Every year a large number of people, mostly vulnerable road users, are killed or severely injured in road traffic because of trucks turning right. In-depth crash investigation has shown that restricted driver vision to see pedestrians and bicycle riders is a factor in crashes with particularly high risks whilst manoeuvring or reversing. The European Commission estimates that around 500 deaths are caused annually on EU roads.
In 2003, the European Parliament and Council adopted Directive 2003/97/EC on rear view mirrors and supplementary indirect vision systems for motor vehicles. his directive aims to improve road user safety by upgrading the performance of rear view mirrors and accelerating the introduction of new technologies that increase the field of indirect vision for drivers of passenger cars, buses and lorries. The Directive was further amended Directive 2005/27/EC to extend the installation of wide angle mirrors to more vehicle types.
A legal obligation already exists in Belgium and the Netherlands for retrofitting existing trucks with blind spot mirrors or cameras. In its Road Safety Action Programme the European Commission announced that, in connection with the directive on blind spot mirrors for new vehicles, it would also assess the benefits and cost from a directive for the retrofitting of such systems to existing vehicles. This study has been finished. It estimates the benefits to be approximately four times higher than the costs for the retrofitting of lateral blind spot mirrors to existing heavy goods vehicles. See an update of European Union activity in this area.
Three side mirror types and a Fresnel lens, all designed to mitigate the right-side blind spot of a large truck, were viewable by demo attendees from the driver’s seat of a Boston DPW truck. (Volpe photo).