Monday, January 27, 2020

Road Haulage Operators Warned to Get Direct Vision Permit Now if London is on Their Agenda

Heavy Goods Vehicles Heading into the Capital Will Need a Truck Safety Certificate
Shipping News Feature

UK – Transport for London (TfL) has issued more than 8,000 Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Safety Permits, as part of the Direct Vision Standard since it launched in October 2019. Freight operators are required to obtain a free Safety Permit, which is needed to be compliant with TfL's scheme, before enforcement begins on 26 October.

Between 2015 and 2017, TfL says HGVs were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions, with 63% of those involving people cycling and 25% of those involving people walking. Claimed as the first of its kind, the Direct Vision Standard tackles road danger at its source in an attempt to minimise HGV blind spots which contribute to many tragic deaths and life-changing injuries.

Based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows, the star system rates HGVs over 12 tonnes from zero (lowest) to five (highest). HGVs will need to meet a minimum one-star rating by the time enforcement begins to enable them to operate in London or will need to fit Safe System measures to improve the vehicle's safety.

TfL says that the number of permits issued so far is encouraging but estimates that there are around 250,000 HGVs entering London each year that will need to apply for a permit by the October deadline. Every HGV over 12 tonnes will require a permit and it is possible to apply for multiple vehicle permits in a single application, making it easier for operators with larger fleets. Almost 6,000 of the permits issued so far have been done through this process.

Operators are encouraged to apply for a free HGV Safety Permit now ahead of enforcement beginning on 26 October. Operators with vehicles rated zero star will need to allow extra time to apply for their permit as Safe System measures, including cameras and sensors, need to be installed and evidenced for a permit to be issued.

HGV operators who fail to meet these new minimum safety standards and obtain a permit will be issued a penalty charge of £550 a day for driving in the capital. The Direct Vision Standard will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be enforced within the Greater London Boundary.

More than 500 of the permits have been issued to lorries previously classed as the most dangerous on London's roads, which have been required to make vital safety improvements in order to receive a Safety Permit to continue operating in London. These vehicles have the lowest levels of direct vision from the driver's cab and are rated zero star, which is why safety advances were needed.

More than 6% of the 8,000 Safety Permits issued so far have been for zero-star vehicles. The remaining 94% of permits, which equals to more than 7,500 vehicles, are rated between one and five star, meaning they are compliant with the Direct Vision Standard until new tighter measures are brought in in 2024. Vehicles rated between one star and five star will be compliant until 2024, when vehicles two star and below will require a 'Progressive Safe System' in order to operate in London (subject to consultation).

TfL says the Direct Vision Standard is a key part of it's Vision Zero commitment to tackle the number of people being killed and seriously injured on London's roads.