London has become the first city in the world to introduce the Direct Vision Standard for all trucks in the British capital.
The standard rates all heavy vehicles according to safety criteria, with the lowest rating vehicles gradually removed from London’s streets.
The System was originally planned for introduction last year but was delayed because of the virus.
Under the scheme trucks of 12 tonnes and above are assigned a rating of between 0 and 5 stars, depending on how much the driver can see from the cab.
Operators of vehicles rated with 0 stars were required to be fitted with a range of safety features or else be banned.
More than 30,000 were upgraded a result.
The features required are:
- cameras covering blind spots linked to a video display in the cab
- an audible warning when turning left
- motion sensors covering the sides of the lorry at low speeds
- a prominent warning on the back of their vehicle
Transport for London (TfL) says that 3,000 vehicles have achieved the five star, top rating.
Operators of vehicles without a valid permit will be subject to a penalty charge notice of £550, and from 2024 only ones rated 3 stars and above will be allowed on London’s streets.
London’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, said: “I’m really proud that London is leading the way and our world-first Direct Vision Standard is now in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week across all the roads in our city.
“This will save lives and improve road safety from day one by reducing lethal HGV blindspots, with more than 30,000 lorries fitted with vehicle safety measures ahead of enforcement beginning.
“More Londoners are walking and cycling than ever before and by taking this bold action we are doing all we can to protect them.”
"It is a major step forward in the Mayor’s Vision Zero plan to eradicate all deaths and injuries from our roads, and is also set to transform road safety across Europe in the coming years.”
Christina Calderato, Head of Transport Planning at TfL, said: “We know that the Direct Vision Standard will protect all Londoners who walk and cycle by ensuring that the most dangerous vehicles on our streets have effective safety measures.
"This will prevent needless death and injury on our roads – there will be people alive by the end of this year who wouldn’t have been if we hadn’t taken this bold and necessary action."
According to TfL, while large trucks only accounted for 3% of total miles driven in the city from 2018-20, during that period they were involved in 41% of cyclist fatalities and 19% of crashes in which a pedestrian was killed.
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