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The Direct Vision Standard (DVS)

What is the Direct Vision Standard?

The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) has been developed in order to address the high number of collisions in London involving HGVs and people walking and cycling. The DVS objectively measures a driver’s direct view through the windows of an HGV cab. This is communicated as a star rating from zero (poor) to five (excellent), which indicates the level of risk to people walking and cycling near the vehicle. The DVS has been developed in consultation with an expert panel comprising researchers, academics and representatives from the freight industry, Europe’s foremost HGV manufacturers and regulatory bodies.

If your vehicle meets the minimum DVS star rating you will be able to apply for an HGV Safety Permit. As of 1st March 2021, the minimum DVS rating is now one star to enter or operate in Greater London and this will then increase to a minimum of three stars from October 2024.  If your vehicle does not meet the DVS star rating or is not rated, you will need to meet the ‘Safe System’ requirements to be granted a permit.  It will be unlawful to operate an HGV more than 12 tonnes GVW in Greater London without a permit.


HGV Safety Permit

HGV operators need to apply for a permit for their vehicles. You will be granted a permit if your vehicle meets the minimum DVS star rating.  If your vehicle does not meet the minimum DVS star rating, you will need to make it safer by fitting it with Safe System improvements.

As of 1st March 2021, if you drive an HGV more than 12 tonnes within Greater London without a valid permit you may receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) of up to £550 (reduced to £275 if paid within 14 days).  TfL will also have the power to revoke or suspend a permit if a vehicle that has been granted one is later found to be in breach of the permit terms.

The HGV Safety Permit scheme will cover the whole of Greater London and will be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.  Applying is free of charge.

Getting your HGV Safety Permit

TfL began issuing these Permits in October 2019.  To find out the direct vision star rating of your HGV over 12 tonnes and to apply for a permit if necessary, visit the following address:

If your vehicle’s star rating is not available online, you will need to contact your manufacturer with the VIN number of your HGV.

Permits will be issued electronically only.  Operators will receive a permit reference number with their confirmation email but no certificate or hard copy permit will be issued.  There is no requirement to produce this permit reference at any point as enforcement will be carried out using automatic number plate recognition camera captures.

Please note, where a vehicle with a valid permit is sold and purchased by a new owner, they must apply for a new permit in order to ensure records for enforcement are up to date.

Permit Duration

The duration of the permit is as follows:

  • Zero-star vehicles with an approved Safe System will be granted a permit until 2024 (when the Progressive Safe System will be required for vehicles rated two star or below).
  • One and two-star vehicles will be granted permits until 2024 (when the Progressive Safe System will be required)
  • Three, four and five-star vehicles will be granted a 10 year permit

Once a permit expires, a new full application will need to be submitted.

Safe System

The Safe System is a series of vehicle safety measures (fitted after point of manufacture) that are designed to reduce the risks that HGVs present to people walking and cycling.  The Safe System has been introduced as part of the HGV Safety Permit scheme in order to enhance vehicle safety on London’s roads now, until the more fundamental change of increased direct vision is achieved further down the line.

To ensure consistency, the Safe System is aligned to other scheme requirements and existing regulations where possible, such as FORS and CLOCS.

The Safe System requirements for zero star-rated vehicles are:

  1. Class V mirror fitted to the nearside of the vehicle;
  2. Class VI mirror fitted to the front of the vehicle;
  3. Side under-run protection fitted to both sides of the vehicle (except where this is impractical or proves to be impossible);
  4. External pictorial stickers and markings displayed on the vehicle to warn vulnerable road users of the hazards around it;
  5. A sensor system that alerts the driver to the presence of a vulnerable road user, fitted to the nearside of the vehicle;
  6. Audible vehicle manoeuvring warning to warn vulnerable road users when a vehicle is turning left; and
  7. A fully operational camera monitoring system fitted to the nearside of the vehicle.

It is recommended that indirect vision devices require a minimum amount of driver intervention.

Progressive Safe System

Any proposed updates to the Safe System will be subject to public consultation in 2022, with the first review of the Safe System scheduled for 2024, when it is proposed the minimum DVS star rating will be increased to three stars. This review will take into account any additional technology or safety equipment that was not available when the standard first launched. This will become known as the Progressive Safe System.

Zero, one and two star-rated vehicles will need to feature the Progressive Safe System from 2024.  The Progressive Safe System will only include equipment that can be retrofitted to a HGV, is industry recognised and readily available on the market at the time, and is not cost prohibitive, in order to ensure a level playing field.

Vehicles from outside of the UK

Vehicles registered outside the UK more than 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight entering or operating in London will also need to hold a valid permit.  Operators can apply for a permit as usual and, where registration documents are requested, such as a V5C log book, foreign equivalents will be accepted.

For any further information either visit TfL’s website at or alternatively contact us using the tab at the top of the page and a member of our knowledgeable team will be only too happy to assist you.