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News » US » Chicago tells contractors to improve truck safety » published 4 Jul 2017

Chicago tells contractors to improve truck safety

Chicago is to introduce an ordinance requiring city contractors to install side guards and convex mirrors on large trucks.

The two low-cost safety features have proven effective elsewhere in reducing the severity and risk of injuries from crashes. “Installation of this type of safety equipment directly improves safety by lowering the risk and severity of crashes,” said and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. “Side guards greatly mitigate the severity of side impact crashes, especially those involving pedestrians and bicycles. And convex and crossover mirrors reduce blind spots for large vehicles.”

According to crash data, there have been 33 fatalities in Chicago among pedestrians and cyclists since 2010 involving large vehicles. Of pedestrian and bike crashes with all vehicles since 2010, large vehicle crashes are three times more likely to be fatal.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CDOT are introducing the ordinance as part of the city’s ‘Vision Zero’ initiative. The data-driven, multi-agency approach looks at traffic safety as a public health challenge and is designed to improve traffic safety for all road users. The ultimate goal of Vision Zero is to reduce crashes and eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Chicago by 2026.

“Chicago is using a data-driven approach to improve traffic safety, and the data shows we can save lives and prevent serious injuries by installing this type of safety equipment,” said Emanuel. “I applaud private sector fleet managers who have already taken steps to enhance the safety of their truck fleets.”

 Cities including Boston, New York and Seattle have recently started installing side guards on their fleets, and this type of safety equipment is mandated in the United Kingdom. The city of Chicago reports that, ollowing the national mandate of side guards in the UK, there was a 20% reduction in pedestrian fatalities and a 61% drop in bicyclist fatalities from side-impact collisions with trucks.

Under the proposed ordinance, contractors will be required to phase in the installation of safety equipment, starting on 1 January 2018, with full compliance required by 1 July 2021. It will impact new contracts over US$2m in value in the following areas: construction, "job order contracts" where the work of an individual order exceeds US$2m, and non-construction contracts whose performance requires the use of large vehicles. It applies to vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds

The city will also lead by example by installing the same equipment on trucks in its fleet over the coming years.



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This article was published on 4 Jul 2017 (last updated on 4 Jul 2017).

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