Direct Vision solution in sight
European Union safety regulations requiring all lorries to have significantly improved direct vision (directly through the windscreen and windows rather than via mirrors or cameras) are set for initial approval in mid-April. This follows strong support for the measures from London Cycling Campaign, Transport for London and the Action on Lorry Danger group.
Along with better direct vision on HGVs the regulations will also require new cars to be fitted with Intelligent Speed Adaptation (aka speed limiters) and a range of other safety measures.
LCC has championed better direct vision in all lorries ever since such vehicles, which eliminate most of the so called ‘blind spots,’ became the norm for refuse collection and airside use. A vehicle like the one in the photo above affords the driver a direct view of pedestrians and cyclists near to the vehicle. It means the driver can react more quickly in the event of a possible collision than when he/she has to rely on mirrors.
Once the European Parliament has formally approved the direct vision measures (the fully translated legislation is set to be passed in September 2019) they are expected to become mandatory for all new lorry types in 2023 and all lorries in 2027.
This should enable all lorry operators to have a choice of vehicles with good direct vision at more affordable prices (currently lorries with good direct vision are made in smaller numbers and trade at a premium) leading to reduced road danger for pedestrians and cyclists.
Transport for London has created a zero to five star Direct Vision Standard for lorries that will operate (at one star level) from October 2020 though initially lorries with low ratings will be able to work in London if they install mitigating measures that include both a camera system and an alert system. A three star standard will follow in 2024.
Vehicles that already meet or exceed the three star standard include the Dennis Eagle Elite, Mercedes Econic, Scania L series and some versions of the Mercedes Actros. Versions of these vehicles are available for construction, urban deliveries, refrigerated transport, long haul and as tractor units.