Peter Mansfield, group sales and marketing director at Trakm8, explores the implications of the new regulations
As the first city region to gain significant powers over transport, London has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to transport rules in the UK. From the Congestion Charge to clean air zones, London paved the way – showing administrations in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and our other cities that regulating vehicle use in a considered way can decrease traffic, pollution and comes with public support.
The latest such move is the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), which comes into force in Greater London from March 2021. City Hall’s crackdown comes in response to some shocking statistics on the dangers cyclists face from HGVs, particularly in London. Clearly, there is an issue here that can and should be addressed.
While fleet operators are more than happy to go a long way to prevent avoidable accidents, it’s important not to underplay how big of an impact this could have on operators. It’s expected that most HGVs currently in use will be ‘zero star’ and will therefore have to be retrofitted with additional ‘mitigating safety features’ to be able to drive in London from March.
Given London’s importance to the UK economy, it’s almost impossible as a fleet operator to avoid Greater London altogether and as a result, many fleets will have to upgrade their whole stock to ensure they avoid administrative overhead and fines. Where London goes, cities in other regions are sure to follow.
Some of the required safety features are relatively easy to add, like additional mirrors, side underrun protection and stickers that alert other road users to potential danger. Others, like blindspot detectors, cameras and audible vehicle manoeuvre warnings, are technically difficult. Operators should speak to a trusted manufacturer to ensure they get a safety system that meets the new DVS standard the first time round.
Just as important is ensuring that new systems don’t create more work for operators. Shopping round for a mixed solution and combining cameras and sensors from a number of manufacturers might save on cost in the short term, but will increase administrative and technical burden further down the line.
By going with a trusted manufacturer’s whole-system solution, the admin gets easier with every addition, instead of more difficult. Given that DVS itself will become stricter by 2024 and other regulations are likely to come into play in the meantime, the ability to upgrade should be a key concern when purchasing mitigating safety equipment.
Trakm8 has a number of fully interoperable products that will help reduce the risks for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians which meet the DVS.
For example, our Blind Spot Detection System provides drivers with visual and audible proximity alerts, stopping accidents in their tracks. Our RoadHawk Cam series cameras are water, dustproof and are available with IR night vision, sun reflection hoods, plus external speakers alerting other road users when the vehicle is reversing. These systems are brought together with a RoadHawk Digital Video Recorder and TFT monitor, allowing the driver unparalleled vision.
All our products are designed and manufactured to the highest standard at our facility in the West Midlands. Trakm8 can help fleets ensure they stay ahead of the game easily, adding in the latest in telematics solutions, increasing driver safety, saving costs on fuel and making fleet maintenance even easier.
In an environment where regulations are likely to get stricter, it’s important to prioritise interoperability and upgradeability, meaning new requirements can still be met at a later date. By going with a trusted solutions provider in order to make sure fleets are DVS compliant, operators can reduce admin and help prevent avoidable accidents on the road.