Understanding the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for HGVs in London

Understanding the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for HGVs in London

As of March 2021, the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) has been a critical requirement for heavy goods vehicle (HGV) operators in London. Enforced 24/7 throughout the year, the DVS mandates that lorries over 12 tonnes of gross vehicle weight (GVW) secure a safety permit to operate within most areas of Greater London. Non-compliance may result in a hefty Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of up to £550, reduced to £275 if settled within 14 days. This initiative is a cornerstone of the Mayor of London's Vision Zero strategy, aiming to eliminate all transport-related deaths and serious injuries in London by 2041.

Direct Vision Standard Requirements

To date, over 250,000 vehicles have been issued DVS permits, showcasing its extensive implementation. The DVS employs a star-based rating system designed to diminish fatal accidents involving HGVs and pedestrians or cyclists, where limited visibility plays a role. Requirements include installing Class V and VI mirrors and a nearside camera system to cover blind spots alongside a cab monitor for better visibility of potential hazards. Additionally, vehicle operators must ensure the functionality of these systems before entering the DVS Enforcement Zone.

Rigid vehicles and articulated tractors are required to have sensors providing coverage of at least six metres down the vehicle's nearside. Side protection barriers must also be installed, except in impractical or impossible circumstances.

Upcoming Enhancements with the Progressive Safe System

The Progressive Safe System (PSS) marks the next phase in safety enhancements, mandatory from 28 October 2024 for HGVs rated below three stars. The PSS includes upgraded features such as a Camera Monitoring System (CMS) to replace or supplement existing mirrors, a Blind Spot Information System (BSIS), and a Moving Off Information System (MOIS) to alert drivers of nearby vulnerable road users. Additionally, audible warnings and visible signage are required to alert pedestrians and cyclists when the vehicle is turning.

Exemptions and Grace Period

Certain vehicles, such as those primarily used off-road or carrying abnormal loads, may qualify for exemptions from some of the PSS requirements. From June 2024, operators of vehicles rated under three stars with existing permits will be prompted by Transport for London (TfL) to upgrade to a PSS permit. A grace period will be provided for operators who have registered their intent with TfL by 28 October 2024 and are in the process of fitting the new equipment.

Registration and Compliance for New and International Vehicles

New vehicle operators must initiate the permit application process early, providing necessary documents such as the V5C log book or equivalent from the DVLA. For vehicles registered outside the UK but operating in London, similar registration documents will be required. Operators wishing to transfer cherished number plates must reapply for a safety permit to ensure compliance with updated safety standards.

This evolving framework underscores London's commitment to enhancing road safety for all users, particularly focusing on reducing the risks posed by HGVs. It is imperative for operators to stay informed and compliant with these standards to ensure seamless operations and contribute to the city's ambitious safety goals.