New Highway Code hierarchy will see surge in demand for commercial vehicle safety devices

New rules added to the Highway Code, as well as pending updates to London’s Direct Vision Standard regulations, will result in greater demand for vehicle safety devices, says Brigade Electronics.

Updates to the Highway Code, set to be introduced in November 2021, will see the introduction of a ‘hierarchy of road users’. This means those who are most likely to be seriously harmed, i.e. pedestrians and cyclists, will have greater priority over other road users.

Lorry drivers will be ranked at the lowest level and, therefore, will have the greatest responsibility towards other road users and are more likely to burden the blame in the event of an incident.

Changes to the rules include drivers being told they must not cut across cyclists going straight ahead, turning into a junction, changing direction or changing lane – making the requirement for vehicle cameras, sensors and alerts on lorries to eliminate blind spots and prevent incidents even more important.

Meanwhile, driver shortages affecting the logistics industry are also having a knock-on effect.

Emily Hardy, a road safety expert at Brigade Electronics UK

Emily Hardy, a road safety expert at Brigade Electronics UK, said: “The introduction of the Highway Code’s road user hierarchy is putting even more pressure on fleet operators, who are already facing severe driver shortages and desperately trying to attract new talent with bigger salaries and more appealing benefits packages. However, safety still remains a top priority and the new Highway Code hierarchy will only reinforce this.

“Even if you are not driving in Greater London, the approved solutions for the Direct Vision Standard, along with other industry accreditations, such as FORS, CLOCS and Van Excellence, are ideal templates for mitigating the risks of collisions. Fitting safety devices and vehicle CCTV to a fleet will provide additional peace of mind for drivers in the wake of the changing regulations and allow them to operate their vehicle with more confidence.”

London’s Direct Vision Standard, which has been in force since March 2021, will be reviewed next year with changes to come into force in 2024. Transport for London will be looking at technological advances that are already available to operators on the market and possibly making these obligatory for vehicles with a star rating of 0, 1 and 2.