Eric Richardson delivered these words after accepting the 2023 Fleet Safety Award, on the 2023 Fleet Safety Conference, convened together with the Fleet Forward Conference in Santa Clara, California on Nov. 10. The award, presented by Automotive Fleet and sponsored by the American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA), is bestowed annually to a fleet or risk manager whose leadership and innovation have enhanced the protection of fleet drivers, their organizations, and the general public.
On behalf of NYC Mayor Eric Adams, our NYC Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Dawn Pinnock, and our Deputy Commissioner and NYC Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman, thanks for this award.
The award is being handed to me, but this honor belongs to all the DCAS Fleet team who works tirelessly towards making our fleet the safest within the nation.
Safety In Context
Before I share what we now have been working on in NYC, I need to take a moment to acknowledge those we now have lost on our roads. Within the US in 2022, 42,975 people were killed because of this of traffic crashes, including 7,500 pedestrians. This makes it the deadliest 12 months on the road since 2005. Every single day, 20 individuals who head outside for a walk find yourself killed by a moving vehicle.
These aren’t just numbers. They’re people. They’re our community: friends and neighbors, little kids, moms and dads, grandparents, and grandchildren.
Tragically, they are sometimes the youngest amongst us. Like 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein. Or nine-year-old Cooper Stock. And just two weeks ago, seven-year-old Kamari Hughes was killed on his walk to high school. They’re only three of the various children killed on our roads during the last 10 years.
This award is supposed to acknowledge achievements, but for me, it’s more about them. It’s about what actions we now have taken in response to and because of this of every tragic loss. And all that we still need to perform to make sure as a world community, we never again need to add a reputation to the list of traffic fatalities.
Here’s what we all know is working to make the Recent York City fleet and our roads safer:
Over the past six years, town has installed via retrofits or purchased OEM, over 83,000 vehicle safety systems which include automatic braking, pedestrian collision alerts, surround cameras, lane departure warnings, back up alarms, and telematics.
Once I first began in fleet operations, vehicle telematics were nothing like they’re today. Our first system back in 2014 was basic AVL and picked up just a couple of vehicle attributes with no live sharing of information.
Now, we now have over 28,000 vehicles from all city agencies and personal school buses connected with tens of 1000’s of information points per vehicle coming in live each day.
Using telematics with live alerts and reporting on unsafe driving behaviors, we now have been in a position to focus our safety efforts on the precise drivers and vehicles that contribute to high- or medium-risk driving.
This features a monthly safety scorecard which works out to 55 agency commissioners and the owners of each school bus company showing the categorization of every vehicle and the precise dangerous driving behaviors.
Our telematics system also provides a strong, comprehensive, and longer span of information on the subject of collisions so we are able to higher document the aspects that led to the collision.
In 2014, hardly anyone within the U.S. knew what a truck sideguard was, let alone had trucks of their fleet with them installed. In case you are unfamiliar with truck sideguards, see me later for an explainer.
Recent York City has modified the landscape of truck sideguards. We now have local laws that cover our city fleet, private waste haulers, and even those corporations with city contracts that use trucks to deliver goods and services.
Sideguards are actually also mandated or voluntarily installed on fleets in Boston, Chicago, Cambridge, Madison, and San Francisco.
Once we first installed them on our vehicles, there have been no manufacturers of sideguards within the U.S. Now there are six, and lots of truck manufacturers are doing them as a part of the vehicle construct.
Back in June of this 12 months, there was a Frontline piece about sideguards that featured our Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi that I encourage you to examine out.
We now have over 4,200 NYC-owned trucks with sideguards, tens of 1000’s on fleets across the country, and a national discussion on sideguard mandates on a federal scale. NYC is leading the sideguard way, we ask that you just follow our lead by closing the gap between the front and rear wheels of your trucks.
NYC can be addressing the visual impairment drivers face when operating a big truck. In lots of cases, drivers cannot see the bottom in front of them by 10, 15, and even 20 feet, which may result in disaster. Particularly as we electrify, trucks not need the massive straight hoods. The truth is, most may not need the hood in any respect.
We’ve got been working on addressing this for years and have finally began the means of acquiring trucks which can be specifically designed for prime vision.
For instance, our recent all-electric box truck could have a 70% improvement in direct vision over our current box truck. The difference between 11 feet of line-of-sight obstruction right down to below 3 feet can and can save lives and forestall serious injuries.
As such, government and industrial fleets should insist that trucks are manufactured in order that we’re maximizing the motive force’s direct vision. Join us in urging manufacturers to handle this need.
Since Vision Zero began in NYC, we now have required that each one authorized drivers of city fleet vehicles take a city-provided defensive driving class either in person or online.
