New Jersey could require cross-view mirrors

| 12/23/2002

Both houses of the New Jersey Legislature have approved a bill that requires backup mirrors or monitoring devices on most delivery trucks and vans.

To reduce the number of fatalities and injuries attributable to "backing accidents," SB377 requires either a convex-shaped, rear cross-view mirror or an electronic rear backup monitoring device on commercial delivery vans and trucks with a cube-style, walk-in cargo box up to 18 feet long. The mirror should be installed at the top left rear corner of the cargo box so the operator of the truck has an unobstructed view of the lower six feet of the entire rear width of the truck body. A rear cross-view mirror costs about $50, according to the bill.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates up to 130 of those killed each year in backing accidents are children. The Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee reported that Federal Express has experienced a 36 percent reduction in backing accidents since installing rear cross-view mirrors on its delivery vans.

Passed by both houses Nov. 18, the bill currently sits on Gov. James McGreevey's desk. The bill would take effect about four months after being signed by the governor.

--By Rene Tankersley, feature editor