The Direct Vision Standard

On 30 September 2016 the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, launched the world's first Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for HGVs. It was created to improve the safety of all road users, particularly vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Using a star system, the DVS rates HGVs from 0 (lowest) to 5 (highest), based on how much a HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows, as opposed to indirectly through cameras or mirrors.

Why we need the DVS

Safety is the Mayor's priority and he has committed to a 'vision zero' approach to road danger reduction. This means tackling road danger at its source to ensure London has the safest streets, people and vehicles.

Over the past 3 years, HGVs were involved in 20% of pedestrian fatalities and over 70% of cyclist fatalities, despite HGVs only making up 4% of road miles in London.

HGV blind spots are a major contributory factor in fatal collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians. The DVS is intended to help address this.

How the DVS is rated

Each HGV is awarded a rating based on how much a driver can see of the area of greatest risk to vulnerable road users. This area has been identified through analysis of collision data and through consideration of how much of a person can, and needs to be seen to avoid collision.

The area of greatest risk is split into different zones: the zones where the most collisions happen are important for the driver to see because they can take action to avoid a collision. These zones are awarded a higher weighting.

A defined technical measurement is used to calculate the total volume of the weighted area of greatest risk that can be seen directly by the driver, and each vehicle is awarded a score. The score determines the star rating which rewards incremental improvements to direct vision.

The higher the star rating, the more a driver can see directly of the area of greatest risk. Five stars will represent the best, those HGVs that allow the greatest direct visibility with features like low-entry and re-modelled cabs.

HGV safety standard permit scheme

Following feedback from the first phase of DVS consultation (January - April 2017) we have developed proposals, which now include a HGV Safety Permit Scheme based on a 'safe system' approach to reducing road risk.

The permit scheme will begin to tackle the risks posed by HGVs to vulnerable road users in London, taking into account other vehicle safety measures alongside the DVS star rating.

If proposals are approved, from 2020 all HGVs over 12 tonnes will have to hold a safety permit when entering or operating in London. Those rated 1-star and above would automatically be granted a permit, while those rated 0-star (lowest) would have to meet specific, recognised measures as part of a safe system. These measures may include checking: sensors, visual warnings and comprehensive driver training.

The safety permit scheme will possibly evolve alongside technological advances. It is proposed that from 2024 only those rated 3-star and above, or those with an advanced safety system, would be allowed on London's streets.

Industry experts and vulnerable road user representatives will continue to be an important part of developing plans. Confirmed DVS star ratings will subsequently be published.

The aim of these measures is to provide a comprehensive approach to reducing road danger for all road users.

Alongside developing the DVS and the proposed safety permit scheme, we are also lobbying the European Commission for changes in international vehicle safety and design regulations to push for long term improvements to future HGV fleets.

DVS consultation

There are three phases to the DVS consultation:

Phase 1

Between 24 January and 18 April 2017, we consulted on the DVS proposal and collected evidence to help inform an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA). The IIA assessed the likely impacts of the DVS on a range of issues.

Phase 2a

The second consultation phase (16 November 2017 - 24 January 2018 asked for views and feedback on:

  • The HGV Safety Standard Permit Scheme and Safe System approach
  • The details of the method for rating vehicles to the DVS

Feedback from this consultation will be used to develop a second IIA and finalise the scheme proposals to be included in phase 2b of the consultation.

Phase 2b

The final phase will be a consultation on statutory proposals to implement the finalised proposed scheme.


Find out more about DVS research.

Contact us

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