Legal update: March 202103 March 2021

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HGV Safety Permit reaches London


The Office of the Traffic Commissioner reminds operators that a new HGV Safety Permit based on the new Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is now required for all HGVs over 12 tonnes driving within greater London.

DVS is a key part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero Plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s streets. The DVS operates in the same area as the existing Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

It uses a star rating system to rate HGVs based on how much a driver can see directly through the HGV cab windows, ranking from zero star (the lowest level of direct vision) to five stars (highest level of direct vision).

To qualify for a permit, HGVs will require a minimum of a one-star rating. Vehicles rated zero star will only be granted a permit if they are fitted with ‘safe system’ measures.

The permit scheme will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

From 1 March 2021, HGVs not holding a permit, or in contravention of permit conditions, will be issued with a £550 Penalty Charge Notice (reduced to £275 if paid within 14 days) for each day the vehicle is driven within the DVS area.

In addition, emissions rules in the LEZ have been tightened; heavy vehicles need to meet Euro VI standards to avoid a penalty fine.


New ER logo display rules

In January, DVSA published guidance about how operators involved in the Earned Recognition scheme can now use its logo. According to DVSA, operators can use the logo on websites, stationery, email, premises and depot signage and event stands or materials, but not on vehicles, uniforms or staff identification documents. See also


Drivers’ hours relaxations

The Department for Transport has published two temporary relaxations of drivers’ hours rules because of COVID-19 and Brexit.

The first is a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the retained EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales for the general haulage of goods in Great Britain, and lasts until 31 March. Details are here:

In addition, it has also published details of a second relaxation, again of EU drivers’ hours rules, for hauliers carrying goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It also lasts until 31 March. Details are here:


OCRS issues

DVSA is having technical issues with the OCRS system, which means that operators may not be able to access their OCRS reports for up to eight weeks, and reports may show inaccurate data. Vehicle test history and encounter reports should still be available and DVSA enforcement will continue, with officers using additional targeting information. DVSA advises for operators to continue to check their reports periodically, as there is no firm date in place for when the issue will be fixed.


20 minutes

In January, DVSA updated forms for a number of applications, including for notifications of PSV alterations, application for a PSV accessibility certificate and applications for a PSV certificate of initial fitness and individual vehicle approval (IVA) for buses, coaches, vans and light goods vehicles, and cars. The change was the same in every case: that applicants should arrive at least 20 minutes before the appointment time.

FACT FILE: Old tyre ban in force

From 1 February 2021, tyres aged over 10 years are banned on the front steered axles of lorries, buses and coaches along with all single wheels of minibuses (9-16 passenger seats).

DVSA is enforcing the new legislation at roadside checks along with vehicle annual tests.

It has revised its enforcement sanctions policy to reflect the new offences, which includes affected tyres over 10 years old and not having a date marking that is clearly legible.

Penalties include:

  • £100 fixed penalty
  • endorsable points on the driver’s licence
  • a possible prosecution for more than one endorsable offence
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