A Guide to the Direct Vision Standard

What is the Direct Vision Standard?

In 2016 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for HGVs. It was created to improve the safety of all road users.

From 26th October 2020 all HGVs over 12 tonnes entering and operating in Greater London will need to hold a safety permit if their vehicle falls short of the Direct Vision Standard star ratings. To obtain these ratings operators must contact their manufacturers as no central list has yet been created. Each vehicle type / model per manufacturer will have a star system. The DVS rates HGVs from 0 (lowest) to 5 (highest), based on how much a HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows.

The Safety Permit system which will be issued by Transport for London (TFL) is now being referred to in the guidance document as ‘the safe system’. It consists of; class v and class VI mirrors, a side view camera system and a sensor system with audible alert fitted to the front and nearside of the vehicle.

What is the purpose of the Direct Vision Standard?

The Direct Vision Standard was initially formed on the belief that the direct field of view of a truck driver should be improved by changing the entire structure of a vehicle. This included creating low-entry cabs for trucks and adding a glass panel to the passenger side door.

However, a study from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and Centre Européen d’Etudes de Sécurité et d’Analyse des Risques (CEESAR) found that vehicle safety devices such as cameras and sensors are 50% more effective in reducing fatalities and injuries than modifying truck design. Furthermore, active safety measures will draw the attention of the driver to the safety critical area or the vulnerable road users concerned.

Even with the best field of view in a low-entry cabin, a truck driver can only look in one direction at a time and still might fail to notice a cyclist or pedestrian on the other side of the vehicle.

When can I apply for a Direct Vision Standard permit?

Operators should be able to apply for a Direct Vision Standard ‘Safe System’ permit from October 2019 although there will be a final consultation in January 2019.

Is the Direct Vision Standard a legal requirement?

Unlike previous specifications that have been self regulatory in the industry including FORS, CLOCS and Van Excellence, under the Direct Vision Standard it would be illegal to operate in London without a permit or to breach permit conditions.

What are the consequences of driving an HGV that doesn’t meet DVS requirements?

All zero rated HGVs would be banned or restricted from London roads in 2020 unless they have a Safe System. Fines of £550 will be issued to operators of any lorry entering without a permit, plus a personal fine for the driver of £150.

When will my vehicles’ Safe Systems be reviewed?

The first Safe System review will take place in 2024 when it is expected that the minimum DVS rating should be increased to a minimum three stars. The review will take into account new advances in technology and safety equipment at the time. This will be called the Progressive Safe System and will only include equipment that can be retrofitted. HGVs rated zero to two stars will need to feature the Progressive Safe System from 2024.

How to achieve a higher Direct Vision Standard rating

According to Brigade Electronics the optimal system to improve all round visibility is a Backeye®360 system, or a four camera system (with an on screen display) connected to an ultrasonic proximity system – Cornerscan® or Sidescan® system to alert the driver when there is something in the safety critical area. In addition, a Backchat® real speech warning alarm will warn a cyclist that they are in a danger zone. It is anticipated that the final DVS specification will be in line with Brigade’s safety recommendations and meet FORS silver and CLOCS requirements.

More information about the Direct Vision Standard

Brigade Electronics can help advise on the Direct Vision Standard and has a nationwide network of Business Service Partners to provide installation and support.