In October 2024, the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), a permit to drive HGVs into Greater London, will undergo significant changes that all operators must be aware of. One of the key changes is the minimum star rating requirement, which will increase from one to three stars. This adjustment signifies a higher emphasis on safety, particularly for vehicles that fall short of the star rating. To obtain a permit, these vehicles will now need to be equipped with extra safety equipment.
Previously, the permit for additional safety equipment for HGVs was referred to as a “safe permit.” However, starting in October 2024, it will be known as the “Progressive Safe System” (PSS). This transition is part of the broader effort to enhance safety standards. The PSS introduces the latest advancements in technology, which means that some operators may need to replace their existing equipment with new, more advanced technology.
The PSS requires a significant shift in technology. Unlike the previous safe permit, which required obstacle detection systems on the nearside, the Progressive Safe System demands technology that can predict collisions based on the trajectories of the vehicle and the vulnerable road user (VRU). This prediction is crucial in determining if a collision is imminent. Furthermore, the system includes a specified alarm strategy designed to alert the driver to the severity of the situation.
The new predictive technology represents a departure from what drivers may be accustomed to. As a result, there is a need for the re-education of those who are familiar with older VRU detection systems.
For example, the Brigade Electronics Sidescan® Predict system employs algorithms to predict the likelihood of a collision by distinguishing between static objects such as road furniture, and moving objects, considering factors like the vehicle’s turning intentions, speed, position, and VRU direction. One key feature of the Brigade system is its ability to avoid false alerts, which may lead untrained drivers to mistakenly believe the system is not functioning correctly. This new technology demands a different mindset from drivers. Moreover, the specification requires blind spot information systems to warn the driver if the system is not working as intended, and in such cases, a red LED light will alert the driver.
To ensure the correct functioning of the system, it’s essential to have blind spot information systems in place. These systems play a crucial role in warning the driver if any issues arise with the safety equipment.
The PSS also requires a sensor system at the front. This was recommended in the safe permit, but not mandatory and so few operators fitted it. The front system requires two alarms; one when the driver detects a VRU when preparing to move off and one when the vehicle detects a VRU as it has began its forward manoeuvre.
It’s important to clarify the distinctions between UNECE Regulation 151 and 159 and the DVS requirements. These regulations have different detection areas. For instance, in terms of side detection, Regulation 151 allows for a specific gap, whereas DVS mandates detection right up to the side of the vehicle. The same applies to front detection, where Regulation 159 allows a gap, but DVS requires detection right up to the nose of the vehicle. The General Safety Regulations (GSR) reference whole vehicle homologation rather than individual components. Therefore, a product meeting Regulations 151 and 159 may not necessarily meet DVS requirements at the aftermarket stage.
The PSS outlines specific test procedures, placing the responsibility on DVS equipment manufacturers to confirm that their products meet the requirements through a ‘sensor functionality statement.’ Manufacturers must also provide details on how their products integrate with other systems without compromising safety-critical aspects or vehicle performance. Products with an E-mark certification will meet these requirements.
Operators will need to upload documentation with photographic evidence of compliance. This documentation will be crucial for monitoring and enforcement. Any non-compliance issues identified later can be readily traced back to the manufacturer used. It is essential for fitters to confirm that the sensors fitted to the vehicle are active and installed in compliance with the technical PSS specification. This approach will promote both product and installation quality.
Sidescan®Predict instantly alerts the driver to potential dangers via a multi-stage in-cab visual and audible warning system, according to the urgency of the situation – therefore minimising the number of audible alerts and reducing false alarms.
Radar Predict utilises a single dual-radar unit placed on the nearside of a vehicle, encompassing the trailer, and incorporates a trailer discovery mode to eliminate false alerts when an articulated vehicle is turning.
Brigade’s camera monitor systems enable drivers and operators to manoeuvre and drive safely. HGV camera systems can help the driver to see blind spots and offer a reversing aid by delivering a live feed on the monitor of everything in the camera view, including people or obstacles.
Our DVS map below outlines the area of London where the DVS regulation is currently in force and where permits are compulsory. Don’t forget this will apply to all vehicles weighing more than 12 tonnes, whether they are from the UK or traveling into London from overseas.