Father designs truck safety gear following daughter’s death
A Newfoundland-based engineer is doing more than just lobby municipalities to adopt sideguards on their heavy vehicles. Peter Price, whose daughter Jessica was killed by a dump truck on a snowy Montreal street in 2005, is designing the safety devices himself.
“We were at the roadside being interviewed, where Jessica met her fate, and at that point it seemed quite clear to me that there could have been guards and she would have been around today,” Price told CBC News.
Price and his wife, Jeanette Holman-Price, have become safety advocates, and have successfully lobbied the Newfoundland and Labrador government to adopt sideguards on new vehicles that it purchases, starting with 30 new snowplows being delivered next spring.
Price, a structural engineer who had been planning to retire at the time of his 21-year-old daughter’s death, has also been working on the guards, which he believes can prevent further tragedies.
“It’s just like a mini-cow catcher on the side of the truck. That’s all it is,” he said. Price continues to work in the oil industry, to help finance his wife’s campaign for mandatory regulations for snow-clearing equipment. His work on the sideguard has been done for free.
Adopted for hometown plows
Price, though, did not start on the design until his hometown of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s agreed to adopt them this winter. Sideguards of his design are now being fabricated at a metal shop in St. John’s.
Holman-Price said while she’s pleased the provincial government and one town council have joined the Jessica Campaign that she founded, she said the family’s work is far from over.
“Someone said, ‘Jeannette you’re done, you’re done … the underguard is out there. You’re finished,’ ” said Holman-Price, who has been campaigning for national standards for plows and similar equipment.
“But my work won’t be finished until I see a dent in an underguard, and it shows that it saved a life. When that is done, then my job on underguards is finished.”
St. John’s staff opposed
In the meantime, Holman-Price said she is hoping that the City of St. John’s will follow the provincial government’s lead, and install the sideguards on its own equipment.
Council has, to date, not adopted the safety devices, pointing to recommendations from city staff, who claim the sideguards interfere with their snowclearing equipment.
Trevor Taylor, Newfoundland and Labrador’s transportation minister, commended Holman-Price’s work earlier this month, when he announced government’s new policy.
“Her story touched me as I’m sure it touches all who have heard it. Her determination and ongoing effort to ensure some good comes of this tragedy is to be commended,” Taylor said at the time.