The Direct Vision Standard [DVS] proposed by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London aims to improve the safety of HGVs operating in the capital. It plans to reduce air pollution and the number of injuries and deaths caused by HGVs.

Over the past 3 years, HGVs were involved in 20% of pedestrian fatalities and over 70% of cyclist fatalities, despite HGVs only making up 4% of road miles in London.

If approved the new proposed scheme would require all HGVs over 12 tonnes to hold a safety permit to operate in greater London from 2020. These permits will be given on a star rating scale from 0-5 [0=lowest and 5=highest.] based on the level of direct vision from the driver’s cab. Vehicles rated a 0 star would automatically be banned which comprises approximately 50-60% of the current fleet unless it meets specific measures in a ‘safe system.’

By 2024 only 3 star-rated HGV’s and above would automatically be given a safety permit. Those vehicles rated 2 star and below which comprises approximately 90% of the current fleet would need to demonstrate increased safety through progressive safe system measures. The safe system will effectively have 3 components;

  • Area of risks to address
  • Specific measures
  • A process for setting, testing and maintaining the system.

Measures could include sensors, audible or visual warning around the vehicle, physical protection and driver training.

It is worth noting that these plans are currently in Phase 2a of a consultation process which is expected to last until Spring/Summer 2018 when the final proposals for the HGV Safety Standard Permit Scheme are expected.

The uncertainty of the future is making businesses face very difficult decisions when it comes to purchasing fleets and future planning with many being forced to postpone the acquisition of new Euro-6 vehicles until the Direct Vision guidelines have been fully released.

If your fleet operates in London and you would like advice on current and future transport laws, contact Farleys Solicitors’ transport law department on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry through our online contact form.