Safety First: Direct Vision Standards Being Set for HGVs

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Anyone who has carried out delivery work in HGVs around the capital will know how challenging the constant traffic, combined with cyclists and pedestrians, can be on London’s busy streets. But now Transport for London (TfL) is attempting to do something to help HGV drivers avoid collisions with ‘vulnerable road users’.

Following research carried out by TfL which noted the quicker response time in drivers with direct vision rather than indirect vision (ie. through mirrors), a new Direct Vision Standard is to be introduced.

Currently in a consultation phase, the new standard will rate HGV vehicles based on the amount of direct vision they allow the driver while they are on the roads doing delivery work.

Using a star system, vehicles will be rated as follows:

• 0 stars for vehicles with the lowest direct vision
• 3 stars for a good level of vision
• 5 stars for the highest levels of direct vision

TfL hopes that by 2024 only HGVs with three stars or above will be allowed to drive on London’s roads.

What the Research Showed

The research, commissioned by TfL, explored reaction times to vulnerable road users when seen directly, compared to when seen through mirrors. It also examined the difference in driver behaviour towards one of these road users when the driver was in a traditional cab compared to a low-entry cab.

Carried out by putting drivers through a series of computer-simulated incidents, the research showed that the responses of drivers with direct vision were quicker than those with indirect vision. It also found that the number of drivers colliding with a pedestrian was 40% higher in a traditional HGV cab than a low entry cab.

The research showed that the amount of direct vision a driver has could dramatically affect driver response times. On average a driver required to check blind spots in monitors was 0.7 seconds slower than one who could check directly through a window. While this might sound a tiny amount, it actually results in a lorry travelling an extra 1.5m before seeing a vulnerable road user while doing delivery work in the capital.

Get Involved

TfL is currently carrying out a 12-week consultation on the new Driving Vision Standard for HGVs. Started back in January, it will continue through until 18 April 2017, giving drivers like you the chance to get involved and put your opinions forward.

The idea of the consultation is to work out a way to best use the Driving Vision Standard to make life on London’s roads safer for everyone; those carrying out delivery work and those living and working in the capital.

Get involved in the consultation process by visiting the TfL website and searching ‘Direct Vision Standard for HGVs’ and then fill out the online consultation questionnaire. If you want to discuss the new standard further you should contact Hannah White, Freight and Fleet Programme Manager at TfL.

About author: Desiree Michels

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.


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