New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law Monday that requires convex mirrors, or "crossover mirrors," to be placed on the front of trucks being driven in New York City to eliminate blind spots directly in front of the truck.
A new state law requires crossover mirrors on many trucks in NYC.
A new state law requires crossover mirrors on many trucks in NYC.

Under the law, all large trucks registered in New York state with a maximum gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more are required to be equipped with a convex mirror on the front of the vehicle when driving in the Big Apple.

"Convex mirrors are an effective tool to protect pedestrians from accidents caused by blind spots," Cuomo said. "This law will allow truck operators to see pedestrians or objects directly in front of them and will offer new safety protections to many New Yorkers."

The law, which has been considered several times in the past decade, was given a boost in support this past May following the death of a toddler in Brooklyn. Four-year-old Moses Englander was struck by a delivery truck while riding his tricycle. Police said the driver did not see the boy, and he was not charged in the accident.

Not everyone, however, supports of the law. The New York State Motor Truck Association believes it will not actually increase safety.

Kendra Adams, executive director of NYSMTA, said the main problem with requiring trucks to have crossover mirrors is that the mirrors lose effectiveness when the vehicle is in motion. The majority of accidents involving trucks, she said, occur when the truck is moving forward. If a pedestrian steps in front of a moving vehicle, the mirror cannot help the situation.

A better solution, Adams suggested, would be to equip telephone poles throughout New York City with large, convex mirrors that will allow cars and trucks alike to see around corners.

There are other problems with the law as well. It only applies to vehicles registered in New York State, so vehicles from neighboring states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are not obliged to use the equipment. This leaves a substantial number of trucks without mirrors, according to Adams.

Finally, some out-of-city companies, such as truck rental companies, may find themselves installing mirrors essentially for no reason. If you are a renting operation in Buffalo, the argument goes, you cannot be sure if your vehicles will be driven in Manhattan, although it is unlikely. At around $120 per mirror including installation, the cost may add up for companies with large fleets.

Corrected 12:45 EDT 7/21/2011 to clarify weight ratings affected.