SAINT-LAURENT, QC, May 8, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - At a news conference held today at the borough's Municipal Workshops, the mayor of Saint-Laurent and vice-president of the City of Montréal's executive committee, Alan DeSousa, presented the modifications made to the borough's fleet of heavy vehicles, modifications aimed at preventing pedestrians and cyclists from accidentally falling underneath the vehicles. Saint-Laurent thus becomes the borough in Montréal to equip its fleet with lateral protection devices.
This initiative falls within the framework of the Jessica Campaign, launched by the family of Jessica Holman-Price, a young Montréal woman who died in 2005 following an accident involving a snow-removal truck in Westmount. In her memory, the young woman's family started the campaign, one of whose goals is to improve road safety. The event was attended by Jeannette Holman-Price, Jessica's mother and founder of the Jessica Campaign, as well as by members of Saint-Laurent borough council and several borough employees and guests.
"Saint-Laurent supports the objectives of the Jessica Campaign because the borough is home to a large number of families," said the mayor of Saint-Laurent, Alan DeSousa. "Indeed, children aged 14 and under account for 18 percent of the borough's population. Touched by the call to action issued by Jessica's family, we asked our employees to look into improving the safety of the borough's fleet of heavy trucks. We would now like to encourage other governments and transportation organizations to assess the impact that heavy vehicles have on road safety and amend their regulations in consequence."
During the news conference, Mrs. Holman-Price paid an emotional tribute to her daughter and praised Saint-Laurent's initiative: "This news from Mayor DeSousa's office has both warmed and broken our hearts. Jessica loved attention, she was always beaming and shared her smile wherever she travelled, whether to Concordia or to Northern Ireland. She always thought of the people around her. Today, in her memory, we will celebrate the lives of those who will be saved by these proactive decisions taken by the Borough of Saint Laurent. Thank you, Saint-Laurent."
Richard Deschamps, vice-president of Montréal's executive committee, welcomed the initiative: "The City of Montréal and the Société d'assurance automobile du Québec are currently participating in a working group that the transportation ministry set up after a coroner's report was made public in December 2010. The working group is studying all issues surrounding visibility problems encountered by drivers of heavy vehicles. The borough's initiative, coupled with the eventual findings of the working group, will allow the City, in the very near future, to adopt a common and concerted position on how to improve the safety of pedestrians and other users of the road network with regard to heavy vehicles."
Saint-Laurent has some 33 vehicles that could be equipped with steel or aluminum side guards designed to comply with European standards. The devices cover the space between the vehicle's axles where tanks and other equipment are located. At present, side guards have been installed on 12 vehicles, several of which are used for snow-removal operations.
The team at the Division de la mécanique, des bâtiments et de l'éclairage des rues (engineering, building and street-lighting department) also had the original idea of installing storage containers—which can be used to carry equipment—to cover up the open space between wheels on certain models of trucks.
Between now and 2015, all borough vehicles will be outfitted with lateral protection devices (side guards or containers). In addition, the borough will include lateral-protection specifications in its purchase orders for heavy vehicles.
Image with caption: "The mayor of Saint-Laurent and vice-president of the City of Montréal's executive committee, Alan DeSousa, presented the modifications made to the borough's fleet of heavy vehicles to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in presence of Jeannette Holman-Price as well as members of Saint-Laurent borough council, employees and guests. (CNW Group/VILLE DE MONTREAL - ARRONDISSEMENT DE SAINT-LAURENT)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120508_C5415_PHOTO_EN_13335.jpg
Image with caption: "The mayor of Saint-Laurent and vice-president of the City of Montréal's executive committee, Alan DeSousa, and Jessica's mother and founder of the Jessica Campaign, Jeannette Holman-Price, are looking at the modifications made to the borough's fleet of heavy vehicles to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. (CNW Group/VILLE DE MONTREAL - ARRONDISSEMENT DE SAINT-LAURENT)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120508_C5415_PHOTO_EN_13333.jpg
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