Brigade Electronics says it welcomes the Mayor of London's latest version of the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) which now includes the use of cameras and sensors and says changes to vehicle design cannot replace vehicle safety devices.
In 2016 the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, launched the DVS for HGVs to improve the safety of all road users, particularly vulnerable road users. Using a star system, the DVS rates HGVs from zero (lowest) to five (highest), based on how much a HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows, as opposed to indirectly through cameras or mirrors.
The proposals set to be introduced in 2020 will now recognise the use of vehicle safety devices including cameras and sensors in addition to the visibility standards required in the cab, such as larger windscreens and glass panel doors. Vehicles with a DVS rating of one star and above would be granted a permit but those rated at zero would require additional safety devices.
Tom Brett, Brigade's UK managing director said: 'The changes to vehicle design to improve driver visibility were a great idea but cannot replace vehicle safety devices and have created their own problems.
'For instance the glass panel door on the nearside helps to improve visibility until someone sits in the passenger seat or a bag is placed there. A dirty glass panel or severe weather conditions may also affect visibility.
'The large windscreens that are supposed to improve driver visibility to the front are also reduced when the oversized sun visors are pulled down, rendering the driver unable to view the class six mirror and therefore creating a blind spot.
'For all these reasons, 360° camera systems and ultrasonic proximity sensors are essential to provide the driver with full vision around the vehicle and alert him in the event that he has not seen an obstacle. After all if you are not looking, you will not see'
The Freight Transport Association has also campaigned for the use of technology to be included in the Direct Vision Standard but warned that the final specification is still uncertain.
Natalie Chapman, FTA's head of policy for London, said: 'FTA has always argued that, in the long term, the really significant road safety improvements we want will be delivered through technology and we are glad that this point, which we have made repeated to the Mayor and TfL, is now being listened to.
'However, to ensure that the capital's businesses are able to plan and function effectively, it is imperative we have clarity as soon as possible about what the final DVS scheme is going to require'