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New Law on Convex Mirrors Should Make Pedestrians More Visible to New York Trucks

The number of pedestrian accidents in New York City is intolerable. Over 300 lives are lost every year in New York City alone in traffic accidents involving pedestrians - almost one per day. This means the number of people killed by cars and other vehicles on the street is greater than the number of people who are murdered in the city.

What can be done to reduce this carnage?

One initiative now underway is a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July that requires all large trucks to have convex mirrors designed to prevent blind spots directly in front of the truck. The law applies to trucks that are registered in New York State and weigh 26,000 pounds or more. They are to be fitted with "crossover mirrors" in front to make pedestrians more visible to truck drivers.

The goal is to reduce pedestrian accidents. The law finally passed this year after the tragic death in May of a four-year-old toddler in Brooklyn named Moses Englander. He was killed by a delivery truck as he rode his tricycle.

The required mirrors are called "crossover mirrors" because without them, it can be so hard for truck drivers to see who may be crossing in front of the truck when it is stopped.

Critics of the law from the trucking industry claim that these mirrors lose their effectiveness when the truck is in motion. A better solution, these critics assert, would be to place mirrors on telephone poles around town, allowing trucks to see around corners.

To be sure, the new law does have its limits. Trucks from other states, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, will not be required to have the mirrors installed, even if they come into New York frequently.

But the mirror requirement is a place to start in improving pedestrian safety in New York City.

Source: "New York Law Requires Convex Mirrors on Trucks in Big Apple," Truckinginfo, 7-20-11

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