New York City’s initiative to reduce traffic deaths may be called Vision Zero, but for municipal truck drivers it will translate into a little more vision — in the form of fewer blind spots.
The city will begin replacing the 2,500 fire engines, garbage trucks, dump trucks and more in its fleet with new “high-vision” vehicles, said Lisette Camilo, commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. The new rides will minimize blind spots with lower cab heights, more windows and smaller hoods.
“Mayor [Bill] de Blasio’s historic Vision Zero initiative continues to take common-sense steps to save lives and keep people safe,” Camilo said. “Things as simple as the design of fire engines can reduce blind spots and help prevent collisions.”
The cost of upgrading the trucks will vary depending on the city agency and function they serve, the city said. The swaps will be made on a rolling basis, and the city typically replaces about 10% of its vehicle fleet each year.
In London, a study found that the high-vision vehicles made a difference: Reaction times were 70% in traditional trucks than they were in the high-vision ones, and the reaction time in collisions involving pedestrians was twice as slow in regular trucks.
City vehicles are involved in about six collisions per 100,000 miles traveled, according to DCAS. In fiscal 2018, which ended in June, city vehicles were involved in 6,304 collisions — down from 6,444 the previous fiscal year.
The city has made previous efforts to make its fleet of cars — which has grown under de Blasio — safer, including rolling out automatic braking, backup cameras, driver-alert systems, heated mirrors and truck side guards. They are part of a “Vision Zero Safe Fleet Transition Plan,” which intends to transition the fleet to safer vehicles and is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center.