Pols seek high-tech devices on city vehicles to help avoid accidents

Photo courtesy of the office of Rory Lancman

Councilman Rory Lancman and Public Advocate Letitia James called for the implementation of collision avoidance technology in city vehicles and showcased the technology in a retrofitted MTA bus.

Collision avoidance technology acts as a bionic eye to alert drivers of impending danger including other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Lancman and James indicated that the technology has demonstrated an ability to increase safety by reducing overall collisions by 60 percent.

Moreover, the elected officials called for local companies such as Rosco Vision Systems of Jamaica, which is headquartered in Lancman’s area in District 24, to help develop the technology for citywide use.

The legislation calls on the city to implement the technology in the vehicles that are most often involved in pedestrian accidents, such as Department of Sanitation collection trucks and NYPD police vehicles.

“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.

James charged that every possible avenue must be examined to reduce crashes, to save not only lives but also taxpayer money.

“From Broadway to Queens Boulevard to Atlantic Avenue, everyday New Yorkers are still at too high a risk of being killed or seriously injured by a motor vehicle,” she said. “Every year, there are thousands of collisions involving city drivers that end up costing lives and millions of dollars.”

New York City currently operates more than 28,000 vehicles and employs 85,000 drivers. In 2014, the city’s fleet was involved in 5,605 collisions, leading to 378 injuries. Over the past eight years there have been 1,200 personal injury claims against the city including 22 pedestrian deaths, costing the city more than $88 million in settlements and judgements.

“Collision avoidance technology is an important part of the Vision Zero effort to end traffic deaths and serious injuries,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “We thank Public Advocate James and Council member Rory Lancman for working to retrofit city vehicles with these lifesaving devices, which will ensure that New York City is leading the way on traffic safety.”


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