Side guards, other safety measures for snow trucks don't apply to Quebec's private contractors

Eleven years to the day after the death of Jessica Holman-Price in Westmount, another Montrealer was killed by a snow truck, renewing calls for stiffer safety measures to apply to all heavy vehicles.

Death of man in NDG comes 11 years to the day after Jessica Holman-Price was killed by snow truck in Westmount

The cost of installing truck side guards ranges from $1,000 to $4,000. The truck pictured here is in Halifax, N.S. (CBC)

Calls for additional mandatory safety measures to protect pedestrians from slipping under the wheels of snow-clearing vehicles were renewed in Montreal Monday after a man was killed by a truck in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood.

The fatal accident occurred 11 years to the day after the death of Jessica Holman-Price, who was 21 when she was crushed by a snow truck in Westmount.

In the years since then, side guards have been installed between the front and rear wheels of snow-removal trucks in the City of Montreal's fleet, as well as on trucks operated by Beaconsfield, Westmount and Dorval.

Saint-Laurent borough mayor Alan DeSousa, whose borough was the first to adopt side guards, said city fleets have the guards installed, but the regulations don't apply to private contractors' trucks.

The proportion of private trucks to city vehicles operating on city streets varies from municipality to municipality and from borough to borough, he said.

"Sometimes it can be 50-50," he said.

A pedestrian was killed after he was struck by a snow truck in the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough. (Radio-Canada)

The only way to compel private contractors to have the side guards installed on all their vehicles is if the provincial or federal government mandates it, he said.

Federal task force

A string of cyclist deaths this summer prompted federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to launch a task force to examine ways of preventing cyclist and pedestrian deaths by trucks.

The task force is examining the effectiveness of side guards, as well as other safety measures such as cameras, sensor systems and educational safety and awareness programs.

In Quebec, Transport Minister Laurent Lessard is set to examine ways of increasing truck safety as part of a series of public consultations in early 2017.

There are more than one million medium and heavy trucks in Canada. The cost of installing side guards ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 per vehicle.

'Side guards wouldn't have made a difference'

In the case of the fatal NDG collision, the wife of the owner of Transport E Racine, a trucking company based out of Laval, said the snow truck driver involved "never saw the pedestrian." 

"The windows were clean, the truck has good visibility, we think the person must have slipped," she said.

"The side guards would not have made a difference."