With more than half of fatal accidents on motorways and busy roads involving HGVs, the need for improved safety standards and features has never been so high. Despite making up on 10% of the traffic on these types of roads, HGVs are still the biggest threat when it comes to accidents, injury and death on Britain’s roads. With recent statistics in mind, Transport for London (TfL) have begun planning a wave of new standards and initiatives. From the already-established Safer Lorries Scheme to the new ‘direct vision’ standard, designed to improve driver’s vision and cyclist safety; we look at TfL’s latest initiative.
New ‘direct vision’ standard for 2016
The new ‘direct vision’ standard will be announced in September. All HGVs travelling in and around the city will have to have ‘direct vision’ glass panels inserted in key areas of their vehicle. The panels will have to be placed in passenger doors, larger windscreens and in vehicles with a lower driver’s position. With these new panels, TfL hope to see accident numbers reduce and drivers gain better vision of the road.
The ‘direct vision’ glass panels will mainly serve the purpose of minimising blind spots. Researchers from Loughborough University found that HGVs with high cabs have the most blind spots. And while ‘blind spot’ mirrors and sidebars, introduced as part of London’s Safer Lorry Scheme, have made a difference to safety standards, TfL is keen to supplement this scheme with further initiatives.
About the benefits of ‘Direct Vision’, Dr. Steve Summerskill, project lead of the ‘Direct Vision’ concept at Loughborough Design School, said:
“Blind spots can be a significant factor in fatal accidents with lorries.
“…blind spots can be minimised through improved cab design, the reduction of cab height and the addition of extra windows.”
‘Direct vision’ vehicles will help drivers overcome the issues faced when operating outdated, brick-shaped lorry cabs known for their fatal blind spots. While many of the issues to date have focused on improving indirect vision, for example – through the use of mirrors – these aren’t a good substitute for direct vision.
Safety technologies for HGVs
While we have some idea of when the new standards will be announced, it’s still uncertain as to when ‘direct vision’ vehicles will be available. However, you needn’t wait to improve the safety of your HGV. At Vision Techniques, we’ve got a whole host of products designed for improving the safety of HGVs and improving cyclist safety. Our best-selling suite of products is the VT TurnSafe range, which makes cyclist safety a priority.
If you’re looking for other ways to improve the safety of your HGV, why not explore the features of VT IDent? Our RFID Vehicle Control System helps prevent against theft and accidents by controlling electrical and hydraulical elements of your vehicle on your behalf.
What is your opinion on the new ‘direct vision’ standard? Do you think it will work? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @VisionTechnique