Streets Week(!) is long gone, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has plans to make city fleet vehicles safer with cameras that will give operators a 360-degree view of their surroundings in an attempt to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) will refit 1,500 fleet trucks with cameras that eliminate blind spots and so far has installed 500 units for vehicles at 13 agencies, the mayor’s office announced on Wednesday.
“Safe streets save lives,” de Blasio said. “Adding cameras to our fleet is a commonsense way to create a safer city for everyone.”
While the Department of Sanitation is looking at putting similar systems on their vehicles, this round will go out to Department of Correction buses, NYC Parks Department garbage and forestry trucks, New York City Housing Authority box trucks, New York City Police Department rack trucks, NYC Department of Environmental Protection catch basin trucks, DCAS supply vans, and NYC Department of Transportation dump trucks, according to the city.
“Vision Zero has always demanded we address street safety issues on multiple fronts,” DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman said. “Our partners at DCAS are showing us that we not only need to train the safest drivers, but we also need to ensure they are driving the safest fleet vehicles. Because being able to see the child or senior behind or over the hood of a City vehicle can very often be the difference between life or death, the new surround cameras added under this plan will undoubtedly save lives.”
With Vision Zero experiencing year after bloody year since 2019, road deaths from trucks colliding with cyclists and pedestrians has been the focus of much media coverage, something Councilman Ydanis Rodrigues, chairman of the Transportation Committee, hopes the city will continue to rectify.
Trucks have a greater number of blind spots which can make them much more dangerous than your average vehicle. These 1,500 cameras will add an additional layer of safety to ensure we’re keeping all pedestrians and cyclists safe,” Rodriguez said.
Deaths on roadways within city limits have taken a deadly turn, from an increase that has been maintained since the 2019 when close to 30 cyclists died. Advocates and Gutman fear that city is going in the wrong direction as 25 fatalities were logged between January and April.
But the city also has a long-term plan for its fleets.
New procurements will likely have higher visibility windows as well as other improvements through the DCAS Safe Fleet Transition Plan.