New truck safety scheme ‘will not achieve zero vehicular harm’ in London

London’s new truck safety scheme ‘is not the most effective way to achieve zero vehicular harm in the capital’, according to the haulage industry.

From October 28, all HGVs over 12 tonnes will need a free safety permit to operate in London. Transport for London (TfL) has created a five-star rating system determined by how much an HGV driver can see through their cab windows, with those achieving at least one star eligible for a permit.

Called the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), those vehicles that achieve zero stars must have safety systems, such as cameras and an audible left-turn warning, to be granted a permit. From 2024, vehicles achieving two stars or fewer will require additional safety systems.

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However, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says more comprehensive improvements are required to achieve the government’s goal of zero vehicular harm by 2041.

Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at FTA, said: “The logistics sector is fully committed to improving road safety and takes its responsibility to do so very seriously; that’s why FTA is calling for the Mayor of London to realise that other strategies would deliver a far greater outcome.

“Technological development, along with internationally-agreed design standards and the retiming of deliveries to quieter periods, would provide a more robust and long-term safety solution than DVS alone; visibility from the cab should be viewed as just one aspect of holistic approach to road safety.”

With three months to go until the first safety permits are issued, 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.”

Permit enforcement will begin in October 2020 using automatic number plate recognition. HGV drivers caught in contravention of the rules will receive a £550 charge per day.

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