In less than two weeks’ time, Transport for London (TfL) will deliver a radical improvement to road safety across London. On 1st March, our pioneering Direct Vision Standard (DVS) will start to be enforced. The DVS will reduce lethal blind spots by introducing a permit system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), assigning vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window. The permits are free and all owners of HGVs over 12 tonnes will need a valid permit to continue operating in the capital or face a new penalty charge notice (PCN) of up to £550.
Each year, more than 4,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets. We know that HGVs continue to be disproportionately involved in collisions: between 2018 and 2020*, they were involved in 41% of collisions where people cycling were killed and 19% of collisions where a pedestrian was killed. We’re not prepared to accept this – which is why we’re introducing these lifesaving measures.
Enforcement of the DVS was due to begin in October but was delayed to 1st March to give freight operators more time to apply for their safety permits. We understand that the freight industry has been under extreme pressure from the pandemic. But although the lockdown continues, it’s vital that we act now because the longer we wait, the more lives will be lost. Provisional data shows that already in 2021, three people walking and cycling have tragically died following a collision with an HGV.
We’re doing everything we can to encourage as many DVS applications as possible by the deadline and have worked with the freight industry to streamline the application process further. We’ve made internal systems improvements to reduce processing time and have trained additional staff to assist with enquiries. All applications should now be processed within 10 working days of receipt and our current turnaround times are within three days of receipt, although applicants are advised the process may take longer.
Those who have applied before 1st March with evidence of their vehicle being booked in to have safe system equipment fitted will be added to an "allow list" of vehicles. This will prevent them from incurring PCNs for up to 90 days from that date. Operators of zero-star rated vehicles that need to install safe systems in order to get their permit can get on this list and get their safe system work done within 90 days, provided they email us with the details of their installation booking prior to 1 March.
I would like to personally thank the operators who have worked hard to ensure their fleets are ready and compliant. By preparing your fleet, you’re helping making London’s roads safer for all. Reducing the risk of collisions is the right thing to do and will have benefits for all road users – freight drivers and operators included.
However, we know that there are still thousands of HGVs on London's roads whose operators have not yet applied. To those operators, our message is: apply for a free safety permit
as soon as possible – or face a fine.
Alina Tuerk, Strategy and Planning Manager, Transport for London