As an international freight company, at Emons Cargo 2WIN we like to constantly keep up to date with regulations and standards required in the countries of our network. Today is time to have a look at London and its updates on their road safety strategy: Vision Zero.
The concept of Vision Zero was introduced in Sweden in the late 1990s. The goal of this strategy is to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries on roads, streets and highways to zero.
This ambitious initiative has been adopted by many countries around the world among which is the United Kingdom. There, in 2020, the program was implemented with the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) regulation.
But let’s try to go through this topic by taking a step at a time.
What is Vision Zero?
In easy words, Vision Zero is a road safety strategy. The core idea behind it is that human life and health should be the top priority when planning and operating transportation systems. The main goal is not only to reduce the number of incidents on the roads but also to minimise the severity of injuries that may result from them.
The approach considers traffic safety as a shared responsibility that involves every road user. To achieve this goal Vision Zero involves a combination of strategies, such as improving road design, reducing speed limits, enhancing traffic enforcement, educating road users, and increasing public awareness.
Several countries adopted these kinds of initiatives. In France, for example, the government made it mandatory for every heavy goods vehicle over 3.5 tonnes to display a sticker indicating its blind spots.
The regulation was introduced in January 2021. These stickers are can now be seen very often; you have probably spotted them on many trucks.
Overall, Vision Zero strategy, while promoting the reduction of the negative impact of transportation on the environment and public health, wants to create a safe transportation system that prioritizes the well-being of road users.
What is Vision Zero Action Plan?
In 2018, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced his Vision Zero Action Plan, a set of principles and best practices developed by Transport for London (TfL) aimed at eliminating all deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads by 2041.
The initiatives include the advancement of road infrastructure, the promotion of safe and healthy alternatives to driving, the focus on driver training and the use of safety technology, and the improvement of data collection and analysis to help informed decisions about specific traffic areas.
What is Direct Vision Standard?
DVS is part of the bigger Vision Zero Action Plan. It counts a set of regulations regarding heavy goods vehicles (HGV) operating in Greater London – the southeast region of England encompassing the city of London and its surrounding areas.
The main focus of the DVS is on reducing HGVs’ blind spots.
Because of their size and shape, heavy goods vehicles have large blind spots on their sides, front and back where the driver’s view is obstructed. These can be a serious danger, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
To tackle this danger, HGVs over 12 tonnes entering or operating within Greater London will be required to meet a minimum standard for direct vision from the driver’s cab. This is determined by a star rating system ranging from zero to five stars, with a high star rating indicating better visibility.
The measure came into effect on 26 October 2020 and applies to all newly registered heavy vehicles from that date. Existing HGVs must be optimized to meet the standards required by 2023. To improve the rating of an existing vehicle it will be necessary to instal safety features such as cameras, sensors, and audible warning systems.
Transport for London has recently proposed several updates to the DVS strategy that are now going through a consultation period.
Some of the updates include the recognition of camera systems as an alternative to mirrors to cover and eliminate blind spots. As for the sensors, they will be required on the trailers as well as on the tractor unit.
Regarding the permit for HGVs to operate within Greater London, there is a proposal for a Progressive Safe System (PSS) to ensure that heavy vehicle operators are using the latest safety equipment. Designed as a continuously improving strategy, the DVS plan includes a constant reviewing of safety standards to which HGVs must comply to be allowed to enter London and its surroundings without incurring penalty charges. PSS conditions will be published in the summer of 2023 and will become a requirement from October 2024.
2WIN safety features
At Emons Cargo 2WIN, we take safety extremely seriously. Initiatives like Vision Zero, Direct Vision Standard, and Progressive Safe System perfectly meet the importance we attach to human life and our idea of road safety.
Our company has been constantly working on improving our 2WIN trucks with the latest technology to increase our safety and sustainability standards.
Emons Cargo 2WIN fleet has lately increased its number with new DAF tractors equipped with the latest technology – Check our new trucks.
Camera systems, sensors, and other features are tools that significantly improve safety as well as sustainability and driver’s comfort on our trucks. One example is the ‘DAF City Turn Assist’, a tool that reacts with visual and audible warning signs when a road user is in the truck blind zone.
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