Transport for London slammed for ignoring reversing alarms in DVS rules

The looming Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for commercial vehicles in London ‘bizarrely’ ignores the proven effectiveness of safety tech like reversing alarms, claims a leading road safety expert.

From October 26, all goods vehicles over 12 tonnes will require a permit to drive into Greater London, including vehicles from outside the UK.

Enforced by Transport for London (TfL), the DVS legislation is based on a ‘star rating’ indicating how much a driver can see from the cab in relation to other road users – known as ‘direct vision’. It is intended to protect vulnerable road users, such as people walking and cycling, near the vehicle.

But the DVS’ criteria side-lines reversing alarms and ‘indirect vision’ technology like cameras and sensors. This is concerning because the criteria does not address the issue of zero direct vision from the cab to the area behind a truck’s body.

Now road safety pioneer Chris Hanson-Abbot OBE, the founder and chairman of Brigade Electronics, has written to TfL for answers.

Chris says requirements address direct driver visibility to every area around a vehicle except behind it. This is worrying as this zone is where pedestrians and cyclists – perhaps several – can remain hidden to the driver.

“Tried and tested indirect rearward vision devices, alarms, and sensors are now widely available – but direct vision behind the truck body is obviously out of the question. TfL might claim that this subject can wait until the first revision in 2022/24 and cross its fingers in the meantime. As a safety expert in this area, I find this very worrying.”

Operators should look at bringing their vehicles in line with FORS silver requirements, which is a slightly higher spec and would automatically include; a rear camera, a reversing alarm, and a digital recording system to record incidents and assist in driver training and development.

Brigade has developed a range of DVS safety systems to ensure vehicles meet the minimum requirements for the upcoming legislation. The firm says it DVS star rating service, which is free of charge to use, will help fleet operators to avoid any confusion and quickly determine whether their vehicles are compliant and if any additional safety devices will need to be fitted.