Does TfL’s Direct Visibility Standard (DVS) make London’s roads safer?

By Volta Trucks

Historically, HGVs have been disproportionately involved in more fatal collisions with vulnerable road users than other motor vehicles. Between 2015 and 2017, an HGV was involved in 63% of those killed while cycling and 25% of those killed while walking, yet HGVs only account for 4% of road miles.  

To tackle this issue and meet the Mayor’s Vision Zero aim to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads by 2041, Transport for London (TfL) launched the world’s first Direct Vision Standard (DVS) in October 2019, with enforcement commencing on 1st March 2021. 


DVS and the Volta Zero 

The glasshouse style cab featured on the Volta Zero was born out of the need to address the unacceptable fact that Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) were disproportionately involved in serious and even fatal accidents with pedestrians and cyclists. It gives the driver 220-degrees of direct vision around the vehicle, delivering a TfL five-star DVS rating for optimum visibility. 


How does DVS work?  

DVS seeks to improve drivers’ direct vision through the cab windows of HGVs, preventing collisions with vulnerable road users caused by limited visibility. To access and operate in Greater London HGVs must apply to obtain a Safety Permit, based upon a star rating from 0* (lowest) to 5* (highest), corresponding to how much the driver can see directly from the cab windows.  


14 months since the initiative was brought into force, TfL has pulled together a report to get an idea of whether DVS is making a difference to the roads of London.  


Rob Gywnn, UK Policy and Public Affairs Manager UK said: 

“This report from TfL is a very significant step in demonstrating the positive impact that DVS is having on making the streets of London safer for all road users, including the HGV driver. While this is an early report into the data it is encouraging in what it shows.  

TfL should take encouragement from this data and continue to work with manufacturers and operators on how to accelerate the ambitions of zero fatalities and serious injuries on London’s roads.” 


Report summary

  • By 1st March 2021 over 90,000 permits had already been issued to HGVs, with 30,000 having fitted a Safe System to improve vision 
  • The number of vulnerable road user collisions involving HGVs has been reducing 
  • During the first year of DVS enforcement, there were six fatal HGV collisions where vision was cited as a contributing factor. This compared to eight in 2020 and nine in 2019 
  • Four of the six fatal collisions involved were 0* rated vehicles 
  • The number of injuries due to HGVs has fallen by half  
  • TfL is going ahead with Phase 2 in October 2024 where HGVs will require a 3* DVS or a Progressive Safe System fitted to 0-2* rated vehicles 


Find out more about what we are doing to create the safest truck for our city centres by having a quick look at our safety page here. If you have any questions about the above, or you would like to find out more about the Volta Zero, please contact our team.

You can also read the full report from TfL here: