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LCC lorry safety work starts to pay off

A new TfL report suggests our lorry safety changes are working but there's a long way still to go

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For over 20 years we have been campaigning to get the most dangerous lorries off our streets.

This week’s new report from Transport for London (TfL) shows our work is starting to pay off.

Today (4 July 2022) is just over one year on from the introduction of TfL’s Direct Vision Standard for lorries, which measures good driver vision (from zero to five stars).

Our 2015 campaign

Back in 2015, our ‘End Lorry Danger’ campaign persuaded then-mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan to agree to remove the most dangerous lorry designs. We highlighted in particular the problem of blind spots in conventional HGVs while pointing to the good visibility in lorries like refuse carts.

The results

The latest data from TfL, after one year of Direct Vision Standard enforcement (March 2021-March 2022) finds fewer lorries with blind spots and also fewer serious injuries involving HGVs.

Although TfL advises caution with only one year’s worth of data they say:

“…the first year of enforcement of the Direct Vision Standard and the HGV safety permit has seen a reduction in fatal collisions where vision is cited as a contributing factor.”

“Collision severity involving HGVs has also been falling… This indicates that interventions undertaken by TfL and the freight industry in recent years may already be making a positive impact.”

Where next for Vision Zero?

This first year’s worth of data contains promising signs. But we’re still a long way from the Mayor’s Vision Zero target for no fatal or serious collisions on our roads.

Lorries only represent 3% of traffic miles on London roads yet between 2015 and 2017, a HGV was involved in 63% of people killed while cycling and 25% of those killed while walking.

Under current TfL rules, lorries must be at least one star or be fitted with a ‘safe system’ – an electronic method combining cameras and alerts. This new TfL report says 94% of vehicles are now compliant – but this still means thousands of penalty charges have been imposed on zero star lorries for non-compliance. And of the 200,000 lorry permits issued, more than half were were for zero star lorries that had ‘safe systems’ fitted.

We at LCC want all lorries in London to meet the legal standards, with lorries that have minimal or no blind spots to become the norm rather than the exception

From London to Europe

TfL report that hauliers are upgrading to three star lorries in anticipation of future higher regulatory standards – the TfL standard will rise to three stars from October 2024.

We welcome this further step towards reducing road danger in London, and our work is also starting to impact European standards as well.

Back in 2019, we worked with TfL and successfully lobbied for an international standard to make good direct vision the norm for all lorries manufactured across the whole of Europe. The EU subsequently agreed to include a direct vision standard in its update of the General Safety regulations for HGV manufacturers – the details of this are currently being hammered out.

We are hugely grateful to all our members and patrons who enable us to campaign on critical topics like this.

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