The way in which London works for HGVs is about to undergo a change. We are not talking about a small change here, it’s not something like a little increase in emissions fees. In fact, it is so significant that it may result in a lot of HGVs being banned from driving within the capital. This change is now happening in the wake of the new ‘direct vision rules’, after 12 months of strategic decisions and debates, these rules, at last, have been implemented. What impact will this have on you and your business?
What Is The Purpose Of The Direct Vision Standard?
Transport for London designed this new standard and received full support from Mayor Sadiq Khan. There aren’t many motoring regulations which are focused primarily on HGVs in one geographical area, but this is one of them and has one clear aim; to considerably increase safety.
The idea which lies behind the standard is that 70% of cyclist fatalities and 20% of pedestrian fatalities in London also involve HGVs. On further investigation, it was discovered that lack of visibility was the primary reason – the nature of the roads in London and the poor visibility in HGV cabs providing the combined reason. That is why the Direct Vision Standard is now in place to assess the amount of road, as well as particular important ‘risk points’ a driver is able to see solely from the cab windows – this is without the use of a camera or mirrors! The rating system uses stars, with 0 being the poorest and 5 stars being the best, HGVs which receive too low a rating will not be allowed to drive on the roads of London.
Ensuring your HGV drivers have regular training and are kept updated with the new legislation can help to increase safety on the roads of London.
What Is The Process For Rating HGVs?
1. From a seated position in the cab – general visibility assessment.
2. Four key risk areas – specific visibility assessment (these are the 4 areas which have been shown to pose the highest risk).
3. Collision data distance measurement (this is based on the amount of a person which needs to be seen by the driver so that they take action and collision does not occur).
4. Specific technical measurement which then assists in calculating the complete volume of the weighted areas which is at the highest risk which is seen by the driver.
On completion of all of these tests, the vehicle will then be rated using the star rating system. When the driver is able to see a large amount of the area around them, as well as the high-risk areas, they will be provided with a higher rating. The highest possible rating is 5 stars, the majority of vehicles which receive this rating will have remodelled cabs where the design has been focused on improved visibility.
When Will The Standard Be Implemented?
As is the case with any regulation, we’re not going to be hit with it immediately. An implementation period is now in place which allows haulage firms and manufacturers to get their plans updated and ensure they have fleets with better visibility cabs. From the year 2024, an HGV which has a rating of 3 stars or less will not be allowed to drive on the streets of London. Vehicles which are kitted out with exceptional safety systems will be the only exceptions.
This new standard comes about as a way to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the roads of London, providing a safer environment for pedestrians and drivers. With these new rules coming into effect, haulage firms are feeling the pressure to ensure their fleet receives the highest possible rating. If they fail to do so, they run the risk of losing out to the competition who have put the money into having a fleet that can drive in the capital. Of course, there are still many factors which are being considered, even the possibility of having an interim star rating to help in the initial stages, or a safe HGV permit which will let drivers quickly prove their rating.