The new lorry safety scheme known as Direct Vision Standard (DVS) went into force across London today as part of the effort to reduce the number of accidents involving heavy vehicles.

Pioneered by Transport for London (TfL), DVS is now operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is enforced on all roads in the capital, with standards set to tighten further in 2024.

All owners of HGVs over 12 tonnes now need a valid permit to operate in London. Those without a permit face a new penalty charge notice (PCN) of up to £550.

HGVs rated one to five stars received their free safety permit automatically. The operators of lorries rated zero star – around half of HGVs operating in London – are required to fit safe systems including:

• cameras covering blind spots linked to a video display in the cab

• an audible warning when turning left

• motion sensors covering the sides of the lorry at low speeds

• a prominent warning on the back of their vehicle

To date, more than 90,000 permits have been issued, including more than 3,000 to 5-star vehicles which provide the highest levels of direct vision.

According to TfL data, around 150,000 HGVs enter the capital city every year.

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling commissioner, said that the scheme will ‘save lives and improve road safety from day one by reducing lethal HGV blindspots.’

Christina Calderato, head of Transport Planning for TfL, commented: ‘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 death 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.

‘We are immensely proud that our Direct Vision Standard – a world-first for lorry safety – will not only save lives in London, but in the UK and all over Europe as operators upgrade their entire fleets, sometimes upgrading hundreds of vehicles. This vital step is core to our Vision Zero plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads.’