Marty Golden’s Truck Safety Bill Advances in the Senate

Theresa Alonso, 64, was killed by a truck driver in June 2010 when the light changed as she crossed Richmond Terrace in Port Richmond. Photo: Daily News

A little-known bill that could save lives has cleared the State Senate Transportation Committee.

Under S.3151, sponsored by Brooklyn Republican Marty Golden, trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds that are driven on city streets would be required to have convex (or “crossover”) mirrors allowing their drivers to see what’s directly in front of them.

This sounds like common sense, but according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data cited in the bill, 71 percent of pedestrians killed by large trucks in 2005 were “initially impacted from the front of the truck.”

When a truck driver sits at an intersection or turns a corner, a pedestrian can get caught in the “blind spot” created by the height of the truck’s hood. Collisions of this type killed Brooklyn schoolkids Juan Estrada and Victor Flores in 2004 and claimed the life of grandmother Theresa Alonso in Staten Island last summer. Between 1994 and 2003, 204 New York City pedestrians were killed and 4,698 were injured by collisions involving trucks.

The crossover mirror is nothing new; it’s been standard equipment on school buses for decades.

As was the case last year, when it passed the Assembly, a coalition of street safety advocates is urging senators to adopt the bill. John Quaglione, a spokesperson for Senator Golden, told Streetsblog: “As of right now, the legislature is focused on the approving a state budget by the April 1 deadline. The legislation [S.3151] has support within both houses of the state legislature and there is a chance that this may be the year that this bill becomes law in New York State.”