Improved mirrors to be mandatory from July

Improved mirrors that eliminate HGV blind spots will become mandatory on newly registered vehicles from July next year across the EU.

The measure, championed by the UK government, was adopted following a vote earlier this month (16 December) by the European Commission.

For the first time it will be mandatory for all newly registered vehicles in the UK to meet the improved mirrors standard.

The new safety measure has been developed by the DfT and applies to HGVs (over 3.5 tonnes) where the Class V mirror is fitted at least 2.4m from the ground.

The new requirement is a larger plan area that the driver has to be able to see on the passenger side of the vehicle. This has been increased from the existing requirement of 2m to 4.5m from the side of the truck adjacent to the cab.

It is performance based, rather than prescribing particular mirrors, so a combination of Class VI (wide angle) and V (close proximity) mirrors is permissible to meet the requirement.

The DfT said the measure would boost cycle safety, adding that last year 115 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on UK roads in accidents involving at least one HGV.

Freight and logistics minister Andrew Jones said: “Safer lorries mean safer cyclists. As a result of our actions, Europe will now adopt these improved standards, which will save lives. As well as leading EU efforts to improve cycle safety, the government is investing in the UK, providing safer junctions, traffic-free cycle links and cycle training in schools.”

Christopher Snelling, head of national and regional policy at the FTA, said: “We’re happy with this as it’s exactly the sort of approach to safety we want.

This is how to make real gains – incremental improvements that are not disruptive to business.”

Snelling added that the improved mirrors should be rolled-out through HGV fleets quickly given the typical renewal cycle in the sector.