Pedestrians account for approximately 15 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). In fact, pedestrian fatalities have increased over the past two years by 22 percent and nine percent, respectively.
“This is the second year in a row that we have seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming,” says Richard Retting, author of GHSA’s 2016 annual Spotlight on Highway Safety report.
American Road Machinery (ARM), a heavy-duty equipment manufacturer of trucks and truck equipment, is an industry proponent of vehicle safety and has taken steps to support early adopters of Vision Zero Network’s (www.visionzeronetwork.com) mission of eliminating pedestrian deaths related to collisions with truck traffic in metropolitan areas. Vision Zero, a pedestrian safety initiative that began in Europe and has been gaining momentum in Canada, continues to expand awareness across major metropolitan areas throughout the United States.
To combat the rise in deaths associated with metropolitan pedestrian and cyclist collisions with truck traffic, ARM has engaged its engineers to develop ARMor Guard truck side guards to help prevent fatalities.
“We began working with leaders in New York City to develop durable, quality retrofit side guards that could be installed on any truck, and the effort has expanded to include Chicago now. We found that a one-size-fits-all guard is not conducive to driver efficiency. During winter months, drivers would find themselves literally out in the cold trying to remove standard panels in order to conduct daily operations, such as re-fueling or accessing a tool box. This was initially a cheaper, less desirable solution city officials were able to find, but they soon realized custom solutions would enable drivers to continue their jobs, reduce downtime, and maintain efficiency—while accomplishing the overall goal of protecting those on the ground who come in close contact with the trucks,” says ARM vice president, Nick Ballas.
WHAT IS ARMOR GUARD?
ARMor Guard Custom Side Guards are custom-engineered steel panels/guards fitted to the side area of trucks between the front and rear wheels. They reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists who may be walking or riding near the vehicles. ARMor Guard is designed with not only pedestrians and cyclists in mind, but also the trucks’ drivers. The retrofit allows routine access to standard truck operating features, such as tool boxes and fuel tanks, so drivers don’t have to worry about removing them in subzero winter weather conditions or summer heat. Since the guards are made based on the trucks’ specifications, for nearly any truck style—cement, snow, refuse, etc.—they are tested before being permanently fitted on the vehicles, so if modifications are required, they can be done prior to affixing.
The GHSA reports that as fuel prices remain low and motor traffic increases, people who travel by foot for health, transportation, economic, or environmental reasons, also increases. This fact, combined with distractions caused by the use of smartphones among drivers and those on foot, has had a significant impact on collisions.
The Volpe Center (www.volpe.dot.gov), a unique federal agency under the United States Department of Transportation, partners with public and private organizations to assess the needs of the transportation community, evaluate research, and develop initiatives to support the advancement of state-of-the-art fleet vehicle technologies, and inform decision- and policy-making through comprehensive analysis. Volpe has conducted extensive studies on large vehicle safety improvements and developed a voluntary federal side guard design standard, which serves as a guide for local municipalities interested in implementing side guard requirements for public safety.
ARMor Guard meets Volpe standards and is Vision Zero compliant. The customization and one-time installation eliminates extra steps associated with removal often found with other standard side guards.
WHAT IS VISION ZERO?
Vision Zero is a program based on the belief that no loss of life is acceptable and ARM agrees, which is why the company developed the side guards. Vision Zero brings together local leaders in health, traffic, engineering, police enforcement, policy, and advocacy to develop and share strategies to prevent deaths. The goal of Vision Zero and ARM is no fatalities.
As municipal efforts focused on pedestrian safety continue to grow across the United States, more cities are expected to become Vision Zero compliant.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
ARM designs and manufactures durable heavy truck equipment and upfit solutions for city streets, rural roads, and interstate highways. Find out more about ARMor Guard Side Guards, custom fitting, or general inquiries, visit www.toughequipment.com.