Direct Vision Standard and HGV Safety Permit Scheme

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.

Why do I need an HGV safety permit?

The Direct Vision Standard and HGV Safety Permit Scheme are part of the Mayor of London's Vision Zero plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London's transport network by 2041.

The DVS measures how much an HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows. This is then expressed as a star rating from zero (limited) to five (good). The star rating is fixed and dependent on the vehicle design, as it indicates the level of risk to road users such as people walking and cycling.

Vehicle star ratings are generally given at the point of manufacture and don't change.

The DVS requirements are changing

From 28 October 2024, HGVs over 12 tonnes will need to hold at least a three star rating, or fit the Progressive Safe System to operate in Greater London. Installing the Progressive Safe System does not change the vehicle's star rating, but increases the overall safety of the vehicle.

How to get a new HGV safety permit

If you hold a safety permit for a zero, one or two star rated vehicle granted before 24 June 2024, it will expire at 23:59 on 27 October 2024. Your zero, one or two star rated vehicle must have the Progressive Safe System fitted to receive a new permit. You can find out what the Progressive Safe System requires in our DVS Guidance for operators, available below.

HGV safety permit requirements

Whether or not the operator considers the vehicle to meet the standards, all lorries over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight (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.

Guidance for the 'grace period'

You can apply for a grace period if you think you will need more time to install the new safety measures required as part of the Progressive Safe System. If your application is successful, you will have additional time to install the Progressive Safe System and obtain an HGV safety permit.

The grace period is currently expected to run for 3 months from 28 October 2024 to 31 January 2025. We will keep the 3-month grace period under review, and will confirm in July 2024 with our partners at London Councils whether any extension to the grace period is needed.

Receiving the grace period is not automatic. If you wish to apply for it you will need to:

  • Make an application for the vehicles you wish to receive the grace period for. You will need a London Road User Charging account to use this service
  • Provide evidence that you have installation works arranged to fit the PSS but that this is scheduled for after 28 October 2024 (and by 31 January 2025 in line with the current grace period length)

Acceptable forms of evidence can include written confirmation, appointment bookings or other correspondence to the effect that you have arranged fitting works, or have purchased equipment that can only arrive after 28 October 2024.

You can apply for the grace period by logging in to your London Road User Charging account and following the instructions on the DVS enquiry form.

If your vehicle is newly registered

Owners of newly registered vehicles should start the permit application process as early as possible even if the new vehicle's registration mark (VRM) is not known to us. To find out if TfL has details of your VRM, check the star rating of your vehicle. If we can't find any vehicle details that match the VRM, you will receive a message stating 'Vehicle details not found' and you will need to send us proof of the vehicle's star rating as provided by the vehicle manufacturer together with a copy of your V5C log book (or non-UK equivalent).

If you do not yet have a V5C, you can send us one of:

  • A copy of the vehicle's record from the DVLA's View Vehicle Record service
  • A copy of your application for registration to the DVLA
  • 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, one or two stars, you can self-certify it as zero, one or two stars without needing any proof from your manufacturer. Details of this process are set out below.

If you need to self-certify your vehicle star rating

If you are applying for a single vehicle that we do not hold details for, and you know the vehicle has a star rating of zero, you can still apply for an HGV safety permit. This process is now available for vehicles rated one and two stars (under the Progressive Safe System).

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

The statement should be in English and must include the following:

  • Your name
  • Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM)
  • Vehicle make and/or model
  • Confirmation that you are providing self-certification of the vehicle's star rating
  • The specific star rating that you are self-certifying your vehicle (zero, one or two stars)

Once we have confirmed that our records have been updated, you can apply for an HGV safety permit for the vehicle.

Vehicles from outside of the UK

Heavy Goods Vehicles of more than 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight that are registered outside of the UK and operate in Greater London also need to hold a valid safety permit. You can apply for a permit on this website in the same way as for UK operators. Where we ask for your registration documents, such as a V5C log book, we accept non-UK equivalents.

Please check the star rating of your vehicle and select 'Non-UK'. If we can't find any vehicle details that match your VRM, 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, together with a copy of your country's equivalent of the V5C log book confirming both the VRM and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Left-hand drive vehicles

Left-hand drive HGVs over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight still need to meet the requirements of the DVS and HGV Safety Permit Scheme. Mirrors, cameras and sensors should be fitted appropriately to account for the blind spot on the right-hand side of the vehicle. Audible warning of intended manoeuvre can be fitted for right-turn manoeuvres relating to a left-hand drive vehicle's blind spot.

For the required blind-spot warning sign on the rear of your trailer, the stickers now legally required for HGVs operating in France ('Angles morts') are acceptable.

Cherished plate transfers

An HGV safety permit cannot be transferred to another vehicle or Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM). If you are transferring a cherished plate, we will need to cancel the safety permit recorded against your original VRM. 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 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 VRM.

Vehicle exemptions

A small number of vehicles are entitled to a full or partial exemption from the HGV Safety Permit Scheme. These include specialist construction vehicles built for mainly off-road use (for example, telehandlers and mobile cranes). The full list of exemptions under the HGV Safety Permit Scheme is provided in our DVS Operator's guidance (PDF 2.0MB).

If your vehicle is registered in the UK and is clearly defined as fully exempt, it will automatically be exempt and you don't need to register it with us. However, 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, upload a copy of your vehicle's V5C and photos of the front, rear and side of the vehicle with the Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM) clearly visible. We will then review your request and assess whether you need an HGV safety permit for your vehicle.

Vehicles type approved to UNECE regulations

Our guidance states that an additional Camera Monitoring System (CMS) does not need to be fitted where one already exists in the vehicle, or where the vehicle has a Blind spot Information System (BSIS) and a Moving Off Information System (MOIS) fitted at the point of manufacture as part of type approval with UNECE Regulation 151 and 159. This will apply where the same safety benefits are achieved, and may include a CMS fitted to replace mirrors, or as part of a BSIS.

Abnormal loads

Vehicles carrying out operations under the Special Types (General Order) Regulations and that are carrying an abnormal indivisible load may have characteristics that prevent the BSIS from working effectively. If these characteristics of abnormal loads are a permanent feature of the vehicle structure, then the vehicle can be exempted from the requirement to fit the BSIS . The vehicle would still be required to obtain a safety permit and install the other components of the Progressive Safe System.

Information for applications under the Safe System requirements (2019)

The HGV safety permits guidance will be withdrawn after 28 October 2024, but remains available to help operators who wish to fit the existing Safe System to zero star rated vehicles. An HGV safety permit issued with a Safe System condition in accordance with this guidance will expire at 23:59 on 27 October 2024, after which the Safe System will be replaced with the Progressive Safe System.

Enforcement and penalties

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

DVS research

Find out more about Direct Vision Standard research on our DVS research and tools page.