London could ban low vision HGVs

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a consultation on proposals that may result in bans for HGVs that do not have ability for drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists near the vehicle.

Statistics routinely show that there are a disproportionate number of fatalities involving HGVs and pedestrians and cyclists. Khan is proposing a five star rating systems that will define how much an HGV driver can see directly from the vehicle’s cab rather than through mirrors or other equipment.

The aim of the scheme would be to give manufacturers, operators and contractors an objective standard to rate and improve the safety of HGVs.

The London Mayor would also use the standard as a basis to introduce a ban or other restriction on zero-star rated HGVs from London’s streets by 2020. Only those HGVs with three stars or more would be allowed on the streets of London by 2024.

Khan also argued that there is a wealth of evidence to show that HGVs with direct sight of the road, as opposed to mirrors or cameras, significantly reduce the risk of killing or seriously injuring cyclists and pedestrians.

Khan said, “There will be further consultations on detailed proposals before any ban or other restrictions come into force.”

The Freight Transport Association expressed concern about the plans.

FTA’s head of national and regional policy Christopher Snelling said: “Direct vision is clearly a benefit in safety and FTA has advised operators for many years to procure vehicles with the best possible sightlines.  However, there are limits to the benefits, which means regulating in this way may not be the best answer to improving safety on our roads.

“Research for Transport for London (TfL) has shown that no amount of direct vision would help in most cyclist incidents.  Technology may prove a better route to minimising casualties as quickly as possible.”
 
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