HGVs will have to meet tough new rules ensuring drivers can see other road users or face being banned from the capital’s roads under new rules announced today by Mayor Sadiq Khan.
According to official figures, in the past two years heavy goods vehicles were involved in almost a quarter of pedestrian fatalities and 58 per cent of cyclist fatalities on London’s roads, despite only accounting for four per cent of the miles driven.
In recent years Transport for London, City Hall and local councils have introduced a series of measures, including mandating the installation of cycle rails and additional safety mirrors in lorries, to cut accident numbers.
These efforts have been backed up by extra enforcement action by the Metropolitan Police.
Now the capital is to introduce a new star-based rating system which will assess the level of visibility the driver has directly from the cab and award them a score.
Lorries with 3 stars or above would be allowed to operate in the capital, but those falling below this standard would be banned.
Mr Khan’s office say the new Direct Vision Standard – which is expected to come into force from 2020 – is “a world first” and will significantly improve road safety.
The new rules will be subject to a public consultation but in the meantime the Mayor has committed his agencies, including TfL, to mandate compliance with them in all new contracts. This will ensure that no trucks with ‘blind spots’ are used in their future supply chains.
In a major boost for road safety, the firm constructing the Thames Tideway Tunnel has also committed to voluntarily adopting the new rules, and City Hall says it will also lobby other developers and councils to encourage them to do the same.
“I’m not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads,” said Mr Khan on Thursday.
“I’m determined to ensure the most dangerous zero star-rated lorries are removed from our roads completely by 2020.
“By continuing to work closely with industry, using TfL and public sector procurement and announcing our plans now, I’m confident that many of our lorries will now be upgraded well before the ban comes into place, and the benefits of a new era of modernised and safer HGVs felt by all road users across London.”
IMAGE: HOW THE NEW RULES BOOST DRIVER VISIBILTY
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, added: “Lorries designed in the 1970s and for use in a quarry have no place on the streets of a 21st century city.
“Our Direct Vision Standard has been developed using extensive technical research and builds on the success of working in partnership with both vehicle operators and manufacturers through the award-winning CLOCS.
“By helping everyone ensure they are using, contracting or buying lorries with high levels of driver direct vision, we will increase the demand and supply of such vehicles to the point where these safer trucks are the main lorry of choice in the Capital, other cities and around the world.”
However, a decision to scrap plans to force lorry owners to retrofit new, larger side windows has been criticised by the capital’s former cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan.
Mr Gilligan, who served under Mayor Boris Johnson, said: “The Mayor has scrapped a proposal which had 82 per cent support in the consultation – and which his own research shows would have avoided collisions, avoided cyclists being crushed under the wheels of lorries and therefore saved lives.”
Val Shawcross, Mr Khan’s transport deputy, says she and the Mayor are confident the new vision standards will make the captial’s streets safer.