Direct Vision Standard and HGV safety permit

01 / 01 / 2021  |  Blogs

What is the HGV safety permit?

The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and safety permit for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) requires operators of lorries over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight to apply and obtain a permit to enter or operate in Greater London, or you may receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

The DVS and safety permit for HGVs is part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s transport network by 2041.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • From 1 March 2021 (delayed from November 2020), all HGVs over 12 tonnes will require a valid HGV safety permit to enter Greater London
  • At launch, permits will be granted for trucks meeting the DVS minimum one-star rating. The minimum star rating required will increase in the future
  • Vehicles that do not meet the DVS will face a £550 Penalty Charge Notice per day until extra safety features are added, known as Safe System improvements
  • The permit scheme will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Applying for the permit is free of charge

How are DVS ratings assessed?

Vehicles are given a rating from zero (poor) to five (excellent) stars based on how much an HGV driver can see through their cab. The higher the rating the greater the visibility of other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

If Transport for London are unable to provide the star rating of a new or existing vehicle, you can contact the manufacturer. For existing vehicles, you will be asked to provide the chassis number (VIN).

Safe System improvements required

The Safe System is a series of vehicle safety measures designed to reduce the risks that HGVs present to people walking and cycling. To apply for a permit as a zero-star rated vehicle, you need to fit your vehicle with the following safety equipment:

  • Class V and VI mirrors
  • A fully operational camera monitoring system
  • A sensor system with driver alerts
  • An audible vehicle manoeuvring warning for left turns (or right turns if the vehicle is left-hand drive)
  • Warning signage
  • Side-underrun protection

Zero-rated vehicles with Safe System improvements will be granted with a permit until October 2024. After this they will need to comply with the Progressive Safe System to continue to receive the permits.

Are any HGVs exempt?

The HGV safety permit scheme is only applicable to HGVs exceeding 12 tonnes. Some vehicles are fully or partially exempt from the scheme, these include, but are not limited to:

  • Emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines
  • Specialist gritting and snow plough vehicles
  • Armed Forces vehicles
  • Historic vehicles

For more information on exempt vehicles, click here.


  • The DVS and safety permit comes into effect for operators working within Greater London
  • A minimum one-star DVS rating is required to receive the permit.
  • Vehicles not meeting the minimum DVS star rating will need to make their vehicles safer with Safe System improvements to be granted with a permit
  • The Safe System will be reviewed and consulted on, considering new technological advancements in safety equipment
  • Any changes will be known as the Progressive Safe System and any recommendations to change will have to be retrofittable, industry recognised and readily available on the market
  • The minimum star rating required for the DVS increases to three
  • Vehicles with a rating of less than three will need to feature the Progressive Safe System to qualify for a permit
Visit Transport for London to find out more


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