Marty Golden: Time for Strict Enforcement on Life-Saving Truck Mirrors

An informal survey conducted by the Daily News suggests that many trucking companies and truck drivers are ignoring the state’s four-month-old crossover mirror law, and that police are not enforcing the safety measure.

The father of Moshe Englender, killed by a truck driver in Williamsburg last May, says the law intended to prevent "blind spot" crashes is not being enforced. Photo: Daily News

The law requires that trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds that are driven on city streets be equipped with convex, or “crossover,” mirrors, which allow drivers to see what’s directly in front of them. “Blind spot” crashes claimed the lives of Brooklyn schoolkids Juan Estrada and Victor Flores in 2004 and grandmother Theresa Alonso of Staten Island in 2010. Support for last year’s iteration of the mirror bill grew after 5-year-old Moshe Englender was killed in May by the driver of a meat truck while playing on Heyward Street in Williamsburg.

The Englender family has filed suit against the driver and the company that owned the truck, the News reported yesterday. Said Wolf Englender, Moshe’s father: “The law has been passed and it’s not being enforced. The more we talk about it, the more we hope that it will prevent it from happening again.”

A News reporter standing on Canal Street near the Holland Tunnel counted 43 trucks that should have the mirrors, and found that about a third did not. NYPD summons reports do not itemize mirror violations, so it’s impossible to know how many tickets have been issued.

The mirrors are standard equipment on school buses, and have been for decades. For a 2010 story on what turned out to be an unsuccessful push for a mirror bill, Streetsblog found mirrors and assembly kits listed at prices ranging from $23 to $57, not accounting for bulk discounts.

We contacted the office of Marty Golden, who championed the mirror bill in the Senate, regarding the Daily News report. “Trucks equipped with crossover mirrors eliminate the truck driver’s blind spot and allow drivers to see pedestrians crossing in front of them,” Golden said in an e-mailed statement. “Strict enforcement of this law is necessary to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries in New York. Failure to enforce this law will prevent us from saving lives and keeping New Yorkers safe on our streets.”

  • Hilda

    Does this truck have the mirrors? http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/07/01/the-weekly-carnage-138/

    I remember this picture thinking that the truck dirver would not be able to see the grown men in front of the cab, let alone a 13 year old girl.

  • Driver

    I was wondering how long it would take for SB to address this issue.  I see many trucks in my daily travels without the proper mirrors.  I have brought it up to other truck drivers, most don’t seem to be aware of the law.  It’s interesting how well advertised a crackdown on dwi or cell phone drivers is, but you never see or hear anything about the new law.  I only knew about it from this site, and informed my boss, who had no idea.

    The other problem that I pointed out in a previous post is that the law has a huge hole by only requiring the mirrors for trucks over 26,000 gvw.  A truck similar to the one in the picture above is often registered under 26,000.  This means that trucks registered at this weight are not required to have these mirrors despite their size.  It also means that no special requirement is needed to drive a truck like this.  Anyone with a regular license can drive one with no special training or testing or medical/drug testing requirements.

  • Driver

    One other point, these mirrors are only useful if someone is in your blind spot while you are stopped, as you would check this mirror before starting from a stop.  If someone runs into the blind spot while the truck is moving, the mirrors are likely not going to help.

  • A lot of those trucks are rated below 26,000, however, which exempts them from the requirement. As such, those drivers don’t even need CDLs.

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