From the impact of Covid-19 to the disruption caused by Brexit; the UK transport sector is currently facing an immense amount of pressure. The latest in a long line of demands is the looming Direct Vision Standard (DVS). With less than six weeks until the legislation comes into force, Teletrac Navman’s UK product manager, Barney Goffer, provides some timely guidance.
The Transport for London (TfL) DVS enforcement to improve all road users’ safety will come into force on 1 March. It requires all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 12 tonnes to meet set safety criteria to receive a permit to enter and operate in Greater London.
Concerningly, reports suggest that there are still thousands of HGV operators yet to apply for safety permits. To help ease pressure on the sector, TfL has announced an ‘allow list’ – a grace period of 90 days from 1 March, allowing hauliers more time to comply with the safety requirements.
Whilst the extended period will allow fleets time to adjust, this should not be used as an excuse to delay submitting applications. The consequences for entering London without a permit from the beginning of March are significant: operators will receive a penalty charge of up to £550, and drivers will be fined £130.
Operators should check on the TfL website to determine whether their vehicles are compliant and if any additional safety devices will need to be fitted. To be declared eligible for a free permit, vehicles must meet a minimum ‘one-star’ rating.
Operators with vehicles awarded a star rating between one and five can apply for their permit straight away. Those with no rating, or zero stars, will be required to fit approved ‘Safe System’ improvements, reapply and provide supporting evidence that their vehicle now has improved visibility. All of which can take up valuable time.
What equipment a fleet manager needs to fit to improve the star rating remains a commonly asked question. To clear up any confusion, here is a breakdown of the requirements:
- Class V and VI mirrors; a fully operational camera monitoring system, and a sensor system with driver alerts, to improve indirect vision and nearside visibility
- An audible vehicle manoeuvring warning for left turns (or right turns if the vehicle is left-hand drive), together with warning signage, to warn of intended maneuverers
- Side-underrun protection to minimise physical impacts.
As a business that has supported fleet operators for more than 25 years with fleet management tools, we know how much of a pain changes in legislation can be. That is why we’ve developed a DVS Technology Pack to help new and existing customers meet the DVS.
The technology package ensures fleets achieve three of the required safety rating standards. It includes a nearside, rear-facing blind spot camera and in-cab monitor screen for the driver, to eliminate blind spots and increase visibility. It also consists of a close proximity sensor system to detect nearby objects’ presence and audible alerts, which signal to vulnerable road users that a vehicle is about to make a left turn.
Ultimately, time is ticking. It is crucial fleets that need to continue operating in London apply for a permit as not being compliant would be a costly mistake and cause significant business disruption.