Truck safety equipment like side guards and crossover and convex mirrors are saving lives in Chicago. The city is currently adopting these and other technologies to reduce the risk to pedestrians and cyclists who encounter large city-contracted trucks. These simple devices are a cost-effective solution to prevent deadly truck accidents.
Truck Side Guards & Mirrors
Lateral side guards are attached to the sides of garbage trucks, dump trucks, flatbeds, and other large vehicles. The city is installing these devices, and requiring private entities to do so as well, as part of the Vision Zero Chicago Action Plan aimed at making the streets of Chicago safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Each side guard is an inexpensive solution that prevents pedestrians and cyclists from becoming trapped beneath the vehicle.
These are known as underride accidents, and in Illinois, 143 such crashes resulted in fatalities from 1994 to 2015 in Illinois. Nationwide, during that same period, 4,195 people died in truck underride accidents. Of these, nearly 1/3 were because the pedestrian or cyclist impacted at the side of the vehicle.
Similarly, the city is requiring all vehicles owned by city contractors that are over 10,000 lbs to be fitted with convex mirrors. These enhance the driver’s vision and reduce the risk of a pedestrian/bicyclist collision. These have already demonstrated considerable effectiveness in the United Kingdom. There, side-protection has been credited with a 20% decrease in pedestrian deaths, and a 61% decrease in cyclist fatalities.
Implementation of these devices will take place in stages. The program has already commenced and concludes in July 2021. Thus, businesses have some time remaining to find the funding required to upgrade their fleets to make them safer for travel down city streets and train their drivers how to use the devices. The city is aiming to achieve compliance with its fleet of vehicles over the next decade.
Liability for Pedestrian or Cyclist Accidents
City vehicles, and vehicles owned by city contractors are not immune from liability when a bicycle or pedestrian accident occurs. Whether caused by driver error, negligence, or willful misconduct, these entities are responsible for the personal injuries, wrongful deaths, and property damage their actions cause. Even with truck side guards and convex side mirrors, any collision with a large vehicle is going to cause serious injury. When it does, a truck accident lawyer in Chicago can help pursue the claim.