Reducing HGV blind spots

Changes to European HGV design standards enhances driver field of vision – saving lives

In 2019, almost 4,000 cyclists and pedestrians were seriously injured or killed on Europe’s roads due to accidents involving HGVs.

Only four per cent of the total miles driven in London are completed by HGVs, but research shows that they are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions.

Restrictions in an HGV driver's field of vision have been identified as a significant contributory factor. A HGV driver must use six mirrors and three windows to gain awareness of cyclists and pedestrians in close proximity to the vehicle.

Our research, spanning the past decade, built the case for a direct vision standard for HGVs and created the methodologies to underpin its definition.

Our impact

Revised regulations

  • UNECE Regulation 46 – governing aspects of vehicle design

London’s new five-star vehicle rating

  • 2020 – zero-star HGV will be banned*
  • 2024 – below three-star HGV will be banned*

* Unless six safety features are added to the vehicle

European Union Version

  • A new United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) standard for Direct Vision in HGVs is being developed using the method defined by the Loughborough team, with support from the Loughborough team through the membership of the UNECE VRU Proxi group.
  • This standard will apply to all HGVs sold in Europe by 2029 and will introduce minimum requirements for direct vison for all HGVs.

Life saving

  • According to an EU impact assessment, more than 550 lives could be saved each year across the EU. 

The research

We began by developing an innovative 3D method to explore the blind spots caused by vehicle design features, and analysed accident data to define the areas of greatest risk for vulnerable road users.

To date, we have investigated 57 vehicle designs – more than 98% of trucks on UK roads. Our findings underpin the five-star rating scheme adopted as part of the Vision Zero for London agenda.

Under the scheme, vehicles scoring one to five stars will be deemed safe and issued a permit to drive within the Greater London Boundary. Those scoring zero will need to install Safe System improvements before they can successfully apply for a permit.

Our research findings and recommendations were used to successfully lobby the European Parliament for a change to standards which will be adopted across the EU from 2024.

Project reports and Wiki

  • TfL Project: Understanding direct and indirect driver vision in heavy goods vehicles (2015)
  • TfL Project: The definition, production and validation of the direct vision standard (DVS) for HGVS (2019)
  • UNECE VRU PROXI Group Wiki (2018-present)

With the help of Loughborough, London is leading the way with truck safety. We’re delighted that the European Commission is following our lead – helping to ensure that, across Europe, all HGVs are safer.

Christina Calderato Head of Transport Strategy and Planning - Transport for London

Research funders

  • Department for Transport
  • Transport for London

Development partners

  • Department for Transport
  • Transport for London
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe