Commercial garbage trucks were involved in crashes that caused at least 43 fatalities and 107 injuries in New York City from January 2010 through May 2019. A new report examines the root causes of the collisions and unveils a roadmap to prevent further incidents and boost safety.
The report is a joint effort of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the NYC Business Integrity Commission (BIC).
Collisions involving commercial garbage trucks are on the rise across the nation, but there are heightened risks in urban settings. These large vehicles often provide limited driver visibility and are more difficult to operate than other vehicles, according to DCAS.
The new report sets forth four core recommendations.
Changing the design of truck cabs. Large trucks with conventionally designed cabs can have a frontal obstructed view of 20 feet or more. Since 2010, all fatal collisions in New York City involving a commercial garbage truck that was stopped and then put into drive, involved a cab with a conventional design. The recommendation is to design high-vision truck cabs in the future. DCAS also utilizes an app that can help fleets buy the safest available vehicles.
Installing a side guard. These barriers prevent vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists from sliding under the truck during a side-impact collision and can result in a 40% reduction in fatalities.
Investing in vehicle technology. Technologies like surround cameras, safety lights automatic braking systems, and additional mirrors can reduce fatalities and injuries. DCAS and BIC will work together on developing best practices and retrofitting technology onto commercial garbage trucks.
Addressing visual impairments. Certain vehicle retrofitting devices, like bug deflectors, can increase visual impairment and pose an unnecessary safety risk.
Using the findings from this latest report, BIC created new safety rules for the trade waste industry that are now in effect. The rules include new requirements like crossover mirrors for trucks with conventional cab design, bi-annual truck inspections, annual safety training, and record-keeping requirements.