from the HGV cab in four key risk areas which, via a detailed analysis of research data, will present with the greatest risk to driving.
3. A measurement of the collision data distance. This measurement is based on how much visibility is required for a driver to notice a pedestrian or cyclist in order to take action for collision avoiding tactics.
4. Defined technical measurements are reported and used to identify the overall volume of the area of greatest risk as seen by the HGV driver.

When all the above tests have been conducted, the vehicle will be awarded a specific star rating. The higher the star rating, the greater the level of visibility for the driver when sitting in the HGV cab including the areas of risk. Five stars is the highest and best rating to be achieved. The majority of five star HGVs tend to have remodelled cabs that are designed to increase the amount of driver visibility.


What Is The Implementation Date?

As with all regulations, the implementation date of the standard is not immediate. An implementation period is in place and this provides manufacturers and haulage companies time to update plans and purchase new HGV fleets with increased visibility cabs. As of 2024, any HGV with a three-star rating or under will be disallowed from driving in the London area. An exception to this rule would be vehicles with significant and comprehensive safety systems. The concept behind the Direct Vision standard is to reduce the number of fatalities within the London area, thereby creating a safer place for pedestrians and motorists. According to these regulations, haulage firms have been placed under pressure to achieve high ratings for their HGV fleets. If they do not, they will risk losing business to rivals who are investing in vehicles eligible to travel through London. Of course, there are elements still being discussed and consultations may present an interim star rating system to help with the overall implementation of the full rating system.

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