The Mayor of London’s announcement last Friday of the latest version of his safety proposals for HGVs – the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) - in London could be a big step forward in terms of safety for all the capital’s road users, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the largest transport trade association in the UK.
The proposals, to be introduced for all HGV operators across the capital from 2020, could now make an allowance for technological solutions such as in-cab cameras and sensors around vehicles to improve safety, alongside regulations governing the visibility standards required from the cabs of HGVs.
However, as Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London, explains, the lack of clarity over which vehicles will be permitted to operate under the new scheme, is creating huge uncertainty for those unable to confirm what vehicles will be eligible for work in the capital or what equipment they will need in less than three years’ time.
“FTA has always argued that, in the long term, the really significant road safety improvements we want will be delivered through technology,” she says, “and we are glad that this point, which we have made repeated to the Mayor and TfL, is now being listened to. However, to ensure that the capital’s businesses are able to plan and function effectively, it is imperative we have clarity as soon as possible about what the final DVS scheme is going to require.”
The Direct Vision Standard, proposed by Mr Khan’s office at the start of the year, uses a “star rating” from 0-5 to rate HGVs based on the level of vision has directly from the cab. As Direct Vision only provides a limited benefit, FTA has argued that this is the wrong measure to pursue as a sole focus of a regulation. Technology has an unlimited potential to improve safety and FTA believes it is this that should be supported.