TfL says an initiative to protect vulnerable road users in London from the most dangerous heavy goods vehicles has “saved lives and improved road safety from day one”.
Under the Direct Vision Standard, HGVs are given a rating between ‘zero-star’ (lowest) and ‘five-star’ (highest) – based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab windows.
Only vehicles with a valid safety permit – those rated ‘one-star’ and above – have been able to operate in London since March 2021.
The operators of lorries rated zero-star are required to fit safe systems in order to obtain a permit. This includes:
- High quality mirrors and side guards
- Cameras covering blind spots linked to an in-cab display
- An audible warning when turning left
- Motion sensors covering the sides of the HGV at low speeds
- A prominent warning on the back of their vehicle
To date, more than 136,000 permits have been issued, including more than 4,000 to 5-star vehicles.
Around 70,000 zero-star HGVs have now had safe systems fitted, ‘improving protection for people walking, cycling or riding e-scooters or motorcycles’.
The standards will tighten in October 2024, when the minimum star rating will be three-stars and above.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “Our world-first Direct Vision Standard has saved lives and improved road safety from day one, and I’m delighted that three months in, the number of lorries fitted with vehicle safety measures has more than doubled to around 70,000 HGVs.
“By working with the freight industry and taking this bold action we are making our streets safer for the increasing number of Londoners who walk and cycle in our city, and tighter regulations will be introduced in 2024.”