Mayor Emanuel and CDOT Introduce Ordinance Requiring City Contractors to Install Low Cost Safety Equipment on Large Trucks
Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) today announced that the City of Chicago is moving forward on a major traffic safety proposal in the Vision Zero Chicago Action Plan by introducing an ordinance that would require City contractors to install side guards and convex mirrors on large trucks.
“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 Mayor Emanuel. “I applaud private sector fleet managers who have already taken steps to enhance the safety of their truck fleets.”
Cities like 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. Following the national mandate of side guards in the U.K., there was a 20 percent reduction in pedestrian fatalities and a 61 percent drop in bicyclist fatalities from side-impact collisions with trucks.
“Installation of this type of safety equipment directly improves safety by lowering the risk and severity of crashes,” said 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.”
Under the proposed ordinance, contractors will be required to phase in the installation of safety equipment, starting on July 1, 2018, with full compliance required by July 1, 2021. It will impact new contracts over $2 million in value in the following areas: construction, “job order contracts” where the work of an individual order exceeds $2 million, 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 the City fleet over the coming years. The proposed ordinance gives the Commissioner of the Department of Fleet and Facilities Management the authority to start phasing in the installation of such safety equipment on large trucks in the City fleet.
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.
Earlier this month, CDOT and Mayor Emanuel unveiled a three-year Vision Zero Chicago Action Plan, a data-driven, multi-agency approach that 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 roadway crashes and eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Chicago by 2026.
At the direction of Mayor Emanuel, a dozen City departments and agencies have been working for months with traffic safety stakeholders to develop the Vision Zero Action plan. The plan covers the first three years of the effort, which is based on the principles of the international Vision Zero movement. It incorporates traffic crash data, identifies the greatest opportunities for change, and establishes the City’s priorities and resources for addressing this public health challenge.
The planning process was coordinated by the Mayor’s Office and led by CDOT, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
The Vision Zero Action Plan lays out four key goals and specific strategies to achieve these goals:
1. Invest in communities that are most affected by severe traffic crashes.
2. Work to change behaviors and perceptions to build a culture of a safety.
3. Make streets safer for all users.
4. Encourage and implement policies, training and technologies that create safer vehicles and safer professional drivers.
Under the three year plan, CDOT is committed to improving 300 intersections to make them safer for pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable roadway users. CDOT will also work with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to improve access and safety at 25 transit stations, encouraging the use of transit through targeted safety improvements in the vicinity of CTA stations and bus stops, particularly in high crash zones.
Vision Zero Chicago involves the coordinated efforts of 11 City departments working at the direction of the Mayor’s Office. Chicago was named one of 10 Focus Cities in the U.S. in 2016 and asked to participate in a new national program designed to advance Vision Zero. The approach recognizes that the challenges and opportunities to improve safe mobility are similar across cities. By collaborating closely with other Focus Cities, Chicago we will be part of a national effort to develop and share best practices aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries caused by traffic crashes.
To view the full Vision Zero Action plan, go to https://visionzerochicago.org/