IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, has welcomed the enforcement of rules to raise driver visibility standards in lorries to reduce incidents caused by blind spots.
It follows moves that now require all lorries over 12 tonnes to have a Direct Vision Standard (DVS) safety permit which is enforceable across inner and outer London in a bid to provide more protection for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
More than 90,000 heavy goods vehicles have already been awarded permits.
The legislation is part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘Vision Zero’ initiative aimed at eliminating road deaths and serious injuries on London’s streets by 2041.
The legally required safety permit is based on a Vision Star rating which shows how much a driver can see other road users directly from their HGV cab and, subsequently, if any safety equipment needs to be fitted to the vehicle.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: “Once again Transport for London is leading the way on the use of procurement standards to drive road safety.
“If direct vision standards can be a requirement in London, then IAM RoadSmart can see no reason why they should not be specified in transport contracts across the UK.”
Safety technology to bring non-compliant lorries up to the required standard includes blind-spot cameras with in-cab video displays, audible left-turn warning systems and prominent warnings on the rear of the vehicle.
Meanwhile, IAM RoadSmart is urging that direct vision should be a contractual requirement for companies buying in transport services in urban or sensitive areas where they know pedestrians and cyclists may be at risk.
Neil added: “While a few companies understand that good road safety helps them deliver on corporate social responsibility, every company understands financial benefits and these can be substantial for fleets who embrace a safer culture. The new standards are a big step in the right direction, but they could be enhanced even more if TfL was to insist on mandatory training for HGV drivers. Educating cyclists and pedestrians on the risks to them caused by limited vision from large vehicles must also continue.”