Traditional heavy goods vehicle (HGV) cab designs lead to ‘blind-spots’, large regions which the driver cannot directly see, and these can lead to collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. In 2018 across the EU 4,002 people died in collisions involving HGVs (a total of 45,881 over a 10 year period, CARE database, May 2018). Reducing casualties requires HGV cabs to be improved but this is costly so has been resisted by vehicle manufacturers.
Research by academics from the Centre for Immersive Technologies, using a unique HGV driving simulator, has provided the first evidence that direct vision (viewing directly through the window rather than indirectly via mirrors) can improve driver response times (by 0.7s), and thereby reduced collisions with pedestrians by 40%.
These findings informed the development of the world’s first “direct vision standards” (DVS) introduced by Transport for London, which requires all HGVs within Greater London from 2020 to hold a Safety Permit based on assessment of their cab design. Vehicles that fail this assessment will need to be upgraded and as of 2022 new safety technologies will become mandatory in European vehicles to protect passengers, pedestrians and cyclists based on this research.