London’s Direct Vision Standard: everything you need to know

Direct Vision Standard for London

From 26 October 2020, HGVs over 12 tonnes will be BANNED from entering or operating in Greater London unless they pass a new Direct Vision Standard (DVS).

The date coincides with the new London-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards for heavy goods vehicles.

The Direct Vision Standard is being rolled out to protect and improve the safety of all road users, particularly pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. It includes a new star rating based on how much a lorry driver can see through their cab windows.

Lorries are rated from 0 to 5, with any 0-star vehicles over 12 tonnes banned unless they incorporate a series of safety measures (Safe System) to reduce the risk to vulnerable road users. The Safe System includes the following:

  • Blind spot elimination and minimisation, i.e. a fully operational camera, Class V and VI mirrors and a sensor with driver alerts.
  • Warning of intended manoeuvres, i.e. audible left-turning warning system and pictorial stickers.
  • Physical impact minimisation, i.e. side-underrun protection.

Operators and drivers are also advised to take part in appropriate training, although this is not a requirement for the Safe System permit.

Fitting a Safe System will not change a vehicle’s Direct Vision Standard star rating, but will bring the safety standard of the vehicle up to a level required for a permit.

The Direct Vision Standard will affect 188,000 HGVs operating in London, with some 35,000 expected to be banned in 2020 and 94,000 by 2024 if standards aren’t improved.

From 26 October 2024, all 0 to 2-star HGVs will be banned unless they prove a Progressive Safe System. Transport for London (TfL) will review the system in 2022, taking into account new technology not currently available.

HGVs account for just 4 percent of London’s traffic but are disproportionately represented in fatal collisions. From 2015 to 2017, HGVs were involved in 63 percent of cyclist fatalities and 25 percent of pedestrians.

‘Vital for saving lives’

Direct Vision Standard information

Christina Calderato, head of transport strategy and planning at TfL, said: “Our Direct Vision Standard and its associated HGV Safety Permit is vital for saving lives on London’s streets and achieving Vision Zero.

“We thank the freight industry for their input and support throughout the stages of development. We are just three months away from the first permits being issued and encourage all operators to check the star rating of their vehicle, so they are prepared and compliant.”

Permits will be issued from 28 October 2019, with enforcement beginning on 26 October 2020. The Direct Vision Standard will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be enforced on ALL ROADS within the Greater London Boundary.

Non-compliant HGVs will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £550 per day, which will be reduced by 50 percent if paid within 14 days.

Direct Vision Standard ratings for Euro IV, V and VI vehicles are available from vehicle manufacturers. The contact details for each manufacturer can be found here.

Brigade Electronics has provided this handy infographic, which provides a useful overview for HGV drivers and operators. For more detailed information, download TfL’s guide, which includes details of how to obtain a Safe System permit.

Direct Vision Standard: summary

  • Star rating system for HGVs over 12 tonnes.
  • Based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows.
  • Zero rated vehicles will need to be improved by fitting Safe System measures.
  • Free Safety Permit available from 28 October 2019.
  • Direct Vehicle Standard enforcement begins 26 October 2020.
  • Minimum star rating increases from 1 to 3 from October 2024.