Marty Golden’s Truck Safety Bill Advances in the Senate

Alonso
Theresa Alonso, 64, was killed by a truck driver in June 2010 when the light changed as she crossed Richmond Terrace in Port Richmond. Photo: Daily News

A little-known bill that could save lives has cleared the State Senate Transportation Committee.

Under S.3151, sponsored by Brooklyn Republican Marty Golden, trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds that are driven on city streets would be required to have convex (or “crossover”) mirrors allowing their drivers to see what’s directly in front of them.

This sounds like common sense, but according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data cited in the bill, 71 percent of pedestrians killed by large trucks in 2005 were “initially impacted from the front of the truck.”

When a truck driver sits at an intersection or turns a corner, a pedestrian can get caught in the “blind spot” created by the height of the truck’s hood. Collisions of this type killed Brooklyn schoolkids Juan Estrada and Victor Flores in 2004 and claimed the life of grandmother Theresa Alonso in Staten Island last summer. Between 1994 and 2003, 204 New York City pedestrians were killed and 4,698 were injured by collisions involving trucks.

The crossover mirror is nothing new; it’s been standard equipment on school buses for decades.

As was the case last year, when it passed the Assembly, a coalition of street safety advocates is urging senators to adopt the bill. John Quaglione, a spokesperson for Senator Golden, told Streetsblog: “As of right now, the legislature is focused on the approving a state budget by the April 1 deadline. The legislation [S.3151] has support within both houses of the state legislature and there is a chance that this may be the year that this bill becomes law in New York State.”

  • Hilda

    What is the law for the second line painted before a crosswalk? There is often about 10 additional feet of space that is indicated to be kept clear before an intersection. In some locations this has been painted to also be a bike cross-over space, but is seldom really kept clear, especially from big trucks.

    I always feel especially vulnerable around a big truck at an intersection, whether on bike or on foot. Eye contact is not even enough, and I will make a vocal contact, and often they are surpised to even see that someone is there, even on heavily pedestrian trafficed streets.

  • NM

    I’ve wondered whether it would be possible to sue a truck manufacturer based on products liability where a truck driver simply ‘couldn’t see’ a pedestrian or cyclist. Seems like where a product can’t be used safely for its intended purpose there would be some liability there. Great news that this bill puts responsibility back on the driver/manufacturer not to create dangerous conditions rather than on the rest of us to simply stay out of the way of a known danger.

    But really, a mirror? That’s all it takes to reduce casualties, and we haven’t done it yet??? And manufacturers need a LAW before they’ll install them?

  • Doug

    This post makes me think of import trucks in which there is no hood to see over. I wonder whether Europe and Japan already have laws on the books which mandate vehicle designs without big blind spots in front of the hoods.

  • Ian Turner

    Hilda,

    It’s called a stop bar, and I’d be surprised if there were any tickets at all written last year for violating it.

  • Driver

    Ok, another example of how clueless our politicians are. I’m not opposed to the mirrors being mandated, but the only difference between many straight trucks (not tractor trailers) registered under 26,000 lbs and over 26k (usually registered at 33,000 lbs)is the registration weight! The exact same truck can be registered at either weight, the only difference is the amount of **legal** weight you can load on the truck. How many of you have seen trucks being weighed by truck enforcement units in NYC? It does happen, but very rarely and in predictable locations. There are many trucks driving legally overweight in NYC everyday. Many delivery companies are now registering trucks under 26,000 (usually 25,995) because (now this is a serious safety issue that should really be discussed here on SB) you can drive one of these trucks with just a regular license and absolutely no training!!!
    That’s right, anyone reading this with a license can go to uhaul or hertz and rent a full size truck with a 20-24 foot box, load it up with as much weight as you want, and take if for a spin on the streets of NYC, or anywhere in NYS for that matter.
    The crossover mirror is a legitimate safety issue, but IMO pales to the number of inexperienced people driving loaded trucks every day. Either way, for this bill to be effective, it should be amended to include full size trucks under 26K as well.

  • Driver

    Sorry to nitpick, but I’m not sure that the crossover mirror would have applied to the Estrada and Flores case. It doesn’t sound like they were directly in front of the truck when they were crossing. These crossover mirrors will only help to see someone crossing directly in front (very closely) of a truck’s hood while it is stopped, so that the driver doesn’t start driving into the unseen pedestrian. If the two boys were crossing while the truck was turning, he still should have seen them, but by using his direct vision and/or side view mirror, not a crossover mirror. This tragedy still should have been preventable, but cross over mirrors would have been the preventing factor in this case. According to a NYTimes article the boys were crushed under the rear wheels.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E04E1DB143AF933A25751C0A9629C8B63&pagewanted=all

  • Anonymous

    I thought the point of the stop bar was to allow enough turning radius for other large vehicles to make left turns, not anything having to do with peds, bikes, or safety.

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