Design School


Identifying Truck blind-spots to reduce road accidents

Group: Design Ergonomics

Project: Defining a direct vision standard for trucks

The project aims to define a method to test how big the blind spots are for trucks on UK roads. We will use the information to determine which trucks are not suitable for city centre environments where the size of blind spots cause accidents with vulnerable road users.

September 2016- June 2017


Dr Steve Summerskill




The focus of this project is on accident prevention with vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. The project is required due to a press release from the London Mayor: 

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:

‘I’m not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads. The evidence is clear – HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the last two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.    

‘I’m determined to ensure the most dangerous zero star-rated lorries are removed from our roads completely by 2020. Our ground-breaking Direct Vision Standard will be the first of its kind in the world, directly addressing the issue of lethal driver blind-spots. I’m also proud that TfL will lead by example and will not use any zero-star lorries in its supply chain from the new financial year.

‘By continuing to work closely with industry, using TfL and public sector procurement and announcing our plans now, I’m confident that many of our lorries will now be upgraded well before the ban comes into place, and the benefits of a new era of modernised and safer HGVs felt by all road users across London.’ 


Aims and Objectives 

  1. To define a test method that allows the size of blind spots to be quantified
  2. Rate all existing vehicles from DAF, SCANIA, VOLVO, Mercedes, IVECO, DENNIS, Renault and MAN
  3. Define a star based rating scheme where zero star vehicles will be banned from the road of London, and 5 star vehicles 

The project will use the SAMMIE CAD Digital Human Modelling system, developed at Loughborough University, and other CAD tools to perform a virtual assessment of all trucks.


 Impact and Importance of the project

The project outcomes mean that all vehicles which fail to meet the minimum requirements of the direct vision standard will be fitted with extra safety technology that will be defined by TfL to include camera systems and side scanning radar to detect cyclists and pedestrians.

This project impact will reduce the number of people that are killed or seriously injured by accidents with trucks in the UK capital with current activity in place to extend this across Europe.  


You can contact Dr Steve SummerskillDr Russell Marshall, Dr Abby Patterson or James Lenard for more information on this project or their other research.