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Lack of crossover mirrors on trucks that cause pedestrian deaths is a preventable crisis

October 15, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

crossover mirrors for trucks

Drivers of commercial trucks are running pedestrians over and killing them, because crossover mirrors that cost a couple hundred dollars are not required in trucks. There’s no reason why, in the congested urban areas and city streets, that crossover mirrors should not be on trucks.

As an attorney who litigates trucking accidents both in Michigan and nationwide, I know that truck drivers are taught, “there is no such thing as a blind spot if the driver is looking ahead to where the truck will be moving.”

But when a truck driver does not know his “No Zone” because he does not look ahead, then there can be a  large blind spot directly in front of and to the immediate left and right of the cab.

Crossover mirrors are a simple, $100 to $250 cost that eliminates this blind spot. The mirrors are designed so that any person who is at least three feet tall and at least one foot away from the front of the cab can be seen by the truck driver in the mirror.

It is a simple, cost-effective solution that eliminates blind spots that could otherwise exist every time a truck makes a stop at a traffic light or stop sign on a city street.

In New York,  such truck accident pedestrian deaths are sadly very common. Consider these statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • From 1994 to 2003, 204 New York City pedestrians were killed and 4,698 were injured in collisions involving large trucks.
  • 71 percent of pedestrians killed by the drivers of large trucks nationwide were first struck at the front of the vehicle.

I was recently interviewed by Stephen Miller of streetsblog.org, a popular New York travel blog, on this safety crisis.

Here’s the full article: Will the Feds Step Up for Ped Safety and Close the Crossover Mirror Loophole?

These deaths are occurring in part due to a loophole in New York law. Crossover mirrors are required by law in New York. However, the requirement only applies to commercial trucks which are registered and operate in New York City. Trucks that are not registered in New York are exempt from the law.

I told Mr. Miller that the best solution is a federal regulation requiring all trucks to have these inexpensive crossover mirrors.

Such a solution would not only close the New York loophole, but save lives and make roads safer for  pedestrians, bicyclists and children on city streets nationwide.

Crossover mirrors on commercial trucks are not required by law in Michigan or in most other states at this time.

I told Mr. Miller about a tragic truck accident death case I recently litigated last year, where  my client, a bicyclist, was killed in a crosswalk by a large commercial truck in Macomb County, Michigan. The truck driver maintained that he never saw the victim (an 83-year-old man) because he was presumably in the truck’s blind spot. The truck driver never looked ahead to see who would be falling into this blind spot as he was approaching the traffic signal. When my client entered the crosswalk on a white walk signal, the truck driver proceeded to make a blind right turn on the red light, running over, dragging, and killing the man.

If the company had spent a couple hundred dollars on  crossover mirrors, and if these mirrors were required on all commercial motor vehicles, that man would  be alive today.

Preventable deaths like this  are occurring every week in city streets across America.

Of course, a truck driver still has to look to see what is in the mirror. But spending around $100  to install these crossover mirrors is a very small price to pay to save innocent lives.

It is really that easy.

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