Published: 11th October 2023
Transport for London has issued the latest progressive safety system regulations.
From October 2024, the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), a permit to drive HGVs into Greater London, will undergo significant changes that all operators must be aware of. Among the key changes, the minimum star rating requirement, will increase from one to three stars.
This adjustment signifies a higher emphasis on safety, particularly for vehicles that fall short of the star rating. To obtain a permit, these vehicles will need to be equipped with extra AI safety equipment.
Steve MacDonald, the chairman and founder of SM UK which specialises in commercial vehicle safety systems has issued an industry warning saying,
“It has become obvious that the industry will need more time to fit these progressive safety kits to the thousands of trucks that will need them in order to operate within the designated London area”.
He explained that previously, the permit for additional safety equipment for HGVs was referred to as a “safe permit.” However, from October 2024, it will be known as the “Progressive Safe System” (PSS). This transition is part of the broader effort to enhance safety standards. The PSS introduces the latest advancements in technology, meaning that some operators may need to replace their existing equipment with new, more advanced technology.
From the very first full week of the new regulations being issued, the company received more than 2,430 vehicle reservations for the new predictive safety systems, and with the moving off system not due from Brigade until January 2024 it will be tough to meet the October 2024 deadline.
“The period given to complete thousands of HGVs is unrealistic and suggests that many fleet managers will find themselves either unable to enter London or being fined by TfL for entering London without the necessary permit”.
The new regulations require a trained electrician to sign off that the equipment been fitted is AI predictive and has been programmed to reduce accidents by alerting the driver to the potential of an accident between the truck and other vulnerable road users.
The PSS’s specific test procedures, place the responsibility on DVS equipment fitters such as SMUK and manufacturers to confirm that their products meet the requirements through a ‘sensor functionality statement.’ Manufacturers must also provide details on how their products integrate with other systems without compromising safety-critical aspects or vehicle performance. Products with an E-mark certification will meet these requirements.
In a statement, to the industry trade press Commercial Motor and Motor Transport Steve MacDonald said,
“The unprecedented level of enquiries makes it obvious that the number of vehicles requiring the system completely outstrips the number of skilled technicians across the industry and as such we will need more time.”
“TfL have failed to get to grips with the enormity of what needs completing in this onerous timescale”
He is concerned that the new predictive technology represents a departure from what drivers may be accustomed to. As a result, there is a need for driver re-education.
Emily Hardy from Brigade Electronics echoed some of Steve’s comments and stated that,
“There is a concern that some fleet managers may well find themselves fitting equipment that is not fit for purpose and may have been fitted by a technician that doesn’t have the required skill level” which may well affect the safety of the vehicle and could compromise the safety sentiment behind the whole scheme.
What You Need to Know
The current DVS Scheme for vehicles over 12 tonnes, is changing. From October 2024 the minimum star rating requirement is increasing from one to three stars. Operators that fall short of the required star rating will need to apply for a Progressive Safe System (PSS).
This replaces the current Safe Permit and requires a new range of blind spot and predictive collision warning technologies. Some technologies fitted to meet the current DVS requirements will not be applicable from October 2024.
PSS requires technologies that can predict collisions and warn the driver with a range of audible and visual warnings depending on the severity of the danger.
Predictive side sensor technology to warn the driver of a collision.
MOIS – A front sensor system that provides alerts to the driver when a vulnerable road user is in the detection path, both when preparing to move off and when moving off.
A nearside camera and monitor
An audible alarm to warn other road users that the driver is about to move.
An A3 size DVS sticker.
Products must not interfere with safety critical aspects of the vehicle and must therefore have E Mark Certification
The new specification also requires the Original Equipment Manufacturer to test the products with a specific test procedure.
Any equipment fitted must be signed off by a competent engineer installer equipment fitted.
The manufactures should also provide details on how the products link with other systems and they should not adversely affect any safety critical aspects or performance of the vehicle E Mark Certification.