Transport for London has published new research which it says proves that having direct vision from the cab of a lorry rather than relying on mirrors and monitors has a substantial impact on improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
The findings have been published as TfL launches the first consultation into the use of its ‘zero to five star’ Direct Vision Standard for HGVs operating in the capital. The 12-week consultation runs until 18 April and aims to identify how the new standard can best be used to reduce road casualties.
By setting out its plans now, TfL expects many dangerous lorries to be upgraded before the restriction on the most dangerous HGVs comes into place in 2020.
As part of the research, a simulator was used to replicate a real-life driving situation, and it showed that the amount of direct vision a driver has could be a crucial factor in allowing a dangerous collision to be avoided. The study found that drivers respond, on average, 0.7 second slower when checking blind spots and monitors compared to directly through the windows. This delay can result in a lorry travelling an extra 1.5 metres before seeing a nearby road user, enough to cause death or serious injury.
“This new research shows how important it is that we take bold action to address dangerous and poorly-designed lorries,” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said. “HGVs with poor vision of cyclists, pedestrians and other road users from their cabin should simply not be allowed on London's roads.
“Our ground-breaking Direct Vision Standard will be the first of its kind in the world, and TfL will lead by example by not using any zero-star lorries in its future supply chain. By continuing to work closely with industry, and beginning our first consultation now, we're confident that many of the most dangerous lorries on London's roads will be upgraded before our ban comes into place.”
Under the Mayor’s plans, the most dangerous HGVs will be banned entirely by January 2020. These HGVs, often off-road lorries, would be zero-star rated by the Direct Vision Standard – determined by the level of vision the driver has directly from the cab.
Recent data shows that HGVs were involved in 22.5% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist fatalities on London's roads in 2014 and 2015, despite accounting for only 4% of miles driven.