Brigade Electronics is calling for a rethink on deadlines for operators struggling to meet Transport for London’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS) – especially in light of the more sophisticated technology now required. Emily Hardy, Marketing Manager UK for Brigade, outlines the issue.

Goods vehicles over 12 tonnes now require a permit to drive into Greater London under Transport for London’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS).

DVS is based on a ‘star rating’ indicating how much a driver can see from the cab and was developed to protect vulnerable road users (VRUs) such as cyclists and pedestrians.

But from October 2024 the minimum star rating requirement is increasing from one to three stars. Operators that fall short of the required star rating will need to apply for a Progressive Safe System (PSS).

What is PSS?

The PSS requires a significant shift in technology. Unlike the previous safe permit, which required obstacle detection systems on the nearside, PSS demands technology that can predict collisions based on the trajectories of the vehicle and the vulnerable road user (VRU). This prediction is crucial in determining if a collision is imminent.

Furthermore, the system includes a specified alarm strategy designed to alert the driver to the severity of the situation. Moreover, some technologies fitted to meet the current DVS requirements will not be applicable from the October deadline.

However, the unprecedented demand for safety systems in the last few months means many operators will struggle to meet TfL’s deadline. In addition, component shortages have hit hard – a problem that extends beyond the HGV sector – and all safety technology installations must be signed off by a competent installer.

Feedback and grace

TfL has sent out a survey to assess the market readiness of DVS phase 2 and to decide whether an extension is required for the current three-month grace period. Brigade is urging operators to complete the survey so that TfL has a greater understanding of the situation. 

It is our opinion that an extension is required because of the sheer volume of vehicles that will need to be fitted – currently estimated to be in the region of 210,000 vehicles, – as well as the late release of the final technical specification and the shortage of fitters in the industry.

For example, the PSS requires a sensor system at the front. The front system requires two alarms: one when the driver detects a VRU when preparing to move off and one when the vehicle detects a VRU as it has begun its forward manoeuvre. A front detection system was previously recommended but not mandatory and so few operators fitted it.

Another issue is confusion throughout the industry. Brigade has had its products independently tested but the DVS spec does not require this. Manufacturers are being allowed to test their products in-house, which Brigade’s experts feel is inadequate and, in effect, marking your own homework.

We are advocating for a phasing-in period because even a six-month grace period would not be enough. It is our opinion that vehicles that have only had products fitted for a year should have their permits extended, so newer vehicles with no equipment can be prioritised.

Please note that operators will only be eligible for the grace period if they can demonstrate fitting works are booked or attempts have been made in good faith to fit the PSS to relevant specified vehicles. TfL and London Councils have committed to the grace period and further details about how to apply will be released nearer the time.

TfL must take into account all the issues above if it is to reach its stated goal of improving road safety while presenting a level playing field to fleet operators doing their best to conform to DVS legislation in difficult circumstances.

Source: brigade