I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the way London works for HGVs is about to change. We don’t mean a little change either, like a small hike in emissions fees. We mean a change so drastic that it could easily see many HGVs banned from driving in the capital. This comes in the wake of the new ‘direct vision rules’, which have finally been implemented after a long year of debates and logistical decisions. But what does this mean for you?
What Is the Direct Vision Standard For?
Direct Vision is a new standard devised by Transport for London, with the full support of mayor Sadiq Khan. It is one of the few motoring regulations aimed very squarely at HGVs ion a certain geographical area, with the sole aim of increasing safety significantly. The idea behind the system stemmed from the fact that 20% of pedestrian fatalities and 70% of cyclist fatalities in London also involve HGVs. When researchers looked into this further, they discovered that the main reason for this was due to lack of visibility – a combination of bad visibility in HGV cabs and the nature of London’s roads. So the Direct Vision Standard is designed to assess how much of the road and certain key ‘risk points’ a driver can see solely from the windows of their cab – no using mirrors or cameras at all! The rating system will work with 0 stars being the lowest and 5 stars being the highest, with any HGV scoring too low being banned from driving on London’s roads.
How Are HGVs Rated?
- Assessment of general visibility while sitting inside the cab
- Specific assessment of visibility in 4 key risk areas (the 4 areas which, through detailed data analysis, have proven the greatest risk)
- Measurement of collision data distance (the measurement based on how much of a person needs to be seen to allow the driver to take action to avoid the collision)
- Defined technical measurements are taken, which are used to calculate the total volume of the weighted area of greatest risk that can be seen by the driver.
Once all of those tests have been completed, the vehicle will be awarded a star rating. The higher the star rating is, the more the driver can directly see of the area around them, including the areas of greatest risk. 5 stars will represent the best rating possible, and most vehicles with this rating will have features like low-entry or remodelled cabs, which have been specifically designed to increase visibility.
What’s the Implementation Date?
Of course, like any regulation, this won’t hit us right away. There is an implementation period in place, which basically gives manufacturers and haulage firms time to update their plans and purchase new fleets with higher visibility cabs. From 2024, any HGV with a star rating of 3 or lower will be banned from driving on London’s fair streets. The only exception to this would be vehicles that have significant and comprehensive safety systems in place.
The idea behind this new standard is to reduce fatality and accident rates on London’s roads, creating a safer space for motorists and pedestrians alike. Under these new rules, haulage companies are under huge pressure to achieve the highest star ratings they can for their fleets. If they don’t, they risk losing business to the competition who have invested in vehicles that can drive in London through these regulations. Of course, many elements are still in consultation, and there are even talks of an interim star rating system to help build up to the real thing, or a safe HGV permit to allow drivers to easily prove their rating. To find out what you need to do to check if your HGV is up to code, or to enquire about driving jobs in London, just get in touch with us today.