The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) guidelines require heavy goods vehicles (HGV) to obtain and use HGV safety permits before being allowed to operate.
This safety scheme pertains specifically to heavy vehicles – weighing more than 12 tonnes – which operate in the Greater London area. If fleets whose vehicles fall into this grouping do not possess this permit, businesses may not operate on London’s roads and may also be liable to a fine.
DVS came into effect in London in March 2021 and is in effect 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
It forms part of London’s Vision Zero plan and is aimed at avoiding and eliminating serious road injuries or deaths by 2041.
DVS requirements and star rating system
Direct Vision Standard measures how well a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver can see through their cab windows while driving or operating their vehicles.
It ensures that drivers can see, for example, other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians from their cab while in motion. This is to ensure the safety of road users and aims to avoid preventable road accidents and reduce serious injuries and deaths on London’s roads.
Should a truck driver not have this permit – when entering or driving within this designated area – they will be issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
To be DVS compliant, HGVs need to be fitted with vehicle safety measures to improve safety on London’s transport network.
The key DVS requirements are:
- A vehicle Class V mirror should be fitted to the nearside of the HGV.
- A vehicle Class VI mirror must be attached to the front of the HGV.
- The HGV must be fitted with side under-run protection on both sides of the vehicle.
- The vehicle must display external stickers and markings to warn vulnerable road users of potential hazards.
- The HGV must be fitted with a sensor system to alert the driver of the presence of an at-risk road user.
- The vehicle must be fitted with an audible vehicle manoeuvring warning to warn other road users of the HGV’s intention to turn left.
- The HGV must be fitted with a fully operational camera monitoring system to the nearside of the vehicle.
The HGV safety permit scheme also uses a star ratings system based on what the driver can see from his/her cab without using additional mirrors or vehicle cameras.
The star rating works as follows:
- The rating system ranges from zero (0 = poor direct vision) to five (5 = excellent direct vision) stars.
- Currently, vehicles with a star rating of 1 to 5 are allowed to legally operate in London.
- Vehicles with a 0 rating are not allowed to operate in the designated area and are liable to a fine.
0-star rated HGVs must be fitted with Safe System improvements (as mentioned above) by 24 October 2024 to qualify for a valid HGV safety permit.
By 28 October 2024, all HGVs entering and using London roads must be fitted with a Progressive Safe System.
What is a progressive safe system?
This system pertains to vehicles that have a 0 to 3-star safety rating. It is a more comprehensive version of their current safe system that must be installed on HGVs to help improve the safety of drivers and other road users. It must be fitted from 24 October 2024 and provides a range of benefits to drivers to help improve safety.
The progressive safe system helps to improve drivers’ indirect vision by installing camera monitoring systems (CMS) to give drivers a wider field of vision. This eliminates blind spots that could otherwise result in accidents.
Sensor systems are to be installed on the side of vehicles to help provide full coverage of the nearside of vehicles. This helps to prevent any left turn collisions, allowing drivers to detect any vulnerable road users. These sensors must not activate to stationary vehicles or roadside furniture, helping to ensure that drivers know that when they do activate, it is due to a nearby road user or pedestrian.
Moving Off Information Systems (MOIS) sensors are also to be installed on the front of vehicles to help eliminate collisions or accidents at the frontal blind spot zone.
The Progressive Safe System also includes installing audio warnings to notify and warn nearby road users that the HGV is about to perform an intended manoeuvre.
Fitting of warning signage is an unchanged requirement of the previous safe system, to help road users and pedestrians to visually identify and avoid any potential dangers around HGVs. As well as this, the fitting of side guards remains unchanged from the previous safe system.
The importance of DVS compliance
HGVs operating within or entering Greater London that do not have a valid permit are issued with a PCN of up to £550. If, however, the fine is paid within 14 days, the PCN is reduced to £275 per vehicle.
To contribute to Vision Zero For London and ensure the safety of all road users, it is important that all HGV owners ensure their vehicles are compliant with this safety system. The aim is to reduce the number of accidents, serious injuries and deaths on the city’s roads.
HGVs – because of their sometimes limited vision – are responsible for a great number of avoidable road accidents and fatalities. It is especially small vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians who are the victims of preventable accidents caused by these heavy vehicles.
The good news for fleet managers is that whilst it’s essential, applying for an HGV safety permit won’t cost the business as it is free of charge.
Upgrading vehicles to be DVS compliant for safer roads
Some HGVs in your fleet will, for example, get a 0-star rating, while others will get higher ratings, depending on how well the driver can see vulnerable road users.
The trick is to install the required equipment listed above as soon as possible, to boost your vehicle’s star rating and ensure fleetwide Direct Vision Standard compliance.
For vehicles that have a zero to two-star rating, start the permit application process as soon as possible even if you are not yet in possession of the vehicle’s registration mark or number plate. A vehicle that has a star rating would have a registration mark assigned.
If vehicle owners do not yet have a number plate, they’d need to provide proof of the vehicle’s star rating and VIN, as indicated by the manufacturer, for the application processes.
Once the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) permit is issued, it can’t be transferred to another vehicle or another number plate. You will need to cancel the current permit and, once the new vehicle’s star rating is known, apply for a new DSV safety permit.
With the Direct Vision Standard guidelines that came into effect in March 2021, all owners of non-compliant HGVs are required to obtain an HGV safety permit as soon as possible.
The system uses a star rating system to gauge how well a heavy-vehicle driver can see from their cab. The initiative, which forms part of London’s Vision Zero plan, is aimed at reducing the number of road accidents and deaths recorded on London’s roads.
There are many, easy-to-implement solutions available to HGV owners: Crystal Ball offers a trusted DVS system that’ll get your fleet compliant in no time.
Operating from London, Crystal Ball is a trusted installer and supplier which will ensure you have a DVS system installed that meets all of the UK government’s requirements.