London to impose direct vision standard for HGVs entering the capital

London is to introduce the world’s first direct vision standard for HGVs, which will see the most ‘dangerous lorries’ banned from entering the capital by 2020.

Under plans announced today, mayor Sadiq Khan wants to create a star rating system from 0 to 5 to rate HGVs based on the level of direct vision the driver has from the cab.

Lorries will be rated ranging from ‘best in class’ (those using features like low-entry and remodelled cabs to drastically reduce blind spots), to ‘not suitable for urban environment’ (those construction vehicles designed for off-road use with drivers high up in the cab making blind spots nearly three times larger).

It is proposed that those lorries with a zero star rating would be banned from London by 2020 and by 2024, only those achieving three stars or above would be permitted entry.

A proposed enforcement timetable is to be launched right away, followed shortly by a consultation process, which the mayor said will help with giving operators enough lead time to prepare for the ban.

Khan said: “Our ground-breaking Direct Vision Standard will be the first of its kind in the world, directly addressing the issue of lethal driver blind-spots. I’m also proud that TfL will lead by example and will not use any zero-star lorries in its supply chain from the new financial year.”

He added: “By continuing to work closely with industry, using TfL and public sector procurement and announcing our plans now, I’m confident that many of our lorries will now be upgraded well before the ban comes into place, and the benefits of a new era of  modernised and safer HGVs felt by all road users across London.’”

The mayor justified his decision with the claim that HGVs were involved in 22.5% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist fatalities on London’s roads in 2014 and 2015, despite only making 4% of total road miles driven.

The restriction of drivers’ field of direct vision by vehicle design has been proven to have contributed to many of these fatalities, the mayor’s office said.

It is estimated that by 2020, only 8% of HGVs in London will be zero star-rated as opposed to 18% today.

There are currently around 35,000 of the zero star-rated ‘off-road’ HGVs currently operating on London’s roads, and they were involved in around 70% of cyclist fatalities involving lorries in the last three years.

TfL and the Greater London Authority group will adopt the new standard in all future contracts from the new financial year, and also work with developers and councils to encourage them to do the same.

Leon Daniels, MD of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “Lorries designed in the 1970s and for use in a quarry have no place on the streets of a 21st century city.

“Our Direct Vision Standard has been developed using extensive technical research and builds on the success of working in partnership with both vehicle operators and manufacturers through Clocs.”

TfL said it has discussed the draft direct vision standard with a number of industry bodies that have “welcomed a clear direction on HGV safety”.

Today’s proposals supersede plans that previous mayor Boris Johnson hoped to introduce in London to make additional low level passenger door window panels mandatory. TfL said subsequent research has shown that the plans would have had “little impact on cyclist safety and no impact on pedestrian safety.”




  • avlowe

    80% of the cycle fatalities begin with the front nearside corner of the truck colliding with the rear offside corner of the bike, and the cyclist landing on the road in the location guaranteed to have them run over by every (8-10T) axle – and crush injuries to the torso or head are not normally surviveable. This totally exposes to misinformed campaigns claiming that it is cyclists riding up the nearside that needs to be dealt with to resolve the problem. Most crashes also happen when the driver is making a full lock left turn, and driving into the road space which was ‘invisible’ behind the A Pillar and mirrors. At 15 mph there is less than 0.5 seconds between seeing the road space and driving through it and a theory that power steering has made this rapid turning, all too easy. Other common factors include the fact that the corner is ‘sub standard’ a tight kerb radius, arrowed space by hoardings and guardrails and over 90 degree turns are part of the mix, which should ring alarm bells

    One measure not being discussed is action to prevent any person knocked down by the front of the truck from going under the wheels. Trams have lifeguards – why not trucks? The issue is exacerbated by the fact that many construction vehicles are being purchased to N3G standards when they clearly will never be used in any places which require this, and a survey of hauliers by CLOCS revealed that almost 50% did not know the difference between N3 and N3G, or simply bought the off-road vehicles because they thought it was essential. Reducing that gap to around 30cm would almost immediately remove the potential of running over a a person knocked down in front of the truck – just try sliding under a 30cm gap

    Even the DfT’s latest effort is a crass misrepresentation. For a start the driver is attempting to overtake in the lane for the oncoming traffic barely 20 metres from the junction, contra to several Rules in the Highway Code, but most notably Rule 182. The left turn is from Monier Road E3 into Dace Street – (no one would be making that turn as Dace Street goes back to the same cul de sac as Monier Road!). The turn is lazy – just look at the steering angle and the continuity is poor – the truck has headlights on but no sign of any rear lights or brake lights (PG9?). Any alert cyclist would spot the situation and slam on the brakes. The whole ‘constructed’ sequence is not coherent – with the truck slowing the cyclist is alongside the cab and moving ahead – yet in the next frames the cyclist is behind the truck.

    Most HGV-Pedestrian fatalities begin with the truck setting off from a stop line, or in traffic which is stop-start and the pedestrian is crossing in front and invisible. With the high underside of the cab the impact will knock the victim down rather than push them forwards, and the result is almost inescapable. One quick-fix is to make sure that a stop-line us further back from a crossing – a detail which should be picked up by a safety audit of the road but this whole process is not published and done internally by the roads authorities. Just as Police crash investigations – we could learn so much if the detail was published in a no-blame format.