Further improving lorry safety in London

Closed 4 Mar 2016

Opened 22 Jan 2016

Results Updated 29 Sep 2016

Between 22 January and 4 March 2016, we consulted on proposals to further improve the safety of lorries in London and reduce the danger they can pose to other road users.

We received 2,147 responses in total to the consultation. Eighty two per cent of all respondents said they supported or strongly supported the aim of strengthening lorry safety by requiring the fitting of clear vision panels in passenger-side doors.

The responses show overwhelming support for improving direct vision for lorry drivers. However, recent research into direct vision from lorries has demonstrated that fitting glass panels would only deliver a very limited improvement in vision for the driver, In addition, such glass panels are not suitable for all vehicle types. 

The Mayor has now launched TfL’s first Direct Vision Standard along with proposals for how it might be applied including banning the most dangerous ‘off-road’ lorries from the capital’s roads by January 2020.  The standard assesses and rates how much an HGV driver can see directly from their cab in relation to other road users. The Standard will categorise HGVs using a five star rating system, ranging from zero stars for vehicles with the lowest direct vision, three stars for good levels of vision, to five stars for the highest levels. The plan is that only HGVs meeting 3 stars as part of the new standard will be allowed on London’s roads by 2024. 

The Direct Vision Standard will be subject to consultation which will commence shortly. We will continue to work with vehicle manufacturers, regulators, the Department for Transport and freight operators to ensure that the proposed Direct Vision Standard is as far reaching as practicable within current legislation. This standard is the key to getting ever greater numbers of safer lorries operating on the streets of London.

We are also developing a plan to enable us, the rest of the GLA family and other public and private sector organisations to specify that these safer urban trucks are used widely by companies in supply chains.

Please click here to read the consultation report and responses to key issues raised.

Files:

Overview

Update 30 September 2016

Between 22 January and 4 March 2016, we consulted on proposals to further improve the safety of lorries in London and reduce the danger they can pose to other road users.

We received 2,147 responses in total to the consultation. Eighty two per cent of all respondents said they supported or strongly supported the aim of strengthening lorry safety by requiring the fitting of clear vision panels in passenger-side doors.

The responses show overwhelming support for improving direct vision for lorry drivers. However, recent research into direct vision from lorries has demonstrated that fitting glass panels would only deliver a very limited improvement in vision for the driver, In addition, such glass panels are not suitable for all vehicle types. 

The Mayor has now launched TfL’s first Direct Vision Standard along with proposals for how it might be applied including banning the most dangerous ‘off-road’ lorries from the capital’s roads by January 2020.  The standard assesses and rates how much an HGV driver can see directly from their cab in relation to other road users. The Standard will categorise HGVs using a five star rating system, ranging from zero stars for vehicles with the lowest direct vision, three stars for good levels of vision, to five stars for the highest levels. The plan is that only HGVs meeting 3 stars as part of the new standard will be allowed on London’s roads by 2024. 

The Direct Vision Standard will be subject to consultation which will commence shortly. We will continue to work with vehicle manufacturers, regulators, the Department for Transport and freight operators to ensure that the proposed Direct Vision Standard is as far reaching as practicable within current legislation. This standard is the key to getting ever greater numbers of safer lorries operating on the streets of London.

We are also developing a plan to enable us, the rest of the GLA family and other public and private sector organisations to specify that these safer urban trucks are used widely by companies in supply chains.

Please click here to read the consultation report and responses to key issues raised.

End of update.

We proposed to improve the safety of lorries in London so that they are less of a danger to other road users. Following the success of the Safer Lorry Scheme, we want to go further - do you agree? This consultation outlines how we might do this.

The Mayor and TfL's ambition is a city with roads free from death and serious injury. Reducing the danger posed by lorries to other road users, and ensuring only the safest vehicles operate on London's streets, is critical in achieving this goal.

In September 2015, the Mayor, TfL and London Councils launched the ground-breaking Safer Lorry Scheme. Lorries over 3.5 tonnes are now banned across London unless they are fitted with required safety equipment, including mirrors and side guards. The Safer Lorry Scheme covers every road in Greater London, except motorways, and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When the Safer Lorry Scheme was launched, the Mayor stated:

"I propose to require further safety modifications to all HGVs in London, including the retrofitting of bigger side windows to further reduce the driver blind spots that contribute to so many tragic accidents."

