Transport for London (TfL) has announced its launch of a final public consultation on its proposal for a Direct Vision Standard for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
The Direct Vision Standard, devised to eliminate blind spots on lorries and large vehicles, was designed to reduce the risk of road accidents caused by HGV drivers’ limited field of vision. HGV owners will be encouraged to retrofit their vehicles with Safe Systems compliant with the standard, which will qualify them for the associated Safety Permit for HGVs.
Restrictions in the field of vision of HGV drivers have been identified as a significant contributor to the high rate of collisions, leading to the initial proposal of a Direct Vision Standard. Research conducted by TfL has shown that, despite making up only four per cent of road traffic in London, HGVs were disproportionately represented in fatal road collisions between 2015 and 2017, 63 per cent of which involved cyclists and 25 per cent involving pedestrians. In 2017 around 4,000 people in total were either killed or severely injured in road collisions on London’s roads.
Speaking in praise of the Direct Vision Standard, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman said: “I am proud that London will be the first city in the world to take such bold action to remove the most unsafe lorries from our streets. We are not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads.”
TfL’s final consultation with the public on the Direct Vision Standard will focus particularly in the process of acquiring a Safety Permit for HGVs, outlining the criteria for the permit and emphasising the necessity of minimising HGV blind spots. Pending the approval of the consultation, the first round of permits are expected to be issued in October 2019; with operators invited to apply for permits via TfL’s website.