Mayor unveils plan for extra windows to make lorries safer

22 January 2016

Lorries in London would be required to have a new side window so drivers can better see pedestrians and cyclists, under proposals unveiled by the Mayor today.

 

The plan to improve visibility for lorry drivers would help cut the dangerous blind spots which have caused a significant number of deaths on the capital's roads.

 

Under the proposals, existing and new lorries would be required to fit a new window in the lower half of the passenger-side cab door at a cost of £1,000- £1,500 per lorry. The only exceptions would be a handful of lorries where retrofitting is not physically possible.

 

The Mayor today launched a consultation in principle on the new plans, to build on the success of the Safer Lorry Scheme.

 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: "The danger caused by HGVs to other road users is unacceptable and we have to reduce it. With the launch last year of my Safer Lorry Scheme, we have already made real progress. Nine cyclists were killed in London last year, the second-lowest number ever and by far the lowest ever per journey. But seven of those nine cyclist deaths involved lorries and that is why we have to press on to the next stage. The cost per lorry is modest. The benefit to Londoners' safety will be significant."

 

Many casualties occur when a lorry turns across the path of a cyclist or pedestrian that it cannot see. If a window was installed in the lower half of the passenger-side door, these dangerous blind spots would be reduced.

 

Today's consultation asks Londoners whether they support the principle of the scheme and what would be the best way to enforce the new windows - whether through an extension to the Safer Lorry Scheme, or higher charges for non-compliant lorries under the congestion charge or Low Emission Zone regulations. It also asks whether the restrictions should be full-time, part-time or route-specific.

 

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL), said: "Our Safer Lorry Scheme has helped ensure that almost all lorries in London now have vital equipment to create a safer environment for all.  We now want to go further and hear views from all road users, businesses and the construction and freight industries on our proposals to reduce deadly blind spots. This will be an important element in delivering our aim of eradicating death and serious injury from London's roads."

 

Implementation of any measures will involve close working with stakeholder groups, including the industry and Government, and the development of a legally enforceable "direct vision standard". There would be further public and stakeholder consultation before any decision on implementation is made, and time for operators to make the necessary changes to their lorries.

 

The existing Safer Lorry Scheme, Britain's first, was launched on 1 September 2015 and requires all lorries in Greater London to be fitted with sideguards and Class V and VI safety mirrors. Many operators started complying in anticipation of the ban and there is now around 97 per cent compliance, according to checks conducted by TfL and the Metropolitan Police.

 

The Mayor and TfL's ultimate aim would be to see the widespread up-take of low-entry, panoramic-vision lorries on London's streets, providing a major improvement for visibility and safety. These lorries, which are appropriate for the roads they use, provide a large improvement to drivers' direct vision, giving maximum visibility to vulnerable road users. The consultation paper also describes other potential future improvements that could include lower cabs, larger windows and increased use of technology.

 

Lorries are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions with pedestrians and cyclists. Between 2010 and 2014, lorries were almost 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than cars, and seven of the nine cyclist fatalities in 2015 involved lorries.

 

The consultation on side windows ends on 4 March. For more information and to respond go to consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/safer-lorries

Notes to editors

.             This is a consultation in principle that will be followed up by a later formal consultation on finalised statutory proposals.

 

.             Any change to the charging of the central London Congestion Charge or the London-wide Low Emission Zone schemes would be subject to further statutory consultation and would need Mayoral approval.

 

.             Restrictions on lorries without additional lower passenger-side windows could include a total ban, a specific time restriction (as with the congestion charge option) or a route restriction. Non-compliant vehicles breaking these restrictions would be subject to a fine. Time or route restrictions could be mandated by co-ordinated Traffic Regulation Orders from TfL and London's boroughs, possibly as an amendment to the existing TfL and Borough Safer Lorry Scheme traffic orders and would be subject to statutory consultation. Alternatively the Government has powers to make a similar order subject to parliamentary approval.

 

.             The Safer Lorry Scheme, launched in September 2015, covers every road in Greater London except motorways, and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint TfL and Department for Transport-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce. The maximum fine for each breach of the ban is £1000. Repeat offenders may also be referred to the relevant Traffic Commissioner, who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of HGV operators.

 

.             TfL's focus on HGV safety also includes the creation of two award-winning safety programmes, the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) and CLOCS, and the launch of Britain's first Safer Lorry Scheme.

 

.             Cab-door windows can be retrofitted to most lorries for between £1,000 and £1,500.