(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District of Columbia is now fully compliant with legislation requiring DC’s heavy-duty fleet be equipped with side-underrun prevention devices, or side guards. Side guards prevent people walking, biking, or driving motorcycles from falling between the wheels of a large vehicle during a collision. Ensuring heavy-duty vehicles do not threaten vulnerable travelers is part of Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by the year 2024.
District law requires side guards on all heavy-duty vehicles in DC’s fleet. By 2019, the requirement will apply to all private heavy-duty vehicles registered in the District as well. Using the new Vision Zero grant program, Mayor Bowser committed a portion of the revenue generated from photo-enforcement to retrofit District fleet vehicles that did not have side guards installed. A $156,000 grant to the Department of Public Works (DPW) allowed for side guard installation on the final 78 required vehicles in the District’s fleet. These vehicles were primarily six and ten-wheel dump trucks operated by the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Department of Public Works.
“Today, we can proudly say that all required heavy-duty vehicles the District Government operates are equipped with side guards,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are 100% compliant with our own rules to support Vision Zero, and we’re modeling the way for private sector operators.”
“DPW operates heavy-duty equipment 365 days a year to provide residents with trash and recycling collection, street cleaning, snow removal, and leaf collection,” explained DPW Director Christopher Shorter. “We’re very committed to the Mayor’s Vision Zero safety goals, and are pleased to report that all of our required fleet vehicles are equipped with these life-saving devices.”
Interim DDOT Director Jeff Marootian applauded the partnership between the two agencies, noting “DDOT cannot achieve Vision Zero in isolation. Partnering with sister agencies like the Department of Public Works to ensure our fleet is as safe as possible reflects the holistic approach of Vision Zero. Together we are pursuing Vision Zero from all angles.”
Vision Zero is a part of Mayor Bowser’s response to the US Department of Transportation’s Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets, which aims to improve pedestrian and bicycle transportation safety by showcasing effective local actions, empowering local leaders to take action, and promoting partnerships to advance pedestrian and bicycle safety.
DPW provides essential city services in two distinct program areas: environmental services/solid waste management and parking enforcement. Both contribute to making District streets and public spaces clean, safe, attractive and accessible for all residents, businesses, commuters and visitors.