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Anger over wording of TfL’s new truck safety requirements

Transport firms voice concerns over TfL's new truck safety rules: high costs, lack of clear standards, and calls for better cyclist education.

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Anger over wording of TfL’s new truck safety requirements

Transport for London is tightening the rules on truck safety features from October 2024 – and some transport firms are already concerned about what this will mean to them in terms of cost. Now one operator has expressed anger that trucks are being unfairly targeted and blamed for causing accidents, whereas cyclists should take their share of the blame and be educated on how to use the roads in a safer manner.

Matt Hammond, head of fleet and plant at Altrad Services, told the Fleet News at 10 discussion panel he was frustrated with the language being used blaming trucks and the approach TfL was taking.

He said:

The statement that was put out in relation to Direct Vision says that official data reveals HGVs in London are ‘responsible’ for 63 per cent of cyclist fatalities and 25 per cent pedestrian fatalities. The word was ‘responsible’, not ‘involved’.

I think the issue you’ve got is that people don’t understand trucks – how a truck moves, how a truck operates, how a truck has to take different lines and different approaches to cars and vans and if you put that into a busy city centre you’re going to get lots of complex issues.

I’m not saying that in all those fatalities the trucks weren’t at fault, but you can’t just put the blame on the truck and make it all down to the driver.

There has to be better education in this country. You see some cyclists in London weaving around and even in a car you lose track of where they are.

Hammond favours more education of other road users, particularly cyclists, to help them understand how trucks manoeuvre and what the driver can see.

He said:

That’s what we need to do, not to put the blame on the truck and make the truck driver responsible for looking at 50 different things every time. Let them drive, but everybody else needs to be aware.

Duncan Webb, the AA’s fleet director, complained that the new rules were only confirmed a couple of months ago and yet fleets are expected to comply with them by October 2024.

He said:

They won’t actually endorse the equipment to say it is three-star standard so operators have got to make the choice whether they think the kit they’re going to fit meets the standard, rather than the kit is endorsed as the standard.

That’s a worry and trying to do however many hundreds of thousands of trucks that go in and out of London in a 12-month window is not really feasible.

He added:

It’s going to kill operators, it’s a £550 a day fine. That’s £100,000 a year if you don’t comply.

End

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