Direct Vision Standard - Your Guide to DVS Compliance

DVS Compliance Guide

To fully understand what the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is about please read our guide below. As your vehicle safety specialists
we are able to advise you what it is, why it exists, who will be affected and how Sentinel Systems can help you achieve compliance.

For more information call and speak to one of our safety specialists on 01285 771333 or send us an email to

How did the Direct vision standard come about?

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has adopted Vision Zero for road danger in London, aiming for all deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London’s streets by 2041. Vision Zero means ensuring the street environment incorporates safe speeds, safe behaviours, safe street design and safe vehicles to target road danger at its source. To achieve this target and reduce risk relating to heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and people walking or cycling, TfL have developed the world’s first Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and the introduction of a safety permit scheme for all lorries more than 12 tonnes GVW entering or operating in Greater London.

What is the direct vision standard?

The DVS has been developed in order to address the high number of collisions in London involving HGVs and people walking or cycling. The DVS objectively measures a driver’s direct view through the windows of an HGV cab. This is communicated as a star rating from zero (poor) to five (excellent), which indicates the level of risk to people walking and cycling near the vehicle.

Who does the direct vision standard effect?

All HGVs more than 12 tonnes GVW entering or operating in Greater London from the 1st March 2021 will need to hold a safety permit. You will be able to obtain a safety permit from October 2019. The scheme will be enforced from the 1st March 2021 across Greater London, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is the same date heavy vehicles will need to meet even stronger Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards London-wide.

How do I make my vehicle compliant?

If your vehicle meets the minimum DVS star rating you will be granted a permit, however it is your responsibility to obtain a permit for each of your vehicles. From the 1st March 2021, the minimum DVS rating will be one star to enter or operate in Greater London and this will then increase to a minimum of three stars in 2024. If your vehicle does not meet the DVS star rating or is not rated, you will need to meet the ‘Safe System’ requirements to be granted a permit. (See below, What do you need if your vehicle is zero star rated?)
Under the scheme proposals, it would be unlawful to:
• Operate an HGV more than 12 tonnes GVW in Greater London without a permit
• Breach Safe System permit conditions

How do the ratings Work?

All vehicles shall obtain a star rating under the DVS system. Every vehicle must meet a minimum DVS star rating of one star from the 1st March 2021, unless exempt from the scheme.                            
The rating shall be determined by the vehicle’s manufacturer using the approved HGV DVS technical protocol.

• Where this rating is one star or above, fleet operators will be able to apply for a safety permit with no further mandatory action required
• Where this rating is zero star, or where a vehicle is unable to be rated, which will be the conditions of the permit.

Operators must be able to demonstrate compliance with the DVS when applying for the safety permit. A record of star ratings will be kept by the vehicle manufacturer and passed on to TfL. Permits will not be automatically issued; fleet operators will still be required to apply for a permit when the application process opens, or a new vehicle is procured. Note: For existing vehicles, manufacturers will consider ratings based on the vehicle chassis number as provided by the operator. Any DVS rating advised will reflect the specification of the vehicle at first stage manufacture. Multi-stage manufacture and later modifications are not reflected in the DVS rating. Your manufacturer will be able to advise.

What do you need if your vehicle is zero star rated?

1. Class V mirror shall be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle
2. Class VI mirror shall be fitted to the front of the vehicle
3. Side under-run protection shall be fitted to both sides of the vehicle (except where this is impractical or proves to be impossible)
4. External pictorial stickers and markings shall be displayed on vehicles to warn vulnerable road users of the hazards around the vehicle, available to purchase from Sentinel Systems.
5. A Sentinel Proximity Sensor System that alerts the driver to the presence of a vulnerable road user shall be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle
6. Audible vehicle manoeuvring warning shall be fitted to warn vulnerable road users when a vehicle is turning left
7. A fully operational Sentinel camera monitoring system shall be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle

How do I get my permit and what else do I need to know?

From 1st March 2021, all HGVs more than 12 tonne GVW will require a HGV safety permit to enter or operate in London, unless exempt. Operators of vehicles requiring a permit will need to apply to TfL, permits will be issued electronically only. Operators will receive a permit reference number with their confirmation email but no certificate or hard copy permit will be issued. Enforcement will be carried out using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras by comparing the TfL database of vehicle registrations with valid permits to those without.

Where a vehicle with a valid permit is sold and purchased by a new owner, they must apply for a new permit. This will ensure records for enforcement are up to date. The duration of the permit will depend on the following factors:

• Zero star vehicles with an approved Safe System will be granted a permit until 2024 (when the Progressive Safe System will be required for vehicles rated two star or below)
• One- and two-star vehicles will be granted permits until 2024 (when the Progressive Safe System will be required)
• Three, four- and five-star vehicles will be granted a 10 year permit

Permits will be free of charge – there will be no cost to the operator when applying for the permit(s). From 1st March 2021, any HGV found to be in breach of the permit scheme will be issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of up to £550 (reduced by 50 per cent if paid within 14 days).

Manufacturer Contacts to confirm DVS rating


Want to know more?

Call and speak to one of our safety specialists on 01285 771333 or send us an email to

Or download our user friendly Direct Vision Standard Guide

Please visit TFL’s website (Hyperlink)
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