New York City has begun installing surround safety cameras on 1,500 fleet trucks to eliminate blind spots and visual impairments for truck operators. These cameras will provide operators an additional tool to see directly in front, behind, and to the blind sides of trucks. Conventionally designed trucks obstruct the driver’s view of the road in front of the engine, causing a safety hazard for pedestrians, bicyclists, and children, according to the city.
These retrofits are part of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Safe Fleet Transition Plan (SFTP) for city fleet units. Through the SFTP, DCAS is specifying the highest level of safety available on new cars and trucks and implementing safety retrofits. DCAS has already installed more than 60,000 safety improvements to city fleet units, including driver alert systems, telematics, truck side-guards, automatic braking, back-up alerts, dash cams, and heated mirrors.
“Safe streets save lives,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Adding cameras to our fleet is a commonsense way to create a safer city for everyone.”
“Vision Zero remains a priority for the city fleet,” said DCAS Deputy Commissioner and NYC Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman. “Operating work trucks is difficult but essential work. These new cameras and backup alerts will offer drivers a full view of the obstructed areas around a truck, helping to keep pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers safe.”
DCAS previously announced that it is pursuing high vision truck models for future truck replacements. High vision trucks will eliminate frontal visual obstructions. The 1,500 surround cameras will be retrofitted onto existing conventional trucks to improve safety until replacements are in place. DCAS has installed over 500 units at 13 agencies so far and will complete the rollout by December. The NYC Department of Sanitation is also testing similar technology for its fleet of garbage trucks.
The surround cameras will go on a wide variety of vehicle types including Department of Correction buses, Parks Department garbage and forestry trucks, Housing Authority box trucks, Police Department rack trucks, Department of Environmental Protection catch basin trucks, DCAS supply vans, and Department of Transportation dump trucks. The surround camera system provides the driver a full view of all sides of the vehicle and includes back-up sensors and sound alerts when a truck is going in reverse. These types of systems have been proven in studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and others to increase safety.
DCAS Fleet Management has implemented a wide variety of safety measures as part of Vision Zero. In addition to the Safe Fleet Transition Plan, additional measures include the City’s fleet first CRASH management system, the nation’s largest rollout of live vehicle tracking devices managed through its Fleet Office of Real Time Tracking (FORT), the nation’s leading program of truck safety guards, barring hands-free phone use by fleet operators, and training over 70,000 staff members in safety.
The announcement was made at the Global Vision Zero Safety Forum, being hosted by DCAS and Together for Safer Roads (TSR). DCAS and TSR are working together to promote these types of fleet safety investments among commercial, non-profit, and other public fleets as part of the DCAS Fleets of the Future initiative.