NYC Bans Hands-Free Devices for Its Fleet

New York City will bar the use of hands-free phone devices by city fleet operators, except for emergency responders.

New York City officials recently announced two safety measures for the city's fleet of more than 28,000 vehicles -- more life-saving truck side guards and a ban on hands-free phone devices except for emergencies. They also announced a new electric car initiative that will help the city's fleet achieve the goal of reducing municipal fleet emissions 50 percent by 2025.

"Once again, New York City is leading by example, this time introducing cutting-edge measures to boost safety and sustainability for the largest fleet in the nation," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "These progressive requirements will ensure that drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike will be safer on our streets, all while decreasing the city's carbon emissions footprint."

De Blasio was joined by Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo for the announcement during the City Fleet and Equipment Show in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

New York City will bar the use of hands-free phone devices by city fleet operators, except for emergency responders. New York State law currently prohibits vehicle operation while using a cell phone or texting but offers an exemption for the use of hands-free devices. Camilo's department has concluded that the use of hands-free devices can lead to equally dangerous levels of distraction, however.

The fleet has installed truck side guards on 370 trucks so far, with 650 installs to be completed by the end of FY2017, and has partnered with Action Carting and Fresh Direct to share the technology with those private companies. De Blasio announced in December 2015 the NYC Clean Fleet plan, which calls for the city to implement at least 2,000 electric cars. The first new orders for 225 electric fleet units are in place – including 185 new electric cars that are expected to be delivered by June 30, 2016. And in FY2017, all cars purchased by the city will be plug-in electric units, excluding emergency services.

"Climate change will continue to require smart actions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions," said Daniel Zarrilli, ‎New York City's senior director of Climate Policy and Programs. "That's why today's announcement of a cleaner, safer fleet is so critical to our OneNYC efforts and puts us on the path to having the largest municipal EV fleet in the country."

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