Stricter Direct Vision Standard (DVS) rules, due to be launched next year, could be delayed if hauliers are struggling to access the safety kit needed to upgrade their trucks, Transport for London (TfL) has revealed this week.
DVS was launched in London in 2019 to cut the rising numbers of cyclist and pedestrian deaths involving HGVs, by making operators fit equipment to minimise HGV blind spots.
DVS rules are set to be made even stricter from October 2024, with HGVs entering Greater London requiring additional safety equipment to meet a three star DVS rating.
Hauliers that do not already meet the DVS three star rating have been given a three month grace period from 28 October 2024 to buy, fit and test any new safety equipment required.
However TfL has announced today that the three month grace period could be extended, if a market readiness review finds that hauliers need more time to meet the standards.
The review will be carried out by the London Councils Transport and Environment Committee in June 2024 ahead of the launch in October.
Referring to the grace period, TfL said: “This will be kept under review and in June 2024, London Councils Transport and Environment Committee will consider whether any further extension is needed.”
RHA and Logistics UK have welcomed TfL’s decision to allow the review ahead of the launch in October 2024. In a joint statement they said: “The review is needed as significant questions remain over what the final DVS requirements will be.
“This includes the future status of kits, investments already made to ensure lorries are compliant and why potentially all existing kit will need to be replaced at potentially high costs to operators who have already invested significantly in good faith.
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They slammed TfL for failing to provide this information, despite their repeated requests during the consultation on the changes, which has now closed.
They said: “Both associations are disappointed that, during the consultation process earlier this year, TfL did not release detailed technical specifications that could have resolved these issues.
“We are deeply concerned that TfL has a poor understanding of the lead-in times required, and the basis on which TfL are making decisions is not clear.”
They added: “Logistics businesses operate on very narrow margins and cannot afford to repeat these costs at a time when inflation and vehicle operating costs have risen, while also investing to meet the net-zero by 2050 deadline.”
Both organisations insisted they support the move to improve vehicle safety to help cut deaths on London roads caused by lorries.
They added: “However, alongside the safe operation of vehicles within London, it is crucial that the well-being of our vital businesses are factored in.”
DVS, which was introduced in 2019 as part of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Vision Zero strategy, which aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from London’s streets by 2041. DVS tackles road danger at its source by minimising HGV blind spots.
Since the introduction of DVS, fatal collisions involving HGVs and vulnerable road users, where vision was a contributory factor, have fallen by 75%.
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