The UK’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and safety permit scheme came into effect on 21 March 2021.
The scheme – directed at heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) with a net weight of more than 12 tonnes – aims to improve safety on London’s transport network.
The HGV safety permit scheme requires HGVs to apply for and obtain safety permits to enter and operate in parts of Greater London. It aims to make roads safer, mainly focusing on reducing accidents, serious injuries and deaths that involve vulnerable road users.
Use this guide to learn more about the DVS safety initiative and how you can get your fleet compliant, avoid fines and boost road safety in London.
Introduction to fleet DVS compliance
The Direct Vision Standard and safety scheme checks how well HGV drivers can – through their cab windows – see other road users.
It uses a star rating to gauge a driver’s field of vision and calculates the size of the vehicle’s blind spots. Measured on a scale of 0 (poor direct vision) to 5 (excellent direct vision), the system aims to improve drivers’ field of vision.
HGVs are responsible for a large number of accidents, injuries, and deaths among road users. Thus, by improving the vision of truck drivers, the initiative aims to improve the safety of cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
As of March 2021, all HGVs entering and operating in designated Direct Vision Standard areas should be in possession of this safety certificate. Failure to comply will see vehicles issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £550.
The system operates 24 hours a day, all days of the year. Cameras digitally capture the licence plate registration of HGVs and the information is sent to a central database where compliance is checked. If found to be non-compliant, vehicles are issued with a PCN.
Fleet managers should ensure they know what the star rating of each of their heavy vehicles is. After obtaining your vehicle’s rating, submit a DVS application to ensure compliance.
As of 28th October 2024, all HGVs that fall under the DVS category must have a three-star rating. By this date, HGVs with a two-star rating or lower must have a Progressive Safety System installed to comply with regulations.
Understanding DVS requirements
Transport for London (TfL) has seven key requirements that HGVs should meet to obtain the minimum star rating as set out by the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) safety system:
- A vehicle Class V mirror (installed on the nearside of the vehicle)
- A vehicle Class VI mirror (installed on the front of the heavy vehicle)
- Side under-run protection (attached on both sides of the vehicle)
- Stickers and warning signage to warn vulnerable road users of any hazards (displayed on the vehicle exterior)
- A sensor system (to alert vehicle operators of the presence of a vulnerable road user around the HGV)
- An audible vehicle manoeuvring warning system (to warn road users of the driver’s intended manoeuvres)
- A (fully operational) camera monitoring system (on the nearside of the vehicle).
Most HGVs manufactured in the past 10 years come standard with three requirements on this list. Vehicle owners should therefore ensure that the other four vehicle safety measures are installed to ensure the vehicle’s compliance.
Left-hand drive HGVs also need to comply with DVS regulations and have a valid HGV safety permit. To be compliant, left-hand drive HGVs must be fitted with mirrors, a sensor system, and cameras to eliminate their right-hand side blindspot.
Some vehicles that were built for mainly off-road use are exempted from this safety initiative. Vehicles registered in the UK – used for off-road purposes – are automatically exempt from DVS regulations and don’t need to be registered. Owners should, however, note down their vehicle’s star rating for record-keeping purposes.
Step-by-Step instructions to check vehicle ratings
All HGVs will need to undergo individual checks to determine their star ratings.
Follow these steps to get your HGV’s star rating:
- Contact the vehicle manufacturer and request an assessment of the vehicle’s rating.
- Provide the HGV’s chassis number (VIN), which the manufacturer will use to calculate the rating.
- The DVS star rating is sent as an electronic permit to both the fleet manager and TfL.
- Once you know the DVS star rating of a given HGV, you can start the Direct Vision Standard application process to obtain a valid permit.
- Please note: This only applies to vehicles with a rating of 1 to 5.
For vehicles with a zero-star rating, follow these steps:
- Vehicles that obtained zero stars are required to be fitted with vehicle safety equipment (known as Progressive Safe System improvements) to qualify for compliance.
- With your application, submit photos of the Safe System equipment for approval or rejection.
It is imperative that fleet managers keep a record of all their HGVs’ star ratings and DVS compliance.
Proper record-keeping is the linchpin of successful Direct Vision Standard (DVS) compliance for your fleet. It acts as a central hub where vital vehicle information converges, including registration and VIN numbers, offering a systematic approach to administrative tasks and regulatory checks.
Within this repository of records, star ratings assigned to each vehicle play a pivotal role. These ratings indicate the direct visibility a driver has from the vehicle’s seat, enabling proactive planning for upgrades where necessary. This not only ensures adherence to DVS guidelines but also bolsters overall road safety.
A core advantage of meticulous record-keeping is the ability to readily identify compliance status and track HGV safety permits. This empowers fleet managers to make informed decisions about vehicle assignments and interactions with regulatory bodies. Furthermore, accurate records facilitate strategic scheduling of DVS upgrades, minimising vehicle downtime while upholding safety standards.
Benefits of developing DVS-compliant policies
Developing and implementing DVS-compliant policies can hold a lot of benefits for companies
Avoid a penalty charge notice
Developing and implementing policies that align with the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is not just a regulatory obligation but also a strategic move towards ensuring the safety of your fleet.
By adhering to DVS requirements, you not only minimise the risk of receiving Penalty Charge Notices but also demonstrate your commitment to safeguarding road users and pedestrians, fostering a positive reputation for your business as a responsible and compliant operator.
Increased efficient of operations and fleet
These systems, such as advanced camera and sensor technologies, contribute to heightened situational awareness for your drivers.
This heightened awareness translates to improved decision-making, reduced blind spots, and enhanced manoeuvrability.
As a result, your fleet becomes more operationally agile, leading to better on-time deliveries, reduced downtime, and increased customer satisfaction.
Reduce accidents and insurance premiums
A safer fleet means fewer accidents. This can lead to lower repair and maintenance costs, reduced insurance claims, and minimised vehicle downtime. Moreover, a track record of safety can position your business as a reliable partner for clients who value risk mitigation and responsible practices.
Enhanced reliability and business reputation
A safety-conscious approach doesn’t just lead to compliance; it cultivates a culture of reliability throughout your business. When you prioritise safety, it resonates across all aspects of your operations, from driver training to maintenance practices.
Fleet managers should see the DVS safety permit requirements as a bare minimum to help reduce risk and road accidents.
To help increase safety on London’s Roads – as part of Vision Zero for London – fleet managers must check whether their HGV fleet complies with DVS requirements,
The DVS guidelines came into effect in March 2021 and aim to reduce the number of road accidents, serious injuries and deaths recorded among vulnerable road users on London’s roads.
There is a real possibility that the initiative will be rolled out to other cities across the UK. With a nationwide need to make roads safer, many cities would most likely adopt this system to try and reduce the number of road accidents, injuries, and deaths on their transport networks.
To avoid possible penalties and get assistance on how to get your fleet Direct Vision Standard compliant, contact Crystal Ball today.
Ask for a demo of our DVS system to see how your fleet can become DVS compliant and improve road safety.