London has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to regulations for transportation made in the UK. One of the latest moves for transport regulations come in the form of the TFL Direct Vision Standard (DVS). The Direct Vision Standard came into force from March 2021 in Greater London. If you operate or manage HGVs in Greater London, then yes, you should worry about the DVS, however, we are here to provide you with all the information to help those already operating HGVs in London, and those preparing to.
What is the Direct Vision Standard (DVS)?
The Direct Vision Standard was developed as part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero for London,. The DVS measures how well a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver can see directly through their cab windows. This is necessary to know as it indicates the risk level to any vulnerable road users, including cyclers and pedestrians, that may be close to the HGV. It also requires any and all lorries that weigh over 12 tonnes to have an HGV safety permit in order to operate within the Greater London area.
Since the Direct Vision Standard’s start date, on the 1st of March 2021, any HGVs that do not meet the DVS safety permit requirements have risked facing a £550 fine (PCN) each time they are found to be non-compliant within Greater London.
The DVS has been and will continue to operate 24/7 365 day a year. Vehicles are tracked and monitored by TFL via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras; ANPR cameras will digitally capture vehicle license plates in Greater London and check them against their database of records. If the vehicle does not meet the Direct Vision Standard requirements, a £550 fine will be issued. In an article posted by MotorTransport, it is highlighted that in the first three months of the schemes launch, more than 7,000 fines had been issued by TFL, already costing businesses millions collectively.
The Direct Vision Star Rating System
HGVs are measured through a DVS star rating system. The Direct Vision Standard star rating systems ranges from zero to five. Zero star rated vehicles will have poor direct vision and five stars will indicate excellent direct vision.
Currently, the minimum star rating requirement is one. Meaning that any vehicles or fleets that meet the Direct Vision Standard requirements of one star will simply need to apply for a DVS safety permit on the TFL website. No further mandatory action will be required.
However, if any vehicles in your fleet have received a zero-star rating, you will need to add specific Safe System improvements to these vehicles to meet the DVS requirements. Another important note to mention, is that in 2024, the minimum star rating is going to be raised to three, highlighting how important it is for HGVs and HGV fleets to be futureproofed.
How Do I Find Out My HGVs DVS Star Rating?
To obtain the DVS star rating for your vehicle(s), you can either use the contact form on the TFL website and provide your registration numbers, or contact your manufacturer, where you can provide your chassis number (CN) and they will then provide you with the ‘out of factory’ star rating. The manufacturer will provide this star rating to both TFL and yourselves. It is important to consider that any additional safety equipment installed on the vehicle will not be considered in this star rating.
No permits will be issued automatically, it is up to the fleet managers or vehicle owners to apply and register their HGVs. New permits will be required whenever a new vehicle is procured.
What Is the DVS Safe System Requirements?
As mentioned earlier, any vehicles that receive a zero DVS star rating will be required to implement safe system requirements. These DVS requirements must be added to all vehicles to comply with the DVS, avoid fines, and operate HGVs within Greater London. The safe system requirements include:
- Class V mirror shall be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle
- Class VI mirror shall be fitted to the front of the vehicle
- Side under-run protection shall be fitted to both sides of the vehicle (except where this is impractical or proves to be impossible)
- External pictorial stickers and markings shall be displayed on vehicles to warn vulnerable road users of the hazards around the vehicle
- A sensor system that alerts the driver to the presence of a vulnerable road user shall be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle
- Audible vehicle manoeuvring warning shall be fitted to warn vulnerable road users when a vehicle is turning left
- A fully operational camera monitoring system shall be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle
All zero star rated vehicles that comply with these DVS requirements will have a valid permit up to 2024, as will one or two star rated HGVs. For any HGVs that receive a rating of three stars or more, their permit will be valid for 10 years.
It is important to remember that there are no alternatives when it comes to complying with the Direct Vision Standard. These regulations have been set in place to increase the safety of drivers and vulnerable road users, and should be followed accordingly to both avoid fines, and improve safety in Greater London.
If you want to find out more about the Direct Vision Standard and how Crystal Ball can help you become compliant by adding safety systems to your HGVs, then please visit us here. If you have any further queries or questions, then please contact us and one of our friendly team will always be happy to help.