Consultation starts on London truck mirror safety

London: A six-week consultation starts today on the proposed “Direct Vision Standard” for operators travelling into and out of London. But there are concerns about the city-specific nature of this and otjher planned regulation of trucks.

The Freight Transport Association does not believe that individual cities should be setting vehicle design standards.  Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy Freight Transport Association, says: “The future of road safety will be delivered through technological development and new vehicle design standards which FTA believes will be best set at an international level.

“It is misleading to expect all vehicle designs to be modified for the UK market – new cab design takes years and millions of pounds of investment to be brought to market, and manufacturers are unlikely to develop new vehicles for use in a single city, even one as busy as London.

” TA has always believed that technological innovation is the only way to deliver the mayor’s vision for an end to deaths and serious injuries on the capital’s roads by 2041.”

Chapman recommends operators make a point of responding as the voice of the logistics industry has already been heard in the process to date.

“It is encouraging to note that many of FTA member’s suggestions have already been taken on board as plans for the London Direct Vision Standard have progressed with a recognition of the need for greater detail on how the programme will actually operate now available,” Chapman says.

“It is also welcome to see that those operating larger fleets will not be required to provide as much detail as first thought – logistics is already one of the most heavily legislated sectors of industry, and additional bureaucratic burdens at a time when the industry is under great economic and trading pressures would have been untenable.

“FTA is still keen to see how DVS can be adapted and moderated to make it workable for all, without the need for unnecessary financial penalties, time or operating burdens.  If the industry can make its voice heard, we are confident that TfL will listen to what we have to say, for the sake of the London economy.”

Fruit and vegetable supplier Reynolds temperature-controlled Mercedes-Benz Econic truck with Sentinel 360-degree camera systems that sound a warning when a cyclist is alongside, as well as strobe lighting for use when crews are unloading at night

Direct Vision Standard and Safety Permit for HGVs

The Direct Vision Standard for heavy goods vehicles assesses and rates how much a driver can see directly from their HGV cab in relation to other road users. The Direct Vision Standard forms part of a proposed Safety Permit for all HGVs over 12 tonnes entering London.

The irect Vision Standard was created to improve the safety of all road users, particularly vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The Direct Vision Standard uses a star system to rate HGVs over 12 tonnes from 0 (lowest) to 5 (highest), based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows.

Consultation has shaped the Direct Vision Standard proposal which now includes an HGV Safety Permit. If the proposal is approved, HGVs over 12 tonnes entering or operating in Greater London will require a safety permit. The permit scheme will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Subject to final consultation, permits for the scheme will be available from October 2019.

  • From 26 October 2020 all 0-star HGVs over 12 tonnes will be banned unless they prove a Safe System (this is the same date that Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards strengthen for heavy vehicles London-wide)
  • From 26 October 2024 all 0 to 2-star HGVs will be banned unless they prove a Progressive Safe System

The permit application and administration process consultation is open from 8 January – 18 February 2019.  This is the third phase of consultation.

Safe System
The Safe System is a series of vehicle safety measures which are designed to reduce the risks HGVs present to cyclists and pedestrians. The core Safe System proposals include:

  • Blind spot elimination and minimisation, for example: a fully operational camera monitoring system; Class V and VI mirrors; and a sensor system with driver alerts
  • Warning of intended manoeuvre, for example: audible left-turn vehicle manoeuvring warning and external pictorial stickers and markings
  • Minimising physical impact of a hazard, for example: side-underrun protection

Driver Training  
When applying for an HGV Safety Permit, vehicle operators will be asked to outline their policy and plan to train all their drivers (including for 1-5 star HGVs).

Progressive Safe System
The Safe System will be reviewed and consulted on ahead of 2024, and will take into account any additional technology or safety equipment not available in 2020. Any new equipment or technology proposed for the Progressive Safe System must be retrofittable to HGVs, industry recognised and readily available on the market at the time. HGVs below 3-star will need to feature the Progressive Safe System from 2024.

Feedback from the third Direct Vision Standard public consultation in early 2019 will feed into a review of the HGV Safety Permit guidance document

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