The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is a new Transport for London (TfL) HGV Safety Permit scheme for Greater London. It requires every HGV over 12 tonnes (GVW) to have a valid HGV permit to enter the Greater London area.
The rules will be in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. DVS is primarily driven by safety – the safety of all road users. London has a high number of collisions involving HGVs, pedestrians, and cyclists. TfL aims to reduce this as part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero plan. Vision Zero aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s transport network by 2041.
Based upon a combination of factors, each HGV is given a ‘star rating’ of between zero and five stars. Vehicles with one star and above can apply for an HGV permit free of charge. Zero-starred vehicles need to retrofit an approved mandatory ‘DVS Safe System’ to make them eligible for an HGV Permit. We explained this in more detail in our previous blog Direct Vision Standard is Coming!
Direct Vision Standard and HGV Permit Scheme begin in October 2020, with enforcement from March 2021.
We conducted an anonymous, independent survey of over 700 HGV Fleet Managers who have HGVs entering the Greater London area. We wanted to find out how ready their HGVs are for DVS and the HGV Permit Scheme.
However, 36.9 per cent, over one third, told us none of their HGVs are ready for the scheme.
Interestingly, responses of non-London based HGV Fleet Managers were split along the same lines. An even smaller percentage, at only 20.1 per cent say that their HGVs are ready, with 12.7 saying some of their vehicles are ready. 28 per cent were unsure.
Again, the highest proportion of responses, 39.1 per cent, said none of their HGVs are ready for DVS.
Yes and No. Owing to the Coronavirus outbreak the Mayor of London announced on 9 April 2020 that enforcement of DVS is postponed, initially until the end of February 2021, now March 2021. We believe this has caused confusion about when HGVs need to be ready.
However, DVS is still coming! TfL says that although enforcement is delayed and vehicles will not be fined until March 2021, it seems the new regulation will still be launched, as planned, from October 2020 and that date appears in a number of places.
In fact, when we contacted TfL directly, they were extremely clear that vehicles without an HGV Safety Permit will be banned from Greater London from 26 October 2020. The use of the word ‘banned’ could be confusing. Does it mean a vehicle won’t be allowed into the Greater London area, or maybe turned away? This is unlikely because TfL will use ANPR cameras for enforcement. If your number plate does not appear on their list of permit holders you may be contacted.
We tried to get written confirmation of what ‘banned’ means in reality but were simply invited to keep an eye on the TfL website.
Commenting on the survey results, Steve Warne, CameraMatics Technical Director said “It is concerning that so few HGV fleet managers are reporting their vehicles are ready for the Direct Vision Standard and HGV Permit Scheme. Some operators will find their vehicles are already compliant and simply need to apply online for their permit, but others will be given a zero-star rating. In this instance, a Safe System will need to be retrofitted to each vehicle so the operator can apply for, and receive, a permit.”
Steve added, “I would urge companies not to leave this until the last minute. March 2021 and enforcement of the new rules will be here before we know it and the run-up to the festive season is always a busy time for the freight and logistics industry. Our advice to any fleet manager who is unsure or concerned would be to get the ball rolling now. At CameraMatics we’re always more than happy to help and advise operators who want to improve the safety of their HGVs and vehicles for the sake of all road users, including HGV drivers themselves.”
The advice to operators is to act now. When GDPR Data regulations were looming in 2018, unprepared companies panicked and paid expensive consultants to help them comply at the last minute. It’s possible HGV operators could face a similar scenario.
The good news is it’s fairly straightforward. The very first thing is to check the star rating of your HGV(s). Vehicles already reaching a minimum one-star rating can immediately apply for a free permit.
However, if your vehicles are zero-star rated, give us a call and we’ll talk you through the simple steps to ensure your vehicle is fully compliant, and, most importantly, is safer.
Call us on 020 3740 3562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for help ensuring your HGVs are compliant with the Direct Vision Standard and receive an HGV Permit.