TfL launches proposal for new Direct Vision Standard to improve road safety

Data from 2018 to 2020 showed  HGVs were involved in nearly half of the fatal collisions involving people cycling and 19 percent  involving people walking. TfL wants to further improve the safety standards of HGVs operating in Greater London, reducing the risks to vulnerable road users such as people walking and cycling.

In 2019, when the first phase of the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) was launched, TfL made a public commitment that the minimum safety rating for all HGVs over 12 tonnes entering and operating in Greater London would be raised from one star to three starts from 25th October 2024. Those vehicles which remain at zero, one, or two stars must provide evidence upon application that the Safe System requirements are in place. This is known as Progressive Safe System or PSS. In addition, operators must prove that the necessary equipment has been fitted to the vehicle and is functional to obtain a permit. It is estimated that around 165,000 vehicles, or 90 percent of the existing fleet operating in London, will need to fit the PSS. 

Transport for London (TfL) has recently launched a new consultation on its latest proposals for the HGV safety permit scheme in London. The Safety System proposal would require all vehicles, left-hand drives included, to be fitted with an audio warning.

Research shows the benefits of improved direct vision but notes that replacing entire fleets with several possible technological improvements to aid indirect vision is not feasible. The operational limitation of ultrasonic sensors with high incidents of false activations was recognized, meaning that detailed performance specifications would be required should these be recommended as part of the PSS. There are significant safety benefits of installing sensors when turning left and moving off. These could prevent some of the most common types of collisions. 

Summary of the proposed PSS elements

A. Improving indirect vision 

A.1 Updating existing guidance on the use of mirrors and mirror-replacement Camera Monitoring Systems (CMS), as technology has improved, to allow the use of both systems, which may reduce the driver’s cognitive workload. 

A.2 CMS fitted on vehicles must eliminate any remaining blind spots. This gives the driver a visual alert of an approaching vulnerable road user and prevents collisions in the blind spot area. 

A.3 Sensors must ensure complete coverage down the nearside of all vehicles to detect vulnerable road users. They must not activate with roadside furniture or stationary vehicles. This aims to prevent left-turn collisions. 

A.4 Moving Off Information Systems (MOIS) sensors must be fitted to the front of a vehicle to prevent collisions at the frontal blind spot zone when a vehicle moves off from rest. 

B. Warning vulnerable road users of intended maneuvers 

B.1 Audio warnings must be fitted to all vehicles with left-hand drive. This ensures all vehicles operating in London can warn of an intended maneuver. 

B.2 Warning signage requirements remain unchanged as no safety evidence supports alteration. 

C. Minimising the physical impact of a hazard 

C.1 Sideguard requirements remain unchanged as no safety evidence supports a change. 

Source: TfL

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