Mayor sets out measures to rid London of dangerous lorries

30 September 2016

·         The most unsafe HGVs to be banned from London’s streets by 2020, transforming road safety in London

·         The world’s first Direct Vision Standard to be introduced – delivering on Sadiq Khan’s manifesto pledge

·         Sadiq Khan says he won’t ‘stand by’ as dangerous lorries lead to more cyclist and pedestrian tragedies

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced ground-breaking proposals to make London’s roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists by removing the most dangerous lorries from the capital’s roads by 2020. 

TfL’s Direct Vision Standard, a world first, will use a ‘star rating’ from 0 to 5 stars to rate construction and other heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) based on the level of vision the driver has directly from the cab. 

Under the plans to be consulted on shortly, the most dangerous ‘off-road’ HGVs will be banned from London’s streets entirely by January 2020.

These HGVs would be ‘zero star rated’ by the Direct Vision Standard. Only HGVs meeting 3 stars or above – ‘good rating’ in the new Direct Vision Standard - would be allowed on London’s roads by 2024. 

Recent data shows that HGVs were involved in 22.5 per cent of pedestrian fatalities and 58 per cent of cyclist fatalities on London’s roads in 2014 and 2015, despite only making four per cent of the miles driven in the Capital. The restriction of drivers’ field of direct vision by vehicle design has been proven to have contributed to many of these fatalities.

Promoting safer lorries through a new Direct Vision Standard was outlined in Sadiq’s manifesto. There are around 35,000 of the zero star-rated ‘off-road’ HGVs currently operating on London’s roads, and they were involved in around 70 per cent of cyclist fatalities involving HGVs in the last three years. It is this type of vehicles the Mayor has pledged to remove from London’s roads by 2020. 

TfL and the wider Greater London Authority group will lead by example and adopt the new Direct Vision Standard in all future contracts from the new financial year, to ensure that no trucks with poor direct vision are used in their future supply chains.


The Mayor and TfL will also work with developers and councils to encourage them to do the same, and the Mayor has pledged to continue pressing the EU to introduce new EU wide safety standards for HGVs.


Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: –

‘I’m not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads. The evidence is clear – HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the last two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.    

‘I’m determined to ensure the most dangerous zero star-rated lorries are removed from our roads completely by 2020. Our ground-breaking Direct Vision Standard will be the first of its kind in the world, directly addressing the issue of lethal driver blind-spots. I’m also proud that TfL will lead by example and will not use any zero-star lorries in its supply chain from the new financial year.

‘By continuing to work closely with industry, using TfL and public sector procurement and announcing our plans now, I’m confident that many of our lorries will now be upgraded well before the ban comes into place, and the benefits of a new era of  modernised and safer HGVs felt by all road users across London.’


Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “Lorries designed in the 1970s and for use in a quarry have no place on the streets of a 21st century city. Our Direct Vision Standard has been developed using extensive technical research and builds on the success of working in partnership with both vehicle operators and manufacturers through the award-winning CLOCS. It will help bring the whole lorry fleet up to modern safety standards. The right lorry in the right place keeps a city functioning.

“By helping everyone ensure they are using, contracting or buying lorries with high levels of driver direct vision, we will increase the demand and supply of such vehicles to the point where these safer trucks are the main lorry of choice in the Capital, other cities and around the world."


Cllr Julian Bell, chair of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, said: “I welcome this announcement from the Mayor to do more to minimise the risk posed by lorries to pedestrians and cyclists on our streets.

“We need to encourage as many people as possible to cycle and walk where they can, to better improve our chances of tackling key priorities such as congestion and improving air quality and the health of Londoners."


The company delivering the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which will help clean up the River Thames by tackling sewage discharges, has pledged its support for the proposals.

Andy Alder, Central Delivery Manager for Tideway, said: “We are fully supportive of TFL’s Direct Vision Standard. We are aiming to transport construction materials and spoil from the Thames Tideway Tunnel by river where possible, but where this isn’t possible we are determined to ensure we are using the safest lorries available. As an example, Tideway is working with contractors towards piloting the use of Low Entry Cabin (LEC) HGVs on the project.”


Notes to editors

The Mayor proposes that the most dangerous  zero star-rated ‘off-road’ HGVs will  be banned from London’s streets entirely by January 2020, and only HGVs meeting the new Direct Vision Standard of 3 stars or above will be allowed on London’s roads by 2024. 

-          Lorries will be star-rated ranging from ‘best in class’ (those using features like low-entry and remodelled cabs to drastically reduce blind spots), to ‘not suitable for urban environment’ (those construction vehicles designed for off-road use with drivers high up in the cab making blind spots nearly three times larger).

-          Off-road vehicles, like tipper trucks and cement mixers - often found in the construction industry - are disproportionately involved in pedestrian and cycling fatalities, which is why the Mayor is determined these models should not operate on London’s roads.


-          To ensure the industry will have sufficient lead-in time to upgrade their fleets before the ban comes into place, the Mayor is launching his proposed enforcement timetable now, and a consultation process will begin shortly. It is estimated that only 8 per cent of HGVs in London will be zero star-rated by 2020, down from 18 per cent today.


-          TfL has discussed the draft DVS with a number of industry bodies, which have welcomed a clear direction on HGV safety. TfL has been working with major developers and other public sector organisations to help them understand the type of vehicles they use and how they can make their fleets safer for the roads they operate on.

-          Thames Tideway, who are building a 25 mile tunnel across London, have already committed to having vehicles of a high standard of direct vision in their fleet when work begins. Tideway is the company that will finance and deliver the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a 25km sewer tunnel urgently required to tackle sewage pollution in the tidal River Thames.  Tideway directly employs 400 people. In total the project is expected to create 4,000 direct sustainable jobs. One in every 50 site jobs will be an apprenticeship. 


-          Earlier this year TfL consulted on further improving lorry safety in London, which included consideration of mandating clear side panels in lorry doors to increase visibility.  However, subsequent research has shown that this proposal would have little impact on cyclist safety and no impact on pedestrian safety. 


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