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Truck vision standards launch in London

The City of London is going hard to chase out trucks with poor vision that have been the cause of many tragic crashes with bikes and pedestrians within the city.

Strict new standards—the Direct Vision Standard—kicks in from next year.

Heavy goods vehicles that fail to meet new minimum safety standards will be issued a penalty charge for driving in the capital.

The new standard is a world first and is expected to lead the way to adoption in other cities, including Australia.

Many of the big trucks on our roads seem to have been engineered to maximise blind spots.

Although Europe has been moving to gradually improve truck vision and safety, Australia and the US has been tardy.

Fortunately major projects such as the Melbourne Metro Tunnel have started down the track of insisting on better standards for truck vision, but for the rest of the sector new national standards are required.

The London Direct Vision Standard tackles road danger at its source by minimising heavy goods vehicle (HGV) blind spots which contribute to many tragic deaths and life-changing injuries.

Based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows, the unique star system rates HGVs over 12 tonnes from zero (lowest) to five (highest).

HGVs will need to meet a minimum ‘one-star’ rating by the time enforcement begins to enable them to operate in London, or will need to fit ‘Safe System’ measures to improve the vehicle’s safety.

Big lorries are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions in London. Whilst they account for just four per cent of the overall miles driven in the capital, between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were involved in 63 per cent of fatal collisions involving cyclists and 25 per cent involving pedestrians.

HGV operators who fail to meet these new minimum safety standards and obtain a permit will be issued a penalty charge for driving in the capital. The Direct Vision Standard will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be enforced within the Greater London Boundary.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m proud of our world-leading plans to remove the most dangerous lorries from London’s streets. So many of the tragic deaths on our roads involve HGVs and this new scheme will help save lives.

“Forward-looking businesses have already been choosing safer vehicles in the run up to HGV safety permits becoming available. Today the scheme has gone live and operators now have 12 months to upgrade their fleets, helping make our streets much safer for people walking and cycling.”

Full details on the standard are here.

Poor direct vision
Good direct vision