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TfL Moves Goalposts For HGV Drivers Ahead Of DVS Regulations

TfL is demanding more of HGV drivers, but is it for their own good? Transport for London (TfL) has recently announced new guidelines.

From October 2024, all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) weighing more than 12 tonnes and operating within Greater London must either have a three-star Direct Vision Standard (DVS) rating or install the Progressive Safe System (PSS).

This announcement follows the decision by London Transport and Environment Committee on Monday, June 12, to introduce modifications to the capital’s HGV safety permit scheme under the Direct Vision Standard.

To aid in a smooth transition, TfL will be providing a three-month grace period, which will be reviewed for possible extension in June 2024.

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London’s politicians imagine a safer future for the capital

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, leading the charge for climate change, transport, and environment matters for London Councils, expressed the city’s commitment to achieving “Vision Zero” – a target of zero deaths on London’s roads. He emphasized the commitment to enhancing road safety for all users.

Introduced in 2019, London’s HGV safety permit scheme mandates all HGVs over 12 tonnes to secure a free safety permit for operation in London, regardless of its DVS star rating. The DVS star rating itself offers a measure of the direct vision a driver has from the cab, a critical factor given that collisions often happen in areas that are hidden from direct sight.

In outlining the scheme’s significance, TfL revealed that fatal accidents where impaired vision was a factor saw a dramatic reduction from 12 in 2018 to a mere 3 by 2023. Since the scheme’s inception, a whopping 253,745 safety permits have been issued. Impressively, 94% of HGVs in London now operate with a safety permit.

What will the new changes really look like?

Changes outlined by TfL under this system include:

  • Enhanced guidelines on mirror usage and camera monitoring systems (CMS) to replace mirrors.
  • Obligatory CMS installation on vehicles to erase all blind spots on the passenger side.
  • Integration of Moving Off Information Systems (MOIS) to prevent collisions at frontal blind spots when a vehicle begins its motion.
  • Compulsory audio warnings on all vehicles, including those with left-hand drives, to signal any planned manoeuvre.

What should HGV drivers do next?

TfL encourages all HGV operators with zero to two-star rated vehicles to register with them before January 31, 2025, showing proof of scheduled appointments for PSS installations. This provision, however, will not be applicable for new vehicle Safety Permits post-October 28, 2024.

As a bonus, TfL is enhancing the user experience with improvements like an online tool for operators to verify vehicle permits, streamlining the HGV safety permit application process.

Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of transport strategy and policy, reiterates their unwavering commitment to Vision Zero. She recognises the essential role of safety in vehicle design and acknowledges the DVS’s substantial contribution to reducing vision-related fatal collisions by three-quarters from 2018 to 2023.

Calderato affirmed TfL’s determination to use all available resources to eliminate tragic road incidents and emphasized that fortifying the safety systems for HGVs is a crucial step in that direction.

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