The ‘five star truck safety plan’, announced by the Mayor of London on 30th September 2016, has been described as “a much more targeted approach and a step in the right direction” by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) today who also said “industry will need time to adapt.”
Sadiq Khan revealed Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Direct Vision Standard, uses a ‘star rating’ from 0 to 5 to rate construction vehicles and other HGVs based on the level of vision the driver has directly from the cab. According to the plan – HGVs of zeros star-rated will be removed from London’s roads by 2020, and only those meeting 3 stars or above would be allowed roads in the capital by 2024.
FTA called for reasonable lead times highlighting the need to allow freight operators to plan their fleets to comply with any new requirements. The Association had contributed to the proposed plans outlining the efforts of freight and logistics operators to improve safety of their vehicles and for other road users.
Natalie Chapman – FTA Head of Policy London, said: “The Mayor’s proposed plan is a much more targeted approach which we welcome. Improving direct vision is in principle a good idea, FTA has been advising members to purchase vehicles with improved direct vision for several years – they should continue to do this, as this can only help. But it would be wrong to think of this as some kind of a silver bullet – research suggests that in some incidents involving lorries and cyclists, this may not help.
“Safety is a key priority for FTA members, many have already made major improvements to their vehicles, and introduced advanced driver training. But it should be remembered that for some operators – particularly small businesses – these proposals will be a significant challenge. Industry needs time to adapt and reassurance that the investments that have already been made – for example in sensors and camera technology recommended by TfL- will be taken into account.”
The FTA has been calling for solutions to be evidence-based to ensure that investment by companies result in outcomes which actually improve road safety.
Ms Chapman concluded: “Vehicle design is just one part of the solution. Ultimately all road users have a role to play in improving road safety. Better awareness, training and behaviour is needed on all sides to make our roads as safe as they can be. FTA will continue to work with TfL and the Mayor’s Office on the detail of these proposals to ensure that there is a balanced outcome that works for all.”