Navigating the Direct Vision Standard Changes 2024: What Fleet Operators Need to Know

In October 2024, the UK will implement significant updates to the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for HGVs, a regulatory measure designed to improve road safety in Greater London. These changes primarily affect heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 12 tonnes and support the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero strategy. This strategy aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on the city’s transport network by 2041. This blog post explores the upcoming changes, how they will impact fleet operators, and provides a detailed look at the Direct Vision Standard for HGVs star rating system.

Understanding the Direct Vision Standard (DVS)

The DVS measures how much an HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows, without the aid of mirrors or cameras. Vehicles receive a star rating from zero to five stars based on the driver’s direct field of vision. Here’s a breakdown of the star ratings:

  • 0 Stars: Poor direct vision, high risk to surrounding road users.
  • 1 Star: Minimum acceptable direct vision, requires additional safety systems.
  • 2 Stars: Below average direct vision, requires additional safety systems.
  • 3 Stars: Good direct vision, typically meets upcoming 2024 standards without modifications.
  • 4 Stars: Very good direct vision, provides a higher level of safety.
  • 5 Stars: Excellent direct vision, minimal blind spots, and low risk to road users.

The vehicle’s design and the amount of direct vision provided to the driver determine the star rating. Consequently, a higher star rating reduces the reliance on supplementary safety systems to mitigate blind spots.

Key Changes Coming in October 2024

Starting in October 2024, the minimum required star rating for vehicles will increase from one star to three stars. Therefore:

  • Vehicles with 3 Stars or Higher: Operators can apply for a DVS permit without additional modifications.
  • Vehicles with 0 to 2 Stars: Operators must fit a Progressive Safe System (PSS) to be eligible for a permit.

The PSS includes several advanced safety measures:

  • Camera Monitoring Systems: These systems eliminate remaining blind spots.
  • Nearside Sensor Systems: These systems detect vulnerable road users (VRUs) like pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Moving Off Information Systems (MOIS): Sensors prevent collisions when the vehicle starts moving.
  • Audible Warnings: Systems alert VRUs of the vehicle’s movements.
  • Warning Signage: Clear signage warns surrounding road users.

Overall, these updates enhance safety for all road users, particularly VRUs, by ensuring that HGVs operating in London have the necessary equipment to minimize blind spots and prevent accidents.

Impact on Fleet Operators

The upcoming changes will significantly impact fleet operators who manage HGVs in Greater London. Here’s what operators need to consider:

  • Assessment and Upgrades: Operators need to assess their current fleet’s DVS star ratings. Vehicles that do not meet the three-star requirement need upgrading with the PSS.
  • Cost and Compliance: Upgrading vehicles with the required safety systems can be substantial. Therefore, operators must budget for these expenses and plan for the installation process well in advance of the October 2024 deadline.
  • Training and Maintenance: Operators must ensure that drivers are trained to use the new safety systems effectively and that the systems are regularly maintained to ensure ongoing compliance.

Failure to comply with the new DVS requirements can result in penalties, including a penalty charge notice of up to £550 for operating without a valid permit, which reduces to £275 if paid within 14 days.

Preparing for the Transition

To smoothly transition to the new standards, fleet operators should:
  • Evaluate Current Fleet: Determine the star ratings of all vehicles and identify those needing upgrades.
  • Plan Upgrades: Work with suppliers to install the necessary PSS components, ensuring all equipment meets the new DVS specifications.
  • Budget Accordingly: Allocate funds for the upgrades and factor in potential downtime during the installation process.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest DVS guidelines from Transport for London (TfL) and consult with industry experts to ensure full compliance.
Applications for PSS permits will open on 24 June 2024. To be ready for this:
  • If you already hold a Safe System permit for a zero-star rated HGV, you only need to supply proof that the Moving Off Information System (MOIS) and Blind Spot Information System (BSIS) work correctly. Before you do this, make sure your contact details are up to date and you have your existing permit number.
  • Ensure your contact details are up to date so that we can send the right information to the right person in your organization. If you need to update your details, please do so through the DVS contact page. Alternatively, you can submit a new application with new contact details once applications open on 24 June 2024.
  • You can fit the PSS to your vehicle now and receive a safety permit under current Safe System rules. You need to apply for a replacement permit once applications open on 24 June 2024, but you do not need to wait until then to fit the PSS.
  • If you have a vehicle rated as three, four, or five stars, you do not need to install the PSS, and your safety permit will continue to be valid until its expiry date. New vehicles rated three stars and above still need to apply for a safety permit.

The 2024 changes to the Direct Vision Standard represent a crucial step towards safer roads in London. Although these changes pose challenges for fleet operators, proactive planning and adherence to the new requirements will ensure compliance and contribute to the overall safety of the city’s transport network. By investing in advanced safety systems and training, operators can help achieve the vision of a safer, injury-free London.

Discover How BackWatch Can Facilitate Your Transition

BackWatch offers state-of-the-art solutions to streamline your adaptation to the evolving Direct Vision Standard for HGVs requirements. Our advanced camera monitoring systems and sensor technologies are customizable to your fleet’s needs, ensuring maximum safety and compliance. With our expertise, you can confidently navigate the upcoming changes, minimize blind spots, and enhance road safety for all. Contact us today to learn more about how BackWatch can be your trusted partner in this transformative journey towards safer roads in London.


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