The voluntary accreditation scheme FORS, or the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme, has updated its standard requirements. Well recognised and respected, the scheme gives operators an opportunity to demonstrate they are working to maintain high standards in the industry. Including driving efficiency, driver behaviour, and road safety. FORS have an overall goal; to raise the standard and quality of work within fleet operations. They encourage and incentivise productive and sustainable operations in the transport industry.
FORS also champion companies and fleet operators who lead the way in road safety, societal, and environmental protection. Achieving the FORS accreditation shows fleet operators and their company have actioned every measure to improve their fleet operations. Plus, it promotes a mindfulness around the impact commercial vehicles can have.
Their accreditation scheme is widely accepted by fleet operators, enforcement agencies, and others in the industry as an indicator of best practice. They develop and facilitate improvements to operating standards, as well as supporting operators to meet them by providing driver training and support material.
FORS Version 5 – Summary of Equipment Changes to Vehicles
FORS have released a guide with details of their new standard (V5), and the changes you may need to implement to your fleet. We have gone through this for you from a camera point of view. With the implementation of Direct Vision Standard looming later this year (coming into effect in October), the industry will have a greater focus on security cameras and visual aids.
Bronze FORS requirement:
- There are currently no material changes relating to cameras. However, it suggests considerations are made to comply with DVS.
Silver FORS requirement:
- There are changes to the blind spot minimisation requirement from the previous standard. Operators now need a camera system, and Fresnel Lenses are no longer recognised. However, there is a tolerance for older vehicles.
- Vehicles need a camera system for visibility of the near-side blind spot, and a monitor inside the cab so the driver can see the footage.
- But drivers who can clearly see the near-side blind spot by direct vision, from a left-hand drive vehicle, for example, need not install a monitor or camera system.
Gold FORS requirement:
- In the gold requirement, a camera system to monitor the near-side blind spot must be installed. Also, vehicles need an in-cab monitor to view the footage.
- FORS state there is no tolerance for older vehicles as there is in the silver requirement. However, if you are planning to have camera systems fitted to your older vehicles, their installation may coincide with the fleet replacement cycle.
Which Vehicles are Subject to Safety Improvements?
To meet the Silver requirements, all HGVs should adhere to the above standards. Ridged goods vehicles that weigh over 7.5 tonnes need a rear-view camera for the rear blind spot. The same applies to the rear of trailers. The tolerance for older vehicles comes into play if the vehicle was registered with FORS before January 1st, 2015. For the time being, these vehicles may use a Fresnel Lens.
For the Gold standard, the above requirements apply to all HGVs and vehicles designed to carry 16 or more passengers. Other safety recommendations across the new standard include installing proximity sensors and mirrors, blind-spot warning signs, side under-run protection, and audible alerts when maneuvering. They all point towards giving drivers greater visibility and protecting other road users.
FORS Compliant Commercial Vehicle Cameras
To meet the FORS Gold standard requirements, FORS have issued some guidelines on the spec needed for cameras. It mostly comes down to the quality of the hardware. Many use their cameras as visual aids, CCTV for security, or to ensure should an insurance claim arise clear and indisputable footage is available.
First and foremost, your camera needs a high-quality image. For an analogue system, you need a 420 TVL resolution camera as a minimum. But, an AHD (Analogue High Definition) 720p high definition camera is recommended. Quality night vision is also essential. Drivers should be able to clearly see eight meters ahead of them and in their blind spots. To achieve this your cameras will need an IR (infrared) lens.
The FORS requirements state that cameras for commercial vehicles should have a wide view lens for rear-view recording. The minimum field view (the width of the angle on a display screen) for cameras is 120°. However, FORS recommend operators install a camera with a 130° field view. Also, the system supply voltage should be 10 to 32V DC. This ensures your camera system is compatible with any vehicle and can withstand voltage fluctuations.
Of course, the weather your vehicles go through your external cameras goes through too. So, you need some hard-wearing hardware. Go for cameras that have good ingress protection, meaning they resist dust and moisture. The recommended minimum rating is IP67. But for vehicles that are steam washed go for IP69K rated cameras. Finally, all cameras need to function properly in temperatures between -20°C and 70°C.