Greater than 90,000 city employees have taken the category, and even with attrition, recent hires, and turnover of staff, currently 90% of all drivers are being trained.
That is along with the precise training provided by agencies on various kinds of trucks at Sanitation, DOT, DEP, Parks, and emergency services akin to NYPD and the Fire Department.
We’ve got also banned hands free phone use. Handheld cellular phone use is prohibited by state law, but we imagine it to be a distraction, not the physical act of holding or not holding a phone, that contributes to collisions. Did you realize that using a phone while driving, be it handheld or hands free, is like driving with a .05 BAC? Similar to banning drinking and driving, banning phone use behind the wheel saves lives.
Current Projects and Future Improvements
I need to share my excitement over two projects that we’re currently working on in our fleet vehicles:
We’re collaborating with Together for Safer Roads on a Truck of the Future program that brings together in-cab driver alerts, surround cameras and sensors, telematics, and external turning alerts for vulnerable road users, all tied into AI, in order that we don’t only track when collisions occur, but in addition have ways to discover and address “near misses.”
It’s the primary time that we now have various components of safety tied into one system to guage what works, and the balance between providing more tools for a driver and any added distraction. This project is now looking into how camera systems may be tied to the vehicles ability to maneuver or speed up when an object in front is detected. So not only a vehicle that can tell a driver something is in front of them, but a vehicle that won’t allow them to move if there’s.
The opposite project is our intelligent speed assistance pilot. Once I was here last 12 months, I spoke concerning the first 50 ISA (Intelligent Speed Assist) units that we had installed on city fleet vehicles.
I’m blissful to say that we’re expanding that program. And after over 750,000 miles driven by vehicles which have ISA installed, we all know that the technology works, and we’re seeing results. Of the vehicles with ISA, we now have seen a 99% compliance to the speed limit set on the vehicles and a 35% reduction in harsh braking.
We lose 1000’s of individuals on our roads annually because of speeding. Recent York City is proving that ISA is a viable safety solution for our public and industrial fleets.
Through our work and discussions with safety leaders, we all know that ISA is a tool that can even protect kids when using their parent’s vehicles. Remember when there used to be parental controls for cable TV? ISA may be parental control for cars.
That is why NYC submitted an application for federal funding through the Protected Streets for All program to implement ISA on all 7,500 light and medium duty vehicles within the NYC fleet.
We are going to lead by example find ways to let the vehicle control your speed on our roads.
Additionally it is why NYC Fleet is partnering with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on a best-practices guide on how one can educate the general public on ISA, and with America Walks and Families for Protected Streets on a Protected Fleets Challenge in search of 50 fleets to implement ISA pilots in 2024. In case you are eager about joining us, please find me later.
We imagine that our program of intelligent speed assist can move that technology much like how we now have moved the industry and fleet owners on sideguards.
In fact, any safety program have to be evaluated to make sure it’s effective. We imagine ours is.
The town fleet has seen an almost 30% decrease in preventable collisions within the last five years. We’ve got decreased excessive speeding by greater than 50%, and we now have improved seat belt compliance by city drivers.
Within the last 6 months, there was a 20% reduction within the variety of high and medium risk drivers. Our results are something to be pleased with. In accepting this award, I also want to acknowledge that there’s a rare group of individuals within the City of Recent York working together on road safety.
Our NYC Vision Zero Task Force, of which my agency was considered one of the founding members and on which I’ve had the pleasure of being for the last five years, is a beacon to others on how various stakeholders in each of the areas of the Protected System approach to road safety can collaborate, share best practices, and upon whom we are able to lean after we see people still dying on our roads.
Outreach and education, road redesign and bike lanes, automated enforcement, and monitoring health outcomes are all vital parts of improving road safety. And my motivation to maneuver fleets towards safer operations is rooted within the work all of us do together. The truth is, without delay as I give this speech the duty force is hosting their biweekly meeting – though most of us discuss with one another almost day by day.
As NASCAR fan, I am excited that our NYC fleet team will probably be working with driver Ross Chastain and the NY Governors Traffic Safety Committee to bring their seat belt awareness campaign to NYC in 2024.
Ross actually taped the announcement for this program for our Vision Zero Safety Forum last Thursday after which he won the massive race on Sunday.
Through technology, changes to vehicle design, outreach and education, Recent York City’s Fleet team is working to set the instance for municipal, industrial, and personal fleets across the country.
I hope you might be in a position to take away with you today something I’ve mentioned that you just may not be doing in your fleet operations, and you can implement it, because as skilled fleet operators we now have a special role in fleet safety.
We still have far more work to do. For Sammy… for Cooper… for Kamari.
This Article First Appeared At www.automotive-fleet.com