CameraMatics has conducted an anonymous, independent survey on the level of readiness for the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and HGV Permit Scheme.
The new scheme will require all HGVs over 12 tonnes GVW to hold a valid permit to operate in or enter the Greater London area.
Responses were received from over 700 UK HGV Fleet Managers who have HGVs entering or operating in the Greater London area. Responses were categorised by whether the fleet is based in the Greater London area, or elsewhere.
Of Greater London-based respondents, only 22.2% reportedly told CameraMatics that ‘Yes, my HGVs are ready’. 14.7% said some of their vehicles were ready while 26.9% were unsure. However, 36.9% reported that none of their HGVs were ready for the scheme.
Responses of non-London based HGV Fleet Managers were reportedly split along the same lines. An even smaller percentage, at only 20.1%, told CameraMatics that their HGVs were ready. 12.7% said some of their vehicles were ready, while 28% were said to be unsure. Again, the highest proportion of responses, 39.1%, said none of their HGVs were ready for DVS.
CameraMatics also suggested that there is a lack of clarity over the scheme start dates. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced on 9 April 2020 enforcement of DVS would be postponed until at least the end of February 2021. This is said to enable the freight industry more time to prepare as well as recognising the additional pressures on the sector owing to the Coronavirus outbreak.
But, although enforcement is delayed and vehicles will not be fined until 1 March 2021, the new legislation will reportedly be in place as planned from October 2020. This date is said to still appear in a number of places and has created confusion about when HGVs need to be ready.
CameraMatics contacted TfL directly for clarification, and were told that vehicles without an HGV Safety Permit will be ‘banned’ from Greater London from 26 October 2020. CameraMatics noted the use of the word ‘banned’ could be confusing. Does it mean a vehicle won’t be allowed into the Greater London area, or may it be turned away? This is said to be unlikely because TfL will use ANPR cameras for enforcement. CameraMatics has further tried to get written confirmation of what ‘banned’ means in reality for this instance, but were invited to keep an eye on the TfL website.
CameraMatics Technical Director, Steve Warne, said: “It is concerning that so few HGV fleet managers are reporting their vehicles are ready for the Direct Vision Standard and HGV Permit Scheme. Some operators will find their vehicles are already compliant and simply need to apply online for their permit, but others will be given a zero-star rating. In this instance, a Safe System will need to be retrofitted to each vehicle so the operator can apply for, and receive, a permit.”
He added: “I would urge companies not to leave this until the last minute. March 2021 and enforcement of the new rules will be here before we know it and the run-up to the festive season is always a busy time for the freight and logistics industry. Our advice to fleet managers who are unsure or concerned would be to get the ball rolling now. At CameraMatics we’re always more than happy to help and advise any operator who wants to improve the safety of their HGVs and vehicles for the sake of all road users, including HGV drivers themselves.”