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It might surprise you to learn that mirrors aren’t essential parts of an LGV, and that you don’t actually need mirrors to drive at all. They can be bulky and vulnerable to damage. The cost of replacing LGV Mirrors can really add up if it happens regularly.

But before you decide to stop using LGV mirrors altogether, there’s just one thing you need to bear in mind: In the relevant European Directives, while mirrors aren’t mentioned specifically, there is a need for some sort of ‘devices for indirect vision’ when it comes to LGVs over 3.5 tons.

Now one enterprising and forward-thinking company, Brigade Electronics, has replaced all the mirrors on an LGV with cameras, with great success. Whilst cameras have been used in place of mirrors in LGVs for some time, they have not usually been able to entirely replace every single mirror because of the multitude of areas and blind spots they need to cover in order to comply with the ‘indirect vision’ criteria.

The Backeye 360 system from Brigade Electronics includes cameras that cover all the spots that need to be visible for the necessary R46 compliance. These include the blind spots around the passenger door, and right in front of the vehicle. This works by stitching camera images together to form one single 360-degree picture which can be viewed on a single screen by the driver. This gives live and complete visual information from all around the vehicle, with no blind spots.

Advantages for LGV haulage companies are huge – there’s no need to replace damaged mirrors over and over again. Drivers can rest more easily knowing they have a complete view of what’s going on around their vehicle at all times.

But, best of all, vulnerable road users like cyclists are better protected, with fewer blind spots which could otherwise prove fatal. This kind of system could give London LGV drivers in particular, an advantage when it comes to combating some of the problems identified by road safety initiatives when it comes to LGVs in the capital. As you’ll know from reading our guide to HGV driving in London, LGVs are coming under intense scrutiny at the moment because of their disproportionately high involvement in accidents involving cyclists, compared with all other vehicles on the road.

The camera system is particularly made for use at low speeds, which is perfect when it comes to monitoring a vehicle in slow-moving traffic. Because of the congestion in London, sitting in crawling traffic makes up a large proportion of the time spent driving around the city. Whilst it might seem that driving slowly in traffic would make LGVs safer than moving at higher speeds, it actually means a lot of close contact with cyclists as they ride past at higher speeds, and with pedestrians as they cross the road between slow moving vehicles.

The Backeye 360 and other camera systems like this could help LGV drivers in the battle to reduce the number of accidents on London’s roads if they begin to replace mirrors.

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