When it comes to operating heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), visibility is crucial. The more a driver can see, the safer the roads are for everyone. This understanding forms the basis of the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), a groundbreaking initiative aimed at improving road safety. This blog post delves into the concept of direct vision, the Direct Vision Standard, and why it's so important.
Direct vision refers to what a driver can see from their cab without the aid of mirrors or cameras. In essence, it's the view through the windows of the cab. The concept of direct vision is especially important in the context of HGVs, where the size and design of the vehicle can often result in significant blind spots, making it harder for drivers to see vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.
The Direct Vision Standard is a safety initiative implemented by Transport for London (TfL). It introduces a star-rating system for HGVs based on how much a driver can see directly from their cab. The rating goes from zero (poor direct vision) to five stars (excellent direct vision). The DVS applies to all HGVs over 12 tonnes operating in Greater London.
The importance of direct vision lies in its impact on road safety. Better direct vision reduces reliance on mirrors and cameras, allowing drivers to react more quickly to situations as they unfold. Here are a few reasons why direct vision is so important:
Reducing Accidents: Improved direct vision can help reduce accidents involving vulnerable road users by increasing the driver's awareness of their immediate surroundings.
Compliance: For HGV operators in London, compliance with the DVS is a legal requirement. Non-compliant vehicles face substantial daily ‘penalty’ charges.
Responsibility: Beyond the legal and financial implications, improving direct vision is part of an operator's responsibility to contribute to safer roads.
For vehicles with a low DVS rating, certain modifications can help improve safety. This is referred to as the Safe System, and it includes measures like installing a camera monitoring system, sensor systems, and additional mirrors to improve indirect vision, alongside other safety features like side under-run protection and audible vehicle manoeuvring warnings.
The importance of direct vision cannot be overstated. As a key factor in road safety, it's not only a focus for legislation like the DVS but also a critical consideration for anyone operating HGVs. By understanding and prioritising direct vision, HGV operators can play a significant role in creating safer roads for everyone. Whether it's through vehicle design, the use of technology, or driver training, every step taken towards better direct vision is a step towards safer, more responsible road use.
Need your vehicles or fleet up to DVS spec? You need to contact Sentinel Systems today.