Are Side-View Mirrors Going Away?

Are side-view mirrors going the way of running boards and rumble seats? If the buses of New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) are the harbingers, they are.

After examining accident statistics and maintenance costs for 2022, the authority says it is rolling out a pilot program that will see electronic mirrors take the place of traditional side-view mirrors.

Richard Davey, president of New York City Transit, announced the pilot program at the MTA board meeting on April 26, 2023. Davey said that after examining the data from 2022 and years prior, the authority found that 25% of all of its annual bus collisions involve a mirror. That translates to 1,800 mirror-involved collisions in 2022 alone.

“It sounds pretty simple, but when we did the deep dive, it’s the large mirrors you see on our buses that are hitting street poles, other cars and the dining structures in our rights of way,” he said. “It’s driving up our maintenance costs and it’s driving up our legal settlements.”

Davey also said that those maintenance cycles typically see buses lose two trips for each repair. So the agency has begun considering how to “harness technology and data to improve productivity” through the use of E-mirrors.

“E-mirrors, cameras and screens that would replace the mirrors, is something we’re looking at,” Davey said.

Additionally, Davey noted that the use of E-mirrors could serve to bolster the safety of MTA drivers. He says E-mirrors would provide “as good or better visibility to drivers.”

“This would also unlock our ability, we believe, to bring the full cockpit across the driver’s space in order to keep them fully secure and away from any assaults,” he said.

According to Davey, the program will be implemented in the coming months.

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