Why strengthen lorry safety requirements in London?

Lorries are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.  

  • Between 2010 and 2014, lorries were almost 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than cars;
  • Seven of the nine cyclist fatalities in London in 2015 have involved lorries;
  • 79 per cent of fatal collisions with cyclists in the past three years have involved lorries designed to be driven off-road. 
     

Lorries are currently only required to have a window on the upper section of passenger-side door.  This makes it difficult for drivers to have a direct view of pedestrians and cyclists who are near to the front left hand side of their lorry.

Improving lorry vision

Our longer term aim is to see widespread up-take of low-entry, panoramic-vision lorries on London's streets as early as possible, as this would provide a major improvement in terms of driver visibility and safety.

TfL already operates voluntary schemes and uses procurement agreements to encourage operators and businesses to employ high vision lorry cabs within their supply chains. TfL aims to lead by example in this area and employ more of these vehicle types within our supply chain. This should continue to stimulate the market to the point that it is envisaged that, in the near future, high vision lorries will become the industry best-practice norm.

We are also working with the Government and the European Commission to seek an update to existing European and UK legislation to require enhanced direct vision standards as part of the vehicle type-approval process that lorry manufacturers must follow, so they design these improvements into their vehicles.

A number of electronic devices which give warnings of cyclists' and pedestrians' proximity are also available, as is a device which shows a 360-degree view around the vehicle, as if from above. Informed by the testing done at the Transport Research Laboratory, TfL is engaging with test houses to develop an objective and independent testing protocol for these types of devices. If it is shown that any of them offers significant and consistent benefits, we will consider requiring them to be fitted to lorries in London.

In the meantime, we proposed that the fitting of vision panels in passenger-side doors, wherever they can be fitted, should become the mandatory standard for lorries operating in London. Fitting an additional clear window panel to the lower section of the passenger-side door gives drivers a better, direct view of adjacent cyclists and pedestrians. Installation can cost between £1,000 and £1,500 and the window can be retrofitted, although they are not suitable or capable of being fitted to every lorry. We invited your views on the principle of this proposal.

Artist's impressions

Lorry exterior without panel

 


Lorry exterior with panel

 


Lorry interior without panel

 


Lorry interior with panel

Click here for a composite PDF of all the above illustrations

Implementation options

This is a consultation on the principle of requiring lorries operating in London to be fitted with vision panels in passenger side doors wherever possible. Implementation of any measures will involve close working with stakeholder groups, including the industry and Government, and the development of a "direct vision standard" which is legal and enforceable. There will be careful examination of any likely impacts and further public and stakeholder consultation before any decision on implementation is made. A lead-in period before any new measures were introduced would allow time for necessary adjustments.

Option A - Differential road charging to encourage higher vision lorries

We could change the central London Congestion Charge zone or the London-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) schemes so that a substantially higher charge is applied to lorries without the vision panels fitted to the passenger door, unless the panels are not capable of being fitted. Any modification to the charging schemes would be the subject of further consultation and would need to be approved by the Mayor.

Option B - Restricting non-compliant vehicles

We could seek to place restrictions on lorries without passenger door vision panels, unless it’s not possible to fit them. This could be a total ban, operating 24/7; a specific time restriction, so that they can only operate at particular times of the day; or a route restriction, so that the whole or majority of their journey takes place on defined 'safer routes' (for example where cyclists are physically segregated from other road traffic). Non-compliant vehicles breaking these restrictions would be subject to a fine.

Such restrictions could be mandated by co-ordinated Traffic Regulation Orders from TfL and London's boroughs, possibly as an amendment to the existing TfL and Borough Safer Lorry Scheme traffic orders, and will be subject to statutory consultation. Alternatively the Government has powers to make a similar order, subject to parliamentary approval.

Next steps

This is the first stage of consultation to further improve lorry safety.

The feedback that we receive from the consultation will inform which options that we take forward. Once identified, we will undertake further consultation on the preferred option(s).

 

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Public
  • Stakeholders
  • Local residents
  • Local businesses
  • Schools
  • London Boroughs
  • Coach Operators
  • Taxi trade
  • Transport for London
  • Taxi customers and other stakeholders

Interests

  • Safer Lorries