Direct Vision Standard (DVS) - Are You Ready for It?

Are you and your vehicles ready for the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) being introduced in London by the Mayor?

The first phase, the issuing of the ‘safety permit scheme’ commences in October 2019. To make sure you are on the right track, you need to ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Do I need to be able to enter Greater London from 26 October 2020? If so-
  • What are the star ratings for my vehicles?
  • How will I obtain the relevant safety permits?

What is DVS?

DVS was created to improve the safety of all road users, particularly vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Implementation is the same date that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (LEZ) comes into effect London-wide.

DVS uses a star system to rate HGVs over 12 tonnes from 0 (lowest) to 5 (highest), based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows. Where a vehicle is assessed as ‘zero’ the Operator will be required to make amendments to the ‘safe system’ of the cab in order to comply.

DVS only affects HGVs with a Maximum Authorised Mass or Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 12 tonnes. DVS does not affect cars, vans, buses, coaches or goods vehicles below 12 tonnes MAM/GVW. It will be enforced in the Greater London area, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

What is the ‘star rating’ of my vehicles?

You can find out the star rating by contacting the vehicle manufacturer with the VIN number of each of the vehicles you are enquiring about. The manufacturer will then be able to advise you of the star rating for each vehicle.

Manufacturer contact details can be found on the TfL website : https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/deliveries-in-london/delivering-safely/direct-vision-in-heavy-goods-vehicles

How will I obtain the relevant permits?

If the star rating is one star or more then you don’t have too much to worry about. You will still need to apply for a safety permit via the tfl.gov.uk website and an electronic permit should be issued. The permits are free of charge.

If your vehicle has a zero-star rating, you will have to fit additional safety equipment before applying for the safety permit. The requirements for zero star rated vehicles are as follows:

  • Class V mirror to be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle (offside of vehicle if left hand drive)
  • Class VI mirror to be fitted to the front of the vehicle
  • Side under run bars to be fitted to both sides of the vehicle (although there are some exemptions to this requirement)
  • Stickers and marking should be fitted around the vehicle to warn vulnerable road users of the hazards and dangers around the vehicle
  • A sensor system should be fitted to the nearside of the vehicle to warn the driver of the presence of vulnerable road users (this system should be fitted to the offside for left hand drive vehicles)
  • An audible warning system that informs vulnerable road users when the vehicle is turning left
  • A camera system should be fitted to allow for the monitoring of activity on the nearside of the vehicle (for left hand drive vehicles this camera system should be monitoring activity on the offside of the vehicle)

When your zero-star rated vehicle has been fitted with the additional safety equipment you can then apply for the safety permit. In this case the application must also include two photographs of the Safe System equipment you have fitted. Each application will be reviewed and accepted or rejected accordingly. If the application is rejected, the reasons will be given and after the appropriate amendments have been made you will be able to re-apply.

There is expected to be a large number of zero rated vehicles that need to enter the Greater London area that will need to be fitted with the necessary Safe System equipment and apply for the safety permit. Do not leave this to the last minute as there may be a backlog and you will then find yourself without a safety permit on 26 October 2020 and unable to go into the Greater London area.

The Safe System will be reviewed and consulted upon again in 2022 and may be amended considering additional technology and safety equipment available at that time. Any further additional equipment deemed necessary for future Safe Systems must be retrofittable to the relevant vehicles.

The official Guide can be downloaded here:


Get in touch