Driving road safety in London

We worked with Transport for London to investigate whether increasing the size of HGV windscreens and  lowering driver eye height could improve safety for pedestrians. In traditional style lorry cabs, drivers rely on
mirrors and monitors to increase their range of vision, but our research demonstrated that this can slow reaction times.

Using driving simulations, we were able to investigate different road safety scenarios that would have been impossible in a real world environment. We used eye tracking methods to monitor how rapidly drivers could respond to hazards and found that drivers with a wider field of vision could react more than half a second faster. Even at slow driving speeds this would have a big effect on road safety.

The work has informed the development of the world’s first Direct Vision Standard for HGVs. The Standard objectively measures the volume of space directly visible to the driver around the HGV cab. Using this  measurement, HGVs can be categorised with star ratings from zero (poor) to five (excellent), indicating the level of direct vision from the HGV cab. The Direct Vision Standard will be used to categorise HGVs as part of the proposed ‘HGV Safety Permit’ scheme for London. Under proposals, from 2020, all HGVs over 12 tonnes will require a permit to enter London.     

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