Side guard study scrapped, safety advocate upset

Apr 12, 2013 | TV Video Items

A St. John’s woman is upset that a federal government study into truck side guards has been scrapped.

Jeanette Holman-Price is convinced that side guards can save lives.

Holman-Price has been an advocate for better truck safety since the death of her daughter, Jessica, eight years ago. The 21-year-old was killed by a dump truck, on a Montreal street in the winter of 2005, while pushing her brother to safety.

Side guards are rails mounted between the front and rear wheels of big trucks, and are designed to stop a pedestrian or cyclist from sliding underneath the wheels.

The guards are mandatory in many countries, but not in Canada.

Holman-Price said people continue to die.

“People are dying because Transport Canada are not doing what they should be doing,” she said.

Transport Canada has quietly stopped doing research which shows side guards could possibly save lives.

Jessica Holman-Price died in Montreal in 2005. (CBC)

“Side guards save lives — and if they’re going to take these reports that they have and our tax dollars are paying for and they’re going to hide them — it’s tantamount to murder. They’re killing people,” said Holman-Price.

Meanwhile, the city of St. John’s has been convinced by her arguments.

Fleet Services Manager Richard Parks said the city has already added side guards to about 40 per cent of its trucks.

“After we got into it and investigated it more, it seemed to make a whole lot of sense for a small investment on every vehicle. It presents a considerable improved amount of protection,” said Parks.

Parks said the goal is to eventually have side guards on all trucks in the fleet.


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