Forward with vision 29 December 2009

Fresnel lenses have now been formally approved by the DfT (Department for Transport) for use on truck windscreens to improve driver vision down to the front bumper.

That's the news from VOSA, reporting at the North West Goods Vehicle Maintenance Liaison Committee meeting at the close of last year. Previously, VOSA stations might have regarded these lenses as causing an obstruction to forward vision, and failed trucks at their annual test.

Chris Grime, principal fleet engineer with Lancashire County Council and president of SOE/IRTE, says it's an important step forward that simplifies truck safety.

It means that technicians will no longer need to fit heavy arms and mirrors specifically to improve driver front-down visibility – with the attendant problems of cracked roof panels on vehicles not designed for them.

Andy Cattell, head of large vehicle policy at VOSA, makes the point that this must not be confused with retrofitting Class 4 and 5 mirrors to vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes registered since 1 January 2000, or with the Class 6 (forward vision) mirrors for all vehicles registered after 26 January 2007 – both of which remain mandatory.

Brian Tinham

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