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LCC success: London lorries get safer from March

London Cycling Campaign | 25th February 2021

Photo credit: Dennis Eagle/ Explore

From 1 March all heavy lorries operating in London will have to meet a one star Direct Vision Standard (1* DVS). This is a world's first - that lorries will be only permitted into a city when they either have better direct vision from the lorry drivers' seat to the road and pavement around them, or have good mitigation systems to back up their vision. And it's thanks directly to LCC and your campaigning we've won this action from the Mayor. All lorries entering London from 1 March will need to avoid having the most dangerous blindspots and restricted vision, or show evidence of specified “safe system” mitigating measures including video camera and audio alert warning systems. Because of Covid, operators who have ordered new safety equipment and applied for DVS permits will be allowed 90 days grace after 1 March to install it. Many lorry operators, notably those who are registered with the Fleet Operators’ Recognition Scheme (FORS) at Silver Grade or who are Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) standard members (an industry-led programme) will already have fitted the required mitigation measures to all their vehicles. Subject to the grace period, all lorry operators working in London will now have to show permits for vehicles above 12 tonnes or face fines of up to £550.

LCC’s campaign to end lorry danger

LCC’s campaign to improve lorry safety dates back more than a decade following recognition of the significant over-representation of HGVs in pedestrian and cycling fatalities (20% of pedestrian and 50% of cyclists fatalities). To reduce the danger, we first argued for a full set of six safety mirrors on all lorries, and subsequently made the case for both driver training (the government approved Safer Urban Driving module) and much better “direct vision” (not via mirrors or cameras) as seen on refuse and airport vehicles. Thousands of you supported our campaign and it's thanks to you, London’s Mayors and those in the industry who helped develop new standards that the scheme is in place from March. Transport for London, both under Boris Johnson and then Sadiq Khan, strongly supported lorry safety and developed the Direct Vision Standard which will now apply across London rising from 1* to 3* in 2024 (the maximum is 5*).  In 2016 Mayor Sadiq Khan made a commitment to LCC to get the most dangerous lorries off our roads – the new 1* DVS standard is a significant step towards meeting that goal. Already, almost all refuse vehicles and all airport vehicles in London meet a 4* or higher direct vision standard and most leading lorry manufacturers offer vehicles rated at 3* DVS or above in most categories. The number of highly-rated designs is also certain to increase as a consequence of EU regulations that LCC played a part in lobbying for too.

A Europe-wide DVS manufacturing standard

Thanks to the advocacy of the London Mayors, and UK government, and with support from LCC, the Transport and Environment organisation, European Cycling Federation and others, a version of the DVS standard is being developed by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Under the EU’s revised General Safety Regulation, approved in 2019, it will apply to all new lorry types made in the EU as of 2026 and all new lorries as of 2029. The European Commission anticipates that better direct vision and the other safety measures it approved “will help save over 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038. This will contribute to the EU's long-term goal of moving close to zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050 ("Vision Zero").” Mayor Sadiq Khan has a Vision Zero target of no road fatalities or serious injuries by 2041 that again London's permit scheme is set to help achieve. So, again, thank you all for your action on the road danger too many of us face.