New York City's high vision trucks feature a lower entry, cab-forward design.

New York City's high vision trucks feature a lower entry, cab-forward design.

Photo courtesy of NYC DCAS

New York City will transition to using trucks that better protect pedestrians and cyclists. The high-vision trucks minimize blind spots by lowering the height of the truck cab, using additional windows, and reducing the size and height of the truck’s hood. This move is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths and injuries on city streets.

The city will purchase high-vision trucks whenever suitable options exist. This includes vehicles such as tow trucks, garbage trucks, and dump trucks, among other types. Many emergency service units including fire engines, ladders, and some NYPD emergency response vehicles already come as high vision. DCAS will expand high vision to additional types of emergency units as well if there are suitable models available on the market. Overall, the City of New York operates at least 2,500 conventionally designed work trucks that could be transitioned to high-vision trucks through this initiative.

According to a report by the City of London, vehicle reaction times are 70% slower in traditional vehicles compared to high-vision alternatives. This includes reaction times that are twice as slow in collisions involving pedestrians. The study also found that cyclists are at particular risk when approaching the passenger side door of a conventional truck due to low visibility. High-vision alternatives include design changes to the slope and shape of the hood, additional windows, and peep holes that allow drivers to see beyond the normal line of sight offered from conventional cabs.

“In both safety and sustainability, DCAS is pushing the fleet industry to supply safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Keith Kerman, DCAS deputy commissioner and NYC chief fleet officer, in a release. “These technologies save lives and money and should be standard on all base fleet vehicles. DCAS calls on the fleet industry to separate safety options from luxury items in marketing vehicles.”

As part of Vision Zero, the City adopted a Vision Zero Safe Fleet Transition Plan (SFTP). The SFTP was first published in May 2017 and outlines a series of safety investments that DCAS will require of fleet vehicles. This announcement is part of an expansion of this plan.

In less than two years, the SFTP has resulted in the implementation of nearly 20,000 safety upgrades, including expanded use of automatic braking, backup cameras, driver alert systems, blind spot alerts, heated mirrors, truck side-guards, and vehicle telematics. The SFTP is a partnership between DCAS and the Volpe Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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