The UK’s Transport for London (TfL) has announced the enforcement of its new lorry safety scheme, Direct Vision Standard (DVS), on all roads in the capital city.

The scheme was developed in cooperation with Loughborough University’s School of Design and Creative Arts and through engagement with lorry manufacturers and the freight industry.

DVS will be enforced on all roads in London 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is expected to reduce lethal blind spots.

It has been introduced with the support of London Councils, which represents local authorities across the Greater London area and is part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from the city’s streets by 2041.

DVS measures the driver’s direct field of vision from their cab. Depending on how much the driver can see, ratings are given ranging from zero to five stars.

So far, over 90,000 permits have been issued by TfL, including more than 3,000 to five-star vehicles that provide the highest levels of direct vision.

The operators of lorries rated zero-star are required to fit safe systems, including a camera that covers blind spots and is linked to a video display in the cab. They will also need to fit motion sensors covering the sides of the lorry at low speeds, an audible warning when the vehicle is turning left and a warning on the back of the vehicle.

Under DVS, all owners operating heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) exceeding 12t will now require a valid permit to operate in London. Those without a permit face a penalty charge notice of up to £550.

TfL noted that the DVS and Safety Permit scheme is progressive and the standards will be made more stringent in October 2024, when the minimum DVS star rating will be three stars and above.

TfL Transport Planning head Christina Calderato said: “We know that the Direct Vision Standard will protect all Londoners who walk and cycle by ensuring that the most dangerous vehicles on our streets have effective safety measures.

“This will prevent needless deaths and injury on our roads – there will be people alive by the end of this year who wouldn’t have been if we hadn’t taken this bold and necessary action.”

Although HGVs accounted for just 3% of the overall miles driven in London from 2018 to last year, they were involved in 41% of fatal collisions involving people cycling and 19% involving people walking. Provisional data shows that in the first two months of this year, three people walking and cycling in London have been killed by HGVs.