De Blasio Signs Bill Requiring Side Guards on 10,000 Trucks by 2024

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill yesterday requiring side guards on all large city trucks, and on private garbage trucks operating in New York City, by 2024. When a truck driver strikes someone with the side of the vehicle, the guards prevent people from getting crushed beneath the truck’s rear wheels. They have been proven to reduce deaths and serious injuries where they are used.

Photo: NYC Mayor's Office/YouTube
Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office/YouTube

The side guards bill covers approximately 10,000 trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, according to Council Member Corey Johnson, who sponsored the legislation. That breaks down to 4,500 vehicles in the city fleet, including approximately 2,700 Department of Sanitation vehicles, and 5,500 to 6,000 private trash haulers regulated by the Business Integrity Commission.

“[The Department of Citywide Administrative Services] has already begun installing side guards on over 200 city trucks already on the job,” de Blasio said yesterday. “This bill takes this effort to the next level to ensure that all city-owned trucks and commercial garbage trucks are outfitted.”

The eight-year timeline for the new law is intended to let DSNY phase in side guards by requiring them on all new vehicles, a less expensive option than retrofitting existing trucks. Private sanitation haulers, which have older fleets, will likely have to retrofit many of their vehicles to meet the 2024 deadline. The bill passed with the support of the National Waste and Recycling Association, an industry group.

“The best thing to do, of course, is to avoid crashes in the first place,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White, “but these side guards are like airbags for pedestrians and cyclists.”

City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez revived a push for side guards after cyclist Hoyt Jacobs was killed in Long Island City by a private trash truck driver making a right turn. “Should a side guard have been installed, Hoyt might be with us today,” Rodriguez said at the bill signing.

Trucks make up just 3.6 percent of vehicles on New York City streets, according to U.S. DOT, but are involved in 12.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 32 percent of bicyclist deaths. Side guards have a proven track record: After the United Kingdom required them in 1986, the fatality rate for pedestrians hit by the side of a truck dropped by 20 percent. The fatality rate for cyclists in similar crashes fell by 61 percent.

New York becomes the second large American city to require side guards on its city fleet, following Boston, which mandated them last year. Side guards are standard equipment on trucks in Europe, Brazil, Japan, and other nations. The U.S. federal government has yet to take action on the issue.

De Blasio also signed a bill from Council Member Margaret Chin requiring DOT to study bicycle and pedestrian safety on truck routes, including the impact of tolling policies on truck traffic, and a bill from Council Member Paul Vallone requiring a DOT study on truck route compliance.

  • red_greenlight1

    Vison, “It’s not like people are dying. Oh they are? Whatever,” Zero Rush.

  • stephenhadley

    NYC Vision Zero and phony side guards will wreck national safety efforts

    Sometimes it is just karma. Two life-long best friends each had
    little sisters that were also life-long friends. I and my best friend
    were riding in the back seat of a drivers education car when we crashed
    into someone’s front yard. My best friend’s big brother married the
    little sister driving that car, a few years later, she died underneath
    the side of a truck trailer. My wife Tamara Hadley, the other little
    sister died underneath the rear of an illegally parked truck trailer
    with a Clinton rear underride guard.

    President Bill Clinton updated Ronald Reagan’s Executive orders
    establishing cost-benefit analysis with Executive Order 12866. These
    orders limiting corporate costs of safety regulations have made it
    almost impossible to pass effective government agency rules for over
    twenty years. We just finished a government rulemaking on rear underride
    guards, NHTSA wants to just legalize the guards already on the road as
    did the Clinton Administration twenty years ago. Studies could not find
    statistical improvement in lives saved by these guards. We estimate at
    least 6,000 extra Americans died because the administration blocked
    better guards that had been tested at higher speeds. We call these rear
    guards of the last twenty years the Clinton guillotine guards. If the
    new regulation by the Obama Administration is approved as presented to
    just legalize existing guards, they will now be known as Obama
    guillotine guards.

    We now have New York City making a joke out of Vision Zero and world
    safety efforts. We have fought for twenty years for improved side and
    front guards to protect all road users including vulnerable road users
    such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Vision Zero states if you can save
    lives then you must do so. We have fought for Vision Zero regulatory
    safeguards to replace Clinton cost-benefit rules for twenty years to
    save thousands of lives. Destroying the meaning of Vision Zero and the
    meaning of side guards will cripple our efforts for national rules and
    regulations. Cost-benefit analysis has killed tens of thousands of
    Americans and given us corporate control of our government and portions
    of our economy. NYC has replaced the definition of side guards with the
    definition of side skirts, one saves only vulnerable road users and the
    other with sufficient strength is meant to protect all road users.

    Total truck related fatalities in 2013 were 3,964, 338 were pedestrians
    and 78 were bicyclists or about 10.5% were vulnerable road users. 585 or
    15% of total fatal crashes were to the side of the truck in cars in
    2013. Most fatal victims die in crashes to the front of the truck. If we
    design side skirts that only save vulnerable road users we will only
    save a small percentage of victims leaving most victims including many
    children to die in car crashes. Many of my friends lost their children
    in these crashes.

    Due to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Vision Zero initiative side guards in
    NYC and probably nationally will only be strong enough to save VRU’s or
    vulnerable road users. It is written into the law that side guards save
    pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists only. We will have a NHTSA
    side guard rulemaking in a month or two and these laws in NYC will
    defeat twenty years of effort of truck crash victims for strong side
    guards for trucks and trailers that will protect all road users. I guess
    these new car killer guillotine guards appearing under the de Blasio
    Administration will be known as the de Blasio guillotine side guards.

    Vision Zero means stop killing the children! Even those unworthy souls
    in cars too! Work with us to save lives, not against us. Over a million
    Americans have been killed and injured in crashes with trucks. A bad law
    in America can kill tens or hundreds of thousands overseas as our
    regulations are copied or not exceeded around the globe. Easily, the
    Clinton guards in the last twenty years killed a hundred thousand extra
    souls around the world which would have been saved with available
    stronger rear guards.

    With so many new American guard regulations, we are naming them after
    the administration most responsible for their adoption. This should add
    motivation to kill fewer Americans for corporate donations and hopefully end these corporate partnerships that kill so many of our loved ones. Divide and conquer, corporate power and divisive politics when safety advocates start winning the conversation. Millions in public money to crush any opposition! Bikers and car drivers unite, many of us are both!

    More information at http://www.underridenetwork.org .

    http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/54000/54700/54711/Truck_Sideguards_NYC.pdf

    http://www.reginfo.gov/public/jsp/Utilities/EO_12866.pdf

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