Safer Trucks Direct Vision Comparison

Cities depend on the safe movement and delivery
of goods using heavy goods vehicles. However, these HGV’s are disproportionately
responsible for fatal collisions with cyclists and pedestrians. Blind spots on the passenger side, and the
front of the vehicle, are a major contributory factor in collisions involving trucks and
vulnerable road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians. It’s a lot different than it was when I first
started driving, far more cyclists and motorbikes on the road, it’s kind of chaotic really. Improvements have already been made to address
vehicle blind spots through the use of sensors, mirrors, rear vision cameras, and other safety
equipment. However this equipment only improves indirect
vision, and can take longer to check than by simply looking through a window. You don’t have as much visibility with just
mirrors as you do with eye contact, and there is always someone in one of your blind spots. By the time the driver has finished checking
all of them, the situation on the road around the vehicle may have changed. Images can be distorted, and the sheer number
of these features can distract the driver. I find that by the time gone through all of
your checks again, you’re more or less straight onto doing it again. When you stop at a junction
it is mirrors, mirrors, mirrors, cameras, a sensor goes off, mirrors, mirrors, mirrors,
camera…you’re always looking. TfL has been working with leading truck manufacturers
to improve truck design by reducing blind spots, and increasing direct vision. This reduces the risk to vulnerable road users. Lower cab height with lower entry, underrun
protection, lower and larger windscreens and windows, a reconfiguration of dashboard and
glass in the passenger door, all give the driver a vastly improved visibility of the
dangerous blind spots directly in front of the truck, and on the passenger side. To see if the increase direct vision design
actually benefits both drivers and vulnerable road users, we have set up comparison tests
between a traditional and a direct vision HGV, featuring a cyclist and a pedestrian
in HGV blind spots. We placed cameras inside and outside the truck,
and on the driver, and vulnerable road users. This allows you to see the situation from
their point of view. What you are about to see is not edited to
enhance the desired effect, but shows exactly whether, and how, the new design works. The passenger side blind spot is a notoriously
difficult place for the HGV driver to see cyclists arriving at intersections. We have recreated this situation like for like, with both off-road and direct vision HGVs. When arriving at the intersection, the cyclist
often has to pass close to the truck in the passenger side blind spot. Let’s see the situation from the perspective
of the cyclist. Now let’s see what the drivers sees at the
same time. What does our cyclist think about the difference? It really gave me confidence because I could
see that he saw me, so I feel more safe. With the direct vision, you can see exactly
what is up against your cab, you can make eye contact with everybody. For vulnerable people it is a better vehicle. The space directly in front of the HGV can
be a dangerous place for pedestrians crossing at intersections due to the truck’s cab
height. When HGVs stop at the zebra crossing, the pedestrian often has to pass directly
in front of the truck, in its blind spot. Let’s see the scenario from the pedestrians
point of view. Now let’s see what the driver sees in the
same situation. Now let’s hear from the pedestrian. I actually could see the driver straight away
which kind of gave me a clue that it was ok to cross over, and that he knew where I was. Choosing an HGV with increased levels of direct
vision, will help avoid collisions and save lives. These type of trucks are already available,
and are being configured for a variety of uses including general haulage, tippers, and
other construction vehicles. Our number one priority is the safety of Londoners,
and we want you to work with us to make sure the HGVs you use are as safe as they can be. Visit our website for more information.

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