Direct Vision Standard and HGV Safety Permit

We continue to work with vehicle manufacturers to assign star ratings for their vehicles. Check to see if we hold your star rating and apply for a permit. Find information and guidance about the application process.

Direct vision and road safety

The Direct Vision Standard measures how much an HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows. This indicates the level of risk to vulnerable road users, such as people walking and cycling, near the vehicle.

The Direct Vision Standard and HGV safety permit for HGVs is part of the Mayor of London's Vision Zero plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London's transport network by 2041.

HGV safety permit and requirements

Whether or not the operator considers the vehicle to meet the standards, all lorries over 12 tonnes (GVW) entering or operating in Greater London need to hold a valid HGV safety permit before using the area to avoid receiving a PCN.

The HGV safety permit scheme covers most of Greater London and is in operation 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Applying for a permit is free of charge.

For more information about the scheme, you can view a map of where it operates or read the HGV safety permit guidance for operators entering London document below.

DVS star rating and Safe System

HGV operators must apply for a permit for their vehicles before travelling through the area. A permit will be granted if the vehicle meets the minimum DVS star rating.

If your vehicle does not meet the minimum DVS star rating, you will need to make your vehicle safer by fitting it with Safe System improvements, or you may receive a PCN.

What you need to know about DVS star ratings and Safe System improvements.

Getting an HGV Safety permit for a newly registered vehicle

Owners of newly registered vehicles should start the permit application process as early as possible even if the new number plate (vehicle's registration mark) is not known to us. To find out if TfL has details of your number plate, please check the star rating of your vehicle. If we can't find any vehicle details that match the number plate, you will get a message saying "Vehicle details not found" and you will need to send us proof of the vehicle's star rating as provided by the vehicle manufacturer.

If the proof of star rating does not include the number plateVRM, you should submit this together with a copy of your V5C log book (or foreign equivalent), or a document from the DVLA confirming both the vehicle's number plate and VIN.  If you do not yet have a V5C, you can send us:

  • a copy of the vehicle's record from the DVLA's View Vehicle Record service or 
  • a copy of your application for registration, or 
  • an email from the manufacturer confirming the vehicle's star rating

Documents need to be in a JPG, PNG or PDF file format, and no larger than 10MB each.

If you know your vehicle is rated zero star, you can self-certify it as zero star without needing any proof from your manufacturer (see below).

Zero Star Rating Self-Certification

If you are applying for a single vehicle we do not hold details for, and you know the vehicle has a star rating of zero, you can still submit an HGV Safety Permit application.

To self-certify the vehicle as zero star rated you must upload a written statement as part of your application.

The statement must include the following:

  • Your name
  • Number plate (vehicle registration mark)
  • Vehicle make and/or model
  • Statement that you are providing self-certification of the vehicle's zero star rating. Any self-certification statement must be made in English.

Once you receive confirmation that our records have been updated, you can make a zero star HGV Safety Permit application for the vehicle.

Vehicles from outside of the UK

Vehicles registered outside the UK more than 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight entering or operating in most of Greater London will also need to hold a valid permit. You can apply for a permit on this website the same way as UK operators do. Where we ask for your registration documents, such as a V5C log book, we accept foreign equivalents.

Please check the star rating of your vehicle and select "Non-UK". If we can't find any vehicle details that match your vehicle number plate, you will get a message saying "Vehicle details not found" and you will need to send us proof of the vehicle's star rating as provided by the manufacturer.

If the proof of Star Rating does not include the number plate, you should submit this together with a copy of your country's equivalent of the V5C log book, that confirms both the vehicle's number plate and Vehicle Identification Number.

Left-hand drive HGVs over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight still need to comply with the DVS. Mirrors, cameras and sensors should be fitted appropriately to account for the blind spot on the right-hand side.  

Note that for the required blind-spot warning sign on the rear of your trailers, the stickers now legally required for HGVs operating in France ("Angles morts") are acceptable.

Cherished plate transfers

Once granted, an HGV Safety Permit cannot be transferred to another vehicle or number plate. We will therefore need to cancel the safety permit recorded against your original number plate, and once the correct star rating is recorded you will need to make a new safety permit application, as we need to ensure that the vehicle still meets the safety requirements.

If you have made a cherished plate transfer you should therefore notify us by making an online enquiry  and submitting proof of the cherished plate transfer. This will enable us to associate the correct star rating with your new vehicle number plate.

Exemptions

A small number of vehicles are entitled to an exemption from the HGV Safety Permit Scheme. These include specialist construction vehicles built for mainly off-road use (for example, telehandlers and mobile cranes).

If your vehicle is registered in the UK it should automatically be exempt and you don't need to register it with us. However, please check the star rating of your vehicle. If your vehicle is not recognised as being exempt, or if your vehicle is registered outside the UK, you will need to contact us. When contacting us, please upload a copy of your vehicle's V5C and photos of the front, rear and side of the vehicle with the number plate clearly visible. We will then review your request and send you written confirmation of the outcome.

Enforcement and penalties

If you drive an HGV within most of Greater London without a valid permit you may receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) of up to £550 (reduced to £275 if paid within 14 days).

Progressive Safe System

The Safe System will be reviewed and consulted on in 2022 and will take into account any additional technology or safety equipment not currently available.

Any new equipment or technology proposed for the Progressive Safe System must be able to be retrofitted to HGVs, industry recognised and readily available on the market at the time.

From October 2024, HGVs rated below three stars will need to feature the Progressive Safe System.

Other charges which may apply:

Congestion Charge (CC)

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

Low Emission Zone (LEZ)

DVS research

Find out more about Direct Vision Standard research.