Safer trucks for New York City

The NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) announced that the City’s vehicle fleet will transition to using trucks that better protect pedestrians and cyclists. The trucks, known as high vision trucks, minimize blind spots by lowering the height of the truck cab, using additional windows, and reducing the size and height of the truck’s hood. This move is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s historic Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths and injuries on our streets. “Mayor de Blasio’s historic Vision Zero initiative continues to take common-sense steps to save lives and keep people safe,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “Things as simple as vehicle design can reduce blind spots and prevent tragic collisions. That is why the City of New York is leading by example and helping build the safest vehicle fleet in the country.”

The City will purchase high vision trucks whenever suitable options exist. This includes vehicles like tow trucks, garbage trucks, and dump trucks, among other types. Many emergency service units including fire engines, ladders, and some NYPD emergency response vehicles already come as high vision. DCAS will expand high vision to additional types of emergency units as well if there are suitable models available on the market. Overall, the City of New York operates at least 2,500 conventionally designed work trucks which could be transitioned to high vision trucks through this initiative.

City of London

According to a report by the City of London, vehicle reaction times are 70% slower in traditional vehicles compared to high vision alternatives. This includes reaction times that are twice as slow in collisions involving pedestrians. The study also found that cyclists are at particular risk when approaching the passenger side door of a conventional truck due to low visibility. High vision alternatives include design changes to the slope and shape of the hood, additional windows, and peepholes that allow drivers to see beyond the normal line of sight offered from conventional cabs.

Safer and more fuel-efficient

“In both safety and sustainability, DCAS is pushing the fleet industry to supply safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Keith Kerman, DCAS Deputy Commissioner, and NYC. Chief Fleet Officer. “These technologies save lives and money and should be standard on all base fleet vehicles. DCAS calls on the fleet industry to separate safety options from luxury items in marketing vehicles.”

As part of Vision Zero, the City adopted a Vision Zero Safe Fleet Transition Plan (SFTP). The SFTP was first published in May 2017 and outlines a series of safety investments that DCAS will require of fleet vehicles. Today’s announcement is part of an expansion of this plan.

In under two years, the SFTP has resulted in the implementation of nearly 20,000 safety upgrades, including expanded use of automatic braking, backup cameras, driver alert systems, blind spot alerts, heated mirrors, truck side-guards, and vehicle telematics. The SFTP is a partnership between DCAS and the Volpe Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Together for safer roads

“Together for Safer Roads is pleased to be partnering with New York on the Vision Zero Initiative and with DCAS on the Safe Fleet Transition Plan,” said David Braunstein, President of Together for Safer Roads. “Road safety is a collaborative effort that requires partnerships between governments, road safety advocates and organizations, the automotive industry and the private sector. Based on their work it is no surprise that DCAS is leading as an international example of municipal fleet safety and operations.”

“The City of London is committed to the principles and goals of Vision Zero. New York City’s announcement today in regard to procuring high vision trucks where available is a huge step in this direction and mirrors London’s efforts in this area,” said Vincent Dignam, Business Performance & Transport Group Manager, Transportation & Public Realm, City of London. “Collaboration and sharing of information are key for improved road safety and the city of London is happy to be a partner with NYC and DCAS in this effort including at the Future Fleet Forum in London in January 2019.”

This work is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative that was announced in January 2014. The plan includes expanded enforcement against dangerous moving violations like speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians, new street designs and configurations to improve safety, broad public outreach and communications, and a sweeping legislative agenda to increase penalties for dangerous drivers and give New York City control over the safety of our own streets.


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