Accidents involving heavy goods vehicles and trucks were responsible for 2,621 injuries in the UK in 2021 alone. According to the Department for Transport, 19% of these accidents involved cyclists and pedestrians. Many of these accidents were blamed on the blind spots experienced by the drivers of these heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and trucks.
A blind spot is an area around an HGV or truck where smaller cars, pedestrians and cyclists are no longer visible to a truck driver – especially when turning or reversing their vehicles. These low-visibility zones pose a significant safety risk and lead to many road accidents.
In this article, we will look at the various safety risks blind spots pose and discuss how technological solutions and London’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS) initiative aim to decrease blind-spot-related accidents.
We’ll also show you how Crystal Ball’s DVS-compliant system helps reduce your fleet’s HGVs and truck accident risk. So, let’s dive in.
The Danger of Blind Spots
Because of their size, HGVs and trucks are notorious for their blind spots. These blind spots are particularly concerning and dangerous when these large fleet vehicles turn or reverse.
Drivers may not always see cyclists and pedestrians, which leads to accidents, injuries and fatalities among vulnerable road users.
Statistics and Real-World Incidents
According to a study published by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), 203 accidents involving HGVs and cyclists were recorded on UK roads in 2019. These accidents led to the deaths of 12 cyclists, while 65 cyclists were seriously injured and 127 were slightly injured.
According to ROSPA, many of these accidents occurred in built-up, urban areas, with the problem particularly prominent in inner London areas.
The study adds that in the three years between 2016 and 2019, accidents involving HGVs were responsible for 70% of cyclist deaths. This is particularly high when you realise that these heavy vehicles only use about 4% of London’s roads.
London’s Direct Vision Standard
London’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and safety permit scheme was first implemented in March 2021. It aims to boost safety on London’s roads by reducing the number of accidents between HGVs and vulnerable road users.
In line with the scheme, HGVs weighing more than 12 tonnes must obtain safety permits to operate in Greater London’s designated Direct Vision Standard areas. HGVs that drive in these DVS zones without the required permits receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £550.
The DVS system checks vehicle compliance by using a star rating. This gauges an HGV driver’s field of vision and calculates the size of their HGV blind spots. Measured on a scale of 0 (poor direct vision) to 5 (excellent), the initiative encourages vehicle owners to improve their HGV drivers’ field of vision.
As of October 28 2024, all HGVs must have a three-star rating or higher to operate in the designated DVS zones. Owners of HGVs with a two-star rating or lower must, by this date, have a Progressive Safe System installed to comply with DVS regulations.
Crystal Ball’s DVSA-Compliant System
Crystal Ball has developed a top-of-the-range Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)-compliant system to help HGV owners and fleet operators reduce blind-spot-related risks.
Features and Benefits
This system offers a range of top-notch features. These include:
- 360-degree vehicle CCTV: This range of high-quality cameras provides HGV drivers with a real-time clear view of their surroundings, eliminating blind spots.
- Blind spot detection: Crystal Ball’s DVSA-compliant system uses sensors to detect objects and vulnerable users in an HGV’s blind spots. It immediately alerts the driver of these surrounding objects or vulnerable drivers with a visual and audible signal.
- Reverse camera: Reversing an HGV is one of the biggest challenges when driving a heavy vehicle. Having a reverse camera provides drivers with a clear view of their surroundings.
Compliance with Regulations
Crystal Ball’s DVSA-compliant system complies with the London DVS and other relevant regulations.
It helps your fleet’s HGVs comply with the regulations in the following ways:
- Our DVS camera system uses cameras to help eliminate blind spots and improve the driver’s field of view.
- The system’s in-cabin monitors remove the need for the driver to take their eyes away from the road while turning or reversing.
- The in-built sensor system warns drivers of pedestrians and cyclists close to their vehicles.
- An audible warning system warns pedestrians and cyclists of the HGV’s intention to turn left.
Solutions to Blind Spots
There are several ways fleet managers can help tackle the blind spot challenges their HGV drivers have. These include:
Blind spot mirrors
These convex mirrors give HGV drivers a better view of their immediate surroundings. These allow HGV drivers a better view of cyclists, pedestrians, smaller vehicles, and objects next to their trucks, especially when turning.
Camera systems give HGV drivers a real-time and more detailed view of their vehicle surroundings, helping to eliminate blind spots.
Crystal Ball’s DVSA-compliant system uses a 360-degree vehicle CCTV set-up that gives drivers an unobscured view of their surroundings. The reversing cameras also provide drivers with a clear view when reversing, eliminating blind spots.
Audible alerts are a great way to warn drivers – and distracted pedestrians and cyclists – of a heavy vehicle’s movements, which can help prevent potential collisions.
Below, we compare the effectiveness and costs of these ways to help reduce and eliminate blind spots on HGVs:
- Blind spot mirrors are moderately effective in eliminating blind spots and provide limitations when it comes to identifying multiple blind spots.
- Camera systems are highly effective and provide a wide view of the area around the HGV to help reduce almost all blind spots.
- Audible alerts are moderately effective at eliminating blind spots and don’t always pick up on all on-road obstructions.
- Blind spot mirrors are one of the most affordable options when trying to eliminate blind spots. They are readily available and can be easily installed.
- Camera systems are more expensive and need professional installation, making them a more high-cost solution.
- Audible alerts are also a very affordable option, are readily available and can be easily installed.
Blind spots on trucks and HGVs are a serious safety hazard on UK roads. They lead to accidents, injuries and fatalities and can increase a business’s legal liability and insurance premiums.
Request a demo of Crystal Ball’s DVS-compliant system to learn how to minimise blind spots in your trucks and HGVs. Minimising vehicle blind spots reduces accident risks and helps increase road safety.
Contact Crystal Ball today to learn how our world-class truck tracking system can help improve your fleet’s efficiency and performance. Our insurance-approved HGV trackers and GPS tracking devices use state-of-the-art GPS technology to provide real-time lorry tracking.
Crystal Ball’s HGV tracking solution also offers a bolt-on automatic driver recognition functionality to prevent unauthorised vehicle use and theft. Coupling this with our driver behaviour mobile device apps, and our HGV and lorry tracker system can help you improve your driver performance, fleet tracking and delivery services while reducing fuel costs.