Get prepared for 2024’s commercial vehicle legislation
There are big changes to commercial vehicle legislation on the horizon for next year (and beyond) both at a UK and European level.
Businesses will have to make major decisions on which vehicles need to be retrofitted, where there are gaps that only new vehicles can fill, and the best way to access and finance those vehicles.
While new standards can feel like a burden, they can also represent an opportunity for operators to rethink their commercial fleet strategy, ensuring compliance and flexibility towards inevitable future change.
Image by Erich Westendarp on Pixabay
Direct Vision Standard (DVS) 2
Businesses running HGVs in Greater London will already be aware of the range of cameras and safety equipment required by the DVS standard. It came into force in March 2021 for all vehicles over 12 tonnes.
In October 2024 a more stringent DVS2 standard will come into effect, with several key changes that will require bespoke adjustments:
- a minimum three-star rating to obtain a permit to operate HGVs within Greater London, up from the current one-star requirement. Lower rated vehicles will need to retrofit upgraded Progressive Safe System (PSS) sensors and cameras and send proof to Transport for London
- Upgrading blind spot sensors from side scan to a predictive radar system
- A ‘Moving OFF’ sensor system at the front of the vehicle
- Changing DVS visual warning stickers from A4 to A3 size.
Many operators will only need a small number of DVS2-compliant vehicles to work in London. Analysis is essential to ensure vehicles are fit for purpose at the locations where they operate and to avoid the cost of over-specification.
Sourcing new vehicles with DVS2-compliant equipment for London-based projects, rather than retrofitting or upgrading the existing fleet, may be an easier option to meet new commercial vehicle legislation.
General Safety Regulations (GSR)
GSR is an EU-wide regulatory change scheduled for June 2024. Although the UK is not bound by these regulations, most HGVs are manufactured in Europe and will be built to comply with these new rules.
UK operators sending vehicles into Europe for international projects will need to be aware of these standards, as well as the potential effect on acquisition costs.
There are some overlaps with DVS, though GSR brings many additional requirements.
These include a drowsiness and attention detection safety system, which assesses the driver’s alertness, for instance by monitoring how long somebody has been driving and warning the driver to take a break.
The rule change also requires a standardised interface for alcoholic interlocks (breathalysers) in vehicles. This is currently only in preparation, but it is likely that there will be new EU commercial vehicle legislation rules in the future that require drivers to take a breathalyser test before starting a journey.
Clean Air and Low Emission Zones
We will most likely see more CAZ/LEZ rules coming into full force across the UK in 2024, especially as cities such as Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen see the two-year grace periods in their LEZs coming to an end.
Operators must ensure sufficient access to Euro 6-compliant vans for work in cities with air quality standards.
Many are supplementing existing fleets with compliant rental vehicles for those projects, and this is where planning is key.
The Euro 7 standard for cars, vans and HGVs, is being finalised and will come into force in 2025. It will impact all vehicles driven in the UK.
The EU Council has indicated it is likely to introduce limits for non-exhaust emissions such as particles from brakes and tyres. This additionally covers minimum performance requirements for battery durability in electric cars and imposes stricter vehicle lifetime requirements. The regulation also provides for the use of advanced technologies and emission-monitoring tools.
Given all these changes, some overlapping, some conflicting and many with only a regional relevance, advance analysis will help operators determine how their fleet composition may need to change. Which vehicles are best being upgraded or replaced, and where might it make sense to opt for a shorter term or flexible solution?
This plan will help suppliers to ensure the right vehicle is available at the right place and time through a period where availability continues to fluctuate.
Commercial vehicle legislation change may seem onerous, but at a time of overarching change it’s also a great opportunity for businesses to take a step back and examine their fleet strategy. Innovation can often bring benefits beyond mobility and compliance, helping to protect against further change and meet wider business targets.
Written by Mark Salisbury for Fleet Point © December 12, 2023.
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