According to recent data from Transport for London (TfL), more than 100,000 HGVs on London’s roads are owned by operators who have not applied for a Direct Vision Standard (DVS) permit.
The data reveals that over 44,000 safety permits have been issued, with most of them falling into the one-star category (46%) and 24% falling into the zero-star category. The remaining applications fall into the two-star category (11%), three-star category (11%), five-star category (6%) with less than 1% in the four-star category.
From March 1, 2021, HGVs with a zero-star rating will be required to fit additional vehicle safety features to operate within London. Vehicles with a one-star rating will currently be allowed to enter London, however, by 2024, a minimum of three stars will be required.
In a statement issued this week, TfL said: “Permit applications can take time to process so please apply now to ensure your vehicles have permits by 1 March 2021.” The permit scheme will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year and from March, HGVs not holding a permit, or in contravention of permit conditions, will be issued with a £550 Penalty Charge Notice – reduced to £275 if paid within 14 days – for each day the vehicle is driven within the DVS area.
What is DVS?
Direct Vision Standard is designed to measure how much an HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows in order to assess the risk to vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, by using a ‘star rating’ which applies to all goods vehicles of 12 tonnes and above.
Zero star rated vehicles will require some modification including the installation of blind-spot cameras and sensors so that they can apply for the permit. Even if vehicles achieve a higher star rating and do not need modification, a DVS permit still needs to be secured.
The requirements for zero star rated vehicles:
In order to meet the standard, zero star rated vehicles will need to ensure the following modifications are in place to offer the driver a view of the nearside of the vehicle and offer vulnerable road users some advanced warning of the dangers of positioning themselves alongside the nearside of the vehicle.
A blind-spot camera will need to be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle connected to an in-cab monitor. The camera should be activated at low speeds when the left indicator is engaged.
Proximity sensors will need to be fitted to the nearside in line with DVS requirements to give the driver an advanced warning of movement detected in the nearside blind-spot.
Where not installed, Class V and Class VI mirrors will need to be fitted to the tractor. Side underrun protection will need to be fitted to trailers and rigid vehicles.
From a vulnerable road user perspective, an audible alert will need to be fitted so that when the left hand indicator is activated at low speeds, an audible alert will sound to warn of the vehicle turning left. In addition, a standard vehicle graphic should be applied to the rear of the vehicle or trailer in use highlighting the dangers of the nearside blind-spot.
Once installed, operators will be required to upload photographic evidence of installation and register for the permit.
A DVS Plus Solution
The Microlise solution offers options beyond the basic DVS solution. Nearside blind-spot cameras along with an in-cab device, proximity sensors with in-cab audible and visual warning, external audible alert and warning signage can all be provided by Microlise to meet the requirements. We exceed the requirements of DVS through our wider ClearVision offering and increased functionality through integration with our wider product-set.
Whilst Direct Vision Standard rightly focusses on the left side of the vehicle (around 20% of vulnerable road user deaths are a result of a left hand turn), it’s estimated that around 25% of deaths happen whilst reversing.
Our camera solution can include multiple cameras. The forward facing camera comes as a standard part of the system with additional options for a driver facing camera and more recently, a load facing camera. Additional blind-spot options include a rear facing camera (suitable for both rigids and trailers) and an offside camera.
An ADR compliant version of the camera solution is also available from Microlise enabling vehicles to remain compliant whilst carrying hazardous goods into the capital.
In order to maximise value, it is important to integrate cameras with other value add features.
Our in-cab device, the Microlise DriveTab, delivers a near-live feed of the vehicle’s blind-spots to the driver whilst manoeuvring but unlike most other ‘dumb’ devices, has multiple additional uses including dealing with deliveries/collections when used in tandem with our EPoD solution. It can offer driver logon (either manually via a PIN or through connection to the tacho head), work lists and deliver one touch satnav integration along with two way communications.
Additional apps such as our Driver Performance Management app allows drivers access to their own driving performance on-the-go and get driving tips and cross compare their scores with other drivers in their group or the wider company. Our Driver Hazard Warning app offers drivers advanced warning of low bridges, width and weight restrictions.
Apart from adding value to the installed hardware, integrating cameras with Microlise telematics means that footage can be requested through selected parts of the system, married up with telematics data and comments added to a specific event, to provide a more rounded view of what happened – in the event of an incident, this could be crucial for insurance purposes.
Camera and safety systems do not need to be stand-alone – they can be part of a much wider offering, which increases value, maximises ROI and makes dealing with a crisis far easier for everyone involved.