By Madina Toure
Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) and area business owners are calling for collision avoidance technology in vehicles owned by New York City.
In May, James and Lancman introduced a bill that would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to implement the technology on at least 100 vehicles in the city fleet as part of a one-year pilot program. A report on the program’s effectiveness would be issued six months after the pilot program ended. Collision avoidance technology notifies drivers of pedestrians, cyclists or other vehicles, and includes autonomous emergency braking, a forward collision warning sytem and camera systems.
James and Lancman cited companies such as Rosco, located at 90-21 144th Place in Lancman’s district, and Mobileye, whose headquarters is in Nevada.
“Innovative technology such as Rosco’s and Mobileye’s pedestrian avoidance system can help make our city’s streets safer and bring us that much closer to making our comprehensive ‘Vision Zero’ strategy a success,” Lancman said in a statement.The bill calls for the technology to be implemented in vehicles prone to pedestrian accidents, such as Department of Sanitation collection trucks and NYPD police vehicles.
The city operates more than 20,000 vehicles and has more than 85,000 drivers, according to James and Lancman.
In 2014, the city’s fleet was involved in 5,605 collisions, leading to 378 injuries, they said.
The technology reduces collisions by 60 percent and cuts down on forward collisions by 95 percent.
James pointed to streets such as Broadway in Manhattan, Queens Boulevard in Queens and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn where people are often at risk of being killed or seriously injured by a car.
“We must examine every possible avenue to reduce crashes, which is why we must examine and test collision avoidance technology that could help save lives and taxpayer money,” James said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour