Here’s what we know right now about the Direct Vision Standard
The Direct Vision Standard is a vital consideration for any haulage operators moving through London, and something most operators are already preparing for. Alongside the ULEZ, it’s one of the latest sweeping regulations being applied across the city, aimed at reducing accidents and collisions within London’s boundaries.
Specifically, the Direct Vision Standard is being implemented in response to the serious dangers that HGVs still pose to vulnerable road users – official statistics have shown that London’s heavy vehicles are involved in 63% of fatal collisions with cyclists, and 25% of fatal collisions with pedestrians. With the help of the Direct Vision Standard, authorities hope to reduce fatalities to zero by 2041.
It all makes up-to-date vehicle safety technology a more pressing priority than ever for fleet managers, especially since their companies could face heavy fines if they’re found not to be compliant. Permits for the scheme have been available since October 2019, and the original deadline for compliance was the 26th of October 2020. However, the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 changed that, and now Transport for London have announced that there will be no charges payable for non-compliant vehicles under these standards until the end of February 2021. (We’ll go into more details on the updated timeline below.)
So if you’re one of the many fleet managers and hauliers now looking to refresh your knowledge of the Direct Vision Standard, we thought we’d take a second to recap all the vital information it’s important for hauliers to know right now, and what you can do to make sure you’re compliant in time for the next major milestone.
What is the Direct Vision Standard?
In a nutshell, the Direct Vision Standard assesses and rates how much an HGV driver can see directly from their cab (i.e. without the use of cameras or other devices). It does this through what’s known as the Direct Vision star rating. According to this system, individual vehicles are awarded a star rating between 0 and 5, from lowest to highest. Vehicles with a high enough star rating will be awarded a safety permit, which will allow them to travel freely within London’s boundaries.
Under the measures set out by the Direct Vision Standard, all HGVs over 12 tonnes entering or operating in Greater London will need a safety permit. From 26 October 2020, this permit scheme will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will be enforced on all roads within the Greater London boundary. Drivers and operators working within London will need to have their permit before then. (However, all new charges and associated enforcement activity will be postponed until the end of February 2021, according to an announcement from TFL in April 2020.)
Without this permit, both the employer and the individual driver will face financial penalties. The current proposal involves a fine of £550 per offence, with the driver additionally being fined £150.
How can I get an HGV safety permit?
An HGV safety permit will be available via the Transport for London permit application web portal, and applications have been open from October 2019. The permit will be free of charge, and automatically awarded if your HGV is rated as 1-star. (From October 2024, this requirement will change to 3-star.) You can find out the DVS rating of your vehicle by contacting your manufacturer, as no published list is currently available. You’ll need the vehicle’s VIN number to hand.
What do I do if my vehicle doesn’t merit one star under the Direct Vision star rating?
If your HGV doesn’t meet the required standard, don’t worry – the likelihood is that relatively few unmodified vehicles will. You can still get your HGV safety permit by applying for the Safe System.
What is the Safe System?
At its core the Safe System is a specification, similar to FORS and CLOCS, which requires the driver to have indirect vision devices to improve visibility and general awareness. Essentially, it’s a series of vehicle safety measures that are designed to elevate the safety of especially vulnerable road users, including cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
The requirements for a Safe System include a fully operational camera monitoring system, Class V and Class VI mirrors, a side-view camera system and an audible alert linked to sensors on both the front and back of the truck. There also need to be devices which give ample warning to other road users about an impending manoeuvre.
Here at Vision Techniques, we stock a wide range of vehicle safety technology to fulfil every one of these requirements. Our vehicle camera systems contains a broad array of models ideally suited to cover all angles on an HGV – and can be enhanced with our TurnAware and TurnSensor systems, which have been specifically developed to keep drivers keenly aware of any approaching cyclists or pedestrians.
Meanwhile, our TurnAlarm and TurnSign systems have been developed with similar purposes in mind, clearly signalling when an HGV is about to make a turn and thereby warning cyclists and motorcyclists to keep clear until it’s complete.
From the end of February 2021, all 0-star HGVs over 12 tonnes will be banned from travelling in London unless they’re able to prove a Safe System. (The original deadline of 26 October 2020 was postponed to give the industry more time to adapt in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.)
From 26 of October 2024, all 0-2 star HGVs will be banned unless they prove a Progressive Safe System.
What is a Progressive Safe System?
The Safe System will be reviewed and consulted upon in 2022, at which point it will take into account any new technology or safety equipment which has been developed in the intervening years. Once approved, this safety technology will then become part of the Progressive Safe System. So essentially, it’s an upgraded version of the existing standards, adjusted to account for evolving technology.
The Progressive Safe System will have its own requirements of any new technology; it must be retrofittable to HGVs, recognised within the industry, readily available on the wider market, and not cost-prohibitive, in order to maintain a level playing field for all operators. From October 2024, any HGV that’s classed below 3 stars by the Direct Vision Standard will need to prove a Progressive Safe System in order to qualify for a permit.
Updated timeline of the Direct Vision Standard
We’ve touched upon various dates throughout this post, but just to recap them quickly:
– 26 October 2019 – Applications open for HGV Safety Permits
– 28 February 2021 (formerly 26 October 2020) – Direct Vision Standard comes into full force across London. 0-star HGVs (i.e. those which have been awarded 0 stars under the Direct Vision star rating) are banned from driving or operating within city limits.
– 2022 – Safe System is reviewed and consulted for Progressive Safe System implementation.
– 26 of October 2024 – Requirements for HGV Safety Permits are raised to 3 stars. Vehicles below this rating will be banned.
Here at Vision Techniques, safety is our passion, and many products in our vast range of vehicle safety products is perfect to ensure your HGVs are compliant with the Safe System requirements laid out by the DVS. You can browse the best products for your fleet right here on our site, or alternatively give our friendly sales team a call on 01254 679 717, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help!