Mirrors and Glass

Mirrors are a reliant means for safety and accuracy, especially during the manoevering process. Due to the very nature of our crowded streets within the UK mainlaind, it is advisable to always carry a spare mirror glass at all times, as the likelihood of accidental breakage by drivers and other road users can and does happen.

Mirrors - General
Every goods vehicle and dual purpose vehicle must have two mirrors. One must be fitted externally on the offside and the other either internally or, if visibility to the rear is obscured, on the nearside externally. The mirrors must show traffic to the rear and on both sides rearwards. In practice, this means that (in most cases) two external mirrors are needed. They must remain steady under normal driving conditions.

Regulation 33 Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 states that motor vehicles, except road rollers, shall be fitted with a mirror or mirrors according to their class and date of first use. Any mirror which is fitted shall, whether or not it is required, comply with the any requirements of these regulations or EC Regulations applicable to that vehicle.

The following vehicle are exempt from the requirement to fit mirrors:

if, in each case, the driver can easily obtain a view to the rear, or

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The following basic requirements are therefore:

Approval & Compliance - Directive 2007/38/EC
There have been several changes to the legal requirement to install mirrors to commercial vehicles since the mid eighties. Although we have laid out the exemptions and requirements in general terms (above), the following is a general summary of mirror legislation, taking into consideration the new legislation to be introduced on 1st April 2009.

Subject to the type/size of vehicle, there are currently 6 types of mirror which can be fitted to a commercial vehicle as per the table below.

Mirror Type Fitment location
Class I Interior rear view mirrors
Class II Main exterior mirrors
Class III Main exterior mirrors
Class IV Wide angle mirrors
Class V Close proximity mirrors
Class VI Front mirrors

Other factors which dictate mirror fitment are as follows

For definitions of vehicle categories, please refer to the Vehicle Definitions page.

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Directive 2003/97/EC
This directive introduced the mandatory fitment of class IV and V mirrors with improved fields of vision, and a class VI mirror giving a view across the front of the vehicle on new N2 and N3 vehicles from 26 January 2007.
There is no requirement to fit a mirror to works trucks and pedestrian controlled vehicles as indicated in the exemptions noted (above).

Directive 2007/38/EC
This directive has been issued requiring that all vehicles of categories N2 and N3 not complying with Directive 2003/97/EC must be retrofitted, on the passenger side, with improved devices for indirect vision, which fulfil the compliance with a reduced field of vision of 95 per cent and of 85 per cent for class IV (wide angle) and class V (close proximity) mirrors respectively. However, the directive does not apply to;

NB There is no requirement to retrofit class VI front mirrors which became mandatory on N2 vehicles over 7.5 tonne from 26th January 2007.

The new EU Directive 2007/38/EC requires that by 1st April 2009, all trucks over 7.5 tonnes and vehicles over 3.5 tonnes with the larger cab must comply with the expanded field of vision. The Directive can be viewed at the downloadable pdf file below. Images of the field of vision under the new directive as well as the old can also be viewed below.
The deadline for retrofitment of mirrors is the 31st March 2009.

Directive 2007/38/EC PDF logo
New Directive 2007/38/EC

Old Directive 71/127/EC

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Operator Declaration - Directive 2007/38/EC
It has been proposed by VOSA that from 1 April 2009, operators will need to complete a self declaration certificate stating that the vehicle is equipped on the nearside with mirrors or such devices which fully comply with the relevant articles of Directive 2007/38/EC and present this at the vehicles annual test.
This will be a one off presentation of the certificate and will not be required on subsequent tests. VOSA examiners will then carry out a check of the self declaration certificate and undertake mirror checks against current standards to ensure roadworthiness and compliance.

Glass - General
Regulation 31 and 32 Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 states that safety glass shall be used in all outside windows on passenger and dual purpose vehicles first used on or after 1/1/59 and specified safety glass of a higher technical specification, marked with either a British Standard mark or an approval mark (or on a vehicle first used before 1/10/86, a French approval mark), should be fitted on the windscreens and windows alongside the driver on vehicles first used on or after 1/6/78. (1/9/78 for caravans).

There are exceptions to the requirement to fit higher specification glass which include security vehicles and vehicles being used for police purposes, motorcycles, temporary windscreens, windows (other than windscreens) of engineering plant, industrial tractors, certain agricultural motor vehicles, windows of the upper deck of a doubledecked bus, and windows in the roof of a vehicle.

Visual transmission for light
Regulation 32(10) Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 states that:

Measurements should be carried out perpendicular to the surface in accordance with the procedure specified in the appropriate British Standard Specification.

[The requirements above have effect in relation to any tint, film or other substance or material applied to a windscreen or window as they have effect in relation to the windscreen or window itself] - from 01/01/2004.

Exceptions apply to parts of the windscreen outside the visual reference zone, windows through which the driver could not see the road, and windows, other than rear facing windows and access doors, behind the driver in goods vehicles, buses, locomotives and tractors and all windows behind the driver in an ambulance.

Regulation 30 Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 states that all glass or other transparent material fitted to a motor vehicle shall be maintained in such a condition that it does not obscure the vision of the driver while the vehicle is being driven on a road.

Further Reading
There is currently consultation invitations by the department of Transport for the proposed retro-fitment of mirrors and a proposed amendment to Regulation 33 Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. If you wish to read more concerning this, please use the link below.

Retrofitting of Mirror - Dept for Transport PDF logo

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