Direct Vision Standard (DVS) – your questions answered

The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is an initiative from Transport For London (TFL) to further improve the safety of vulnerable road users on the streets of London with the aim of eliminating all road deaths and serious injuries by 2041.

Unlike previous schemes put in to place, DVS is set to become mandatory and as with many of TFL’s initiatives will likely roll out to other metropolitan areas in years to come.

Under the scheme all vehicles over 12 tonnes will be allocated a DVS star rating between zero and five. Only vehicles with a one star or higher rating will be granted a permit to operate in Greater London when DVS is implemented. In 2023 it proposed that the minimum rating will rise to three stars.

When will DVS come in to force?

Subject to a final consultation to be held in July 2019, DVS is set to come in to force on 26th October 2020. Concerns and objections are likely to be raised regarding both the efficacy of specification itself and the ability of fleets to meet the deadline.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will come in to force on the same day where HGV’s that don’t comply with the new emission rules being charged to enter the Greater London area.

How do I get a DVS permit for my vehicles?

To obtain a permit the fleet will need to apply for a permit for each vehicle, it is not clear how long a permit will last or whether they will be charged for.

The DVS is mainly about the design of the vehicle and we are likely to see a greater proliferation of high visibility cabs with lower seating positions and windows / mirrors designed to eliminate dangerous blind-spots.

With the life cycle of vehicles usually exceeding the consultation period it is important for fleets to know that a vehicle can be issued a permit

How is a star rating calculated and who does it?

A vehicles star rating is based on the drivers visibility from the cab and is calculated using technical specifications devised by TFL. It will be the vehicle manufacturers responsibility to calculate and issue the star rating which will be linked to the vehicles chassis number.

HGV’s that do not comply with the ULEZ requirements will likely pre-date manufacturer visibility data and are likely to be automatically rated at zero subject to an appeal process where the operator can submit evidence to the contrary.

What if my vehicle has a zero star rating?

Many heavy vehicles on the road when the DVS is launched will have a zero star rating, they can however be brought up to the required standard using the DVS Safe System.

The Safe System is a combination of supplementary safety equipment to aid drivers which in many ways offers greater safety benefits and is encouraged on all HGV’s under the DVS.

The Safe System specification includes:

  • Side cameras and monitors
  • Side and front ultrasonic detection systems
  • Left turn audible alerts
  • Side underun protection
  • Vehicle signage
  • Driver training

What if my vehicles are already FORS, CLOCS or Crossrail compliant?

Many of our customers have already asked whether their FORS, CLOCS and Crossrail compliant vehicles will also comply with DVS.

Broadly speaking based on the information available at the moment, the answer is yes with these standards in most cases exceeding the DVS requirements. A couple of grey areas lie within the DVS Safe System specification including no clarification on whether an offside camera is required and ambiguous wording on front ultrasonic VRU (Vulnerable Road User) sensors.

These will likely be clarified in the final consultation.

If my vehicle is DVS compliant will it meet the FORS and CLOCS vision standards?

The DVS specification does not currently meet the full requirements of the FORS and CLOCS blind-spot minimisation standards.

Here is a useful info-graphic from FORS on how the various safety standards interact with each other.