FTA and London Mayor’s office clash over safety

The UK’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) has hit back at the London’s Mayor’s office over a new safety measure being considered by Transport for London (TfL).

A public consultation launched on Friday sets out the intention to require all HGVs on London’s roads to have a transparent panel on passenger side doors to increase visibility. It is hoped that drivers could then see cyclists and pedestrians.

To protect cyclists, proposals from Boris Johnson’s office suggest that a see through panel be installed on the passenger side door of the large vehicles. Head of National and Regional Policy at the FTA, Christopher Snelling said, Side panel have limitations – for example, if the vehicle is carrying a second crew member or equipment then the view may be obscured. In recent years the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have made additional mirrors, cameras and sensors a priority for HGVs. Now suddenly this one panel is the answer – and those who have already eliminated this blind spot through technology will be forced to adapt their vehicles again to address the same problem.”

The FTA estimate that in order to meet these new requirements the road haulage industry would have to invest £280 million. Snelling continued, “Wholly redesigned cabs with lower seats can eliminate far more blind spots – including those that affect pedestrian collisions as well as cyclists.  But they are much more expensive – partly because so few are made.  London can now help make these vehicles a part of the mainstream by allowing operators to off-set the cost of buying them against a reduced congestion charge.”

Snelling concluded, “It is important to remember that any cost added to logistics in London will eventually get passed on to the users – the businesses and residents of London.  They are the ones who will ultimately be paying this bill.”