The Direct Vision Standard: the first of many

Fleets have to navigate an increasingly complex regulatory regime as devolved administrations begin to take greater control of transport rules. Peter Mansfield, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Trakm8, explores the implications of the Direct Vision Standard, the latest regulation to affect fleets.

London has, for a long time, been ahead of the curve when it comes to how rules and regulations for transportation are made in the UK.

It was the first city region to receive significant powers over transport and a number of rule changes have followed.

From the Congestion Charge to clean air zones, London paved the way – showing administrations in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and our other cities that regulating vehicle use in a considered way can decrease traffic, pollution and comes with public support.

The latest such move is the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), which comes into force in Greater London from 1 March 2021 (postponed from 26 October due to COVID-19).

Applying to all heavy goods vehicles over 12 tonnes, the new regulation introduces a star rating system based on what is directly visible to the driver from the cab, without the use of additional mirrors or cameras.

Vehicles that don’t have good direct vision (at least a ‘one star’ rating) will be banned from 1 March 2021, facing fines of £550 per day.

By 2024, the requirements are set to rise to three stars, but what constitutes three stars hasn’t yet been agreed and will be subject to a public consultation. The scheme is to be enforced through number plate recognition.

City Hall’s crackdown comes in response to some shocking statistics on the dangers cyclists face from HGVs, particularly in London.

“Vehicles that don’t have good direct vision (at least a ‘one star’ rating) will be banned from 1 March 2021, facing fines of £550 per day”

While just 1.5% of injuries to cyclists occur from collision with HGVs, such collisions account for 16% of deaths (Source: ROSPA). Clearly, there is an issue here that can and should be addressed.

While fleet operators are more than happy to go a long way to prevent avoidable accidents, it’s important not to underplay how big of an impact this could have on operators.

It’s expected that most HGVs currently in use will be ‘zero star’ and will therefore have to be retrofitted with additional ‘mitigating safety features’ to be able to drive in London from October.

Given London’s importance to the UK economy, it’s almost impossible as a fleet operator to avoid Greater London altogether and as a result, many will have to upgrade their whole fleet to ensure they avoid administrative overhead and fines. Where London goes, cities in other regions are sure to follow.

So, fleets will either need to avoid Greater London altogether, or be fitted with mitigating safety features. Some features are relatively easy to add, like additional mirrors, side underrun protection and stickers that alert other road users to potential danger.

Others, like blindspot detectors, cameras and audible vehicle manoeuvre warnings, are technically difficult – you should speak to a trusted manufacturer to ensure you get a safety system that meets the new DVS standard the first time round.

Just as important is ensuring that new systems don’t create more work for operators.

“Given London’s importance to the UK economy, it’s almost impossible as an operator to avoid Greater London and many will have to upgrade their whole fleet”

Shopping round for a mixed solution and combining cameras and sensors from a number of manufacturers might save you a short term cost, but will increase administrative and technical burden further down the line.

By going with a trusted manufacturer’s whole-system solution, your admin gets easier with every addition, instead of more difficult. Given that DVS itself will become stricter by 2024 and other regulations are likely to come into play in the meantime, the ability to upgrade should be a key concern when you come to purchase mitigating safety equipment.

Trakm8 has a number of fully interoperable products that will help reduce the risks for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians which meet the Direct Vision Standard.

For example, our Blind Spot Detection System provides drivers with visual and audible proximity alerts, stopping accidents in their tracks. Our RoadHawk CAM series cameras are water, dustproof and are available with IR night vision, sun reflection hoods, plus external speakers alerting other road users when the vehicle is reversing.

These systems are brought together with a RoadHawk Digital Video Recorder and TFT monitor, allowing the driver unparalleled vision. All our products are designed and manufactured to the highest standard at our facility in the West Midlands.

“Where London goes, cities in other regions are sure to follow”

By selecting Trakm8, you can not only ensure interoperability and upgradeability, you can easily add the latest in telematics solutions, increasing driver safety, saving costs on fuel and making fleet maintenance even easier.

By going with a trusted solutions provider in order to make sure fleets are Direct Vision Standard compliant, you can reduce your admin and help prevent avoidable accidents on the road. 

About Trakm8

Trakm8 is the recognised leader in technology solutions for fleet management, insurance telematics, optimisation and vehicle camera systems.

Trakm8’s cutting edge technology offerings are adaptable for fleets of all sizes; providing intelligent, game-changing insights that can improve fleet efficiency and reduce risk across fleet operations.

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