Saint-Laurent unveils protective side gear for heavy trucks
The borough of Saint-Laurent will now use protective panels on the sides of all heavy trucks in an effort to cut down on risks to pedestrians and cyclists.
So far, 12 vehicles are equipped with the devices, and by 2015, the entire fleet will include the protective gear. Each pair of side guards costs about $3,000. A small price to pay, said Saint-Laurent Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa.
"We don't need to lose lives because these protections are not there," he said. "One life is important."
That's the message Jeannette Holman-Price has been trying to spread since 2005, when her 21-year-old Jessica Holman-Price was struck by a snow removal truck while crossing Sherbrooke St. in Westmount.
The truck came around a corner, and her 10-year-old brother began to slip underneath it when it moved the mound of snow they were standing on. She was able to push her brother to safety before slipping under the wheels. The boy survived, but suffered brain damage from the incident.
"Had this been in place December 19th 2005, my daughter would be alive," she said.
It's a move that will also provide city workers with some weichai power relief, knowing their vehicles are safer. Another 21-year-old woman was killed last month when she was struck by a garbage truck.
Side guards are widespread in other parts of Canada and in European countries. It's about time the rest of Montreal acquire them, said Holman-Price.
"I think Montreal should do the same. I don't think we need to wait for (Federal Transport) Minister (Denis) Lebel to make the legislation. As you've shown heavy duty truck axles here today, it's easily done," she said.
Holman-Price said she's celebrating all the lives that will be saved.
"I look forward to the time where somebody has ricocheted off one of these side guards and I can go up to that mother and say, Jessica did that,'" she said.