Direct Vision Standard: Cities should ‘not be setting vehicle design standards’

Added: 10 January 2019

After months of discussions, the announcement of a consultation on the proposed Direct Vision Standard for HGV operators travelling into and out of London has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association. 

But while the consultation period will give operators the chance to contribute their opinions on the new scheme, the FTA does not believe individual cities should be setting vehicle design standards.

“The future of road safety will be delivered through technological development and new vehicle design standards which will be best set at an international level,” said Natalie Chapman, the FTA’s Head of Urban Policy.  “It is misleading to expect all vehicle designs to be modified for the UK market – new cab design takes years and millions of pounds of investment, and manufacturers are unlikely to develop new vehicles for use in a single city, even one as busy as London.  FTA has always believed that technological innovation is the only way to deliver the Mayor’s vision for an end to deaths and serious injuries on the capital’s roads by 2041.”

The consultation on the proposed London DVS will run for six weeks.  And operators should make a point of responding as the voice of the logistics industry has already been heard in the process to date.

“It is encouraging to note that many FTA members’ suggestions have already been taken on board,” Natalie added, “with a recognition of the need for greater detail on how the programme will actually operate now available.  It is also welcome to see that those operating larger fleets will not be required to provide as much detail as first thought.

“FTA is still keen to see how DVS can be adapted and moderated to make it workable for all, without the need for unnecessary financial penalties, time or operating burdens.  If the industry can make its voice heard, we are confident that TfL will listen to what we have to say, for the sake of the London economy.

“Safety is a multi-faceted challenge for all road users, not just HGV operators, and to focus attention solely on the view from the cab ignores the other challenges and potential dangers on the capitals roads.  As an organisation, we have always been clear that the use of new technology alongside changes to new vehicle designs would be far more effective in reducing road deaths and injuries than direct vision alone – and with the time and cost involved in bringing new vehicles to the capital’s streets, any scheme which fails to use new technology will place an unfair financial burden on those charged with delivering what London needs, on time and on budget, every single day.”

The consultation can be found at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/direct-vision-standard-phase2b/?cid=direct-vision-standard

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