July 2011: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that requires convex mirrors to be placed on the front of large trucks. These mirrors, also known as crossover mirrors, will eliminate the blind spot directly in front of the truck.
This law will affect all trucks with a maximum gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more. Although it will only apply to commercial trucks registered in New York, other states may follow suit. Vehicles from other states that are passing through New York are not required to install the mirrors.
New Law Sprung from Tragedy
The law has been under consideration several times in recent years but received the most support after a four-year-old boy was killed in Brooklyn. Moses Englander was struck by a delivery truck while riding his tricycle, because the driver did not see him. Moses’ death was the most recent of many tragic fatalities caused by pedestrians being in the large front blind spot that exists due to the height of large commercial trucks.
Blind Spots Especially Dangerous for Pedestrians
The “no-zone” or blind spots around a commercial truck extend many feet to the front, both sides and rear of the enormous vehicle. This means that both vehicles and pedestrians in the no-zone are invisible to the truck driver. Truckers have even less ability to see pedestrians due to their small stature. Pedestrian deaths totaled 4,092 in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Gov. Cuomo said, “This law will allow truck operators to see pedestrians or objects directly in front of them and will offer new safety protections.”
Not Everyone in Support
The new law has not received support from the New York State Motor Truck Association (NYSMTA). NYSMTA executive director Kendra Adams says that crossover mirrors lose their effectiveness when the truck is in motion. Since injuries or death occurs when a truck in motion hits a pedestrian, the mirror may not actually prevent those incidents. Ms. Adams suggested equipping telephone polls throughout New York City with large, convex mirrors that would allow passing vehicles to see around corners. Such mirrors are currently in use in many parts of Europe.
If you or someone you know was involved in a pedestrian/truck accident or any accident involving a commercial truck, you have rights. Please contact us for a free consultation to tell us about your story and let us explain your legal options. You may be eligible for compensation for the physical, financial and emotional burdens caused by the crash.