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Prevent Trucking Accidents: Know the Rules

The recent truck accident in Queens that tragically killed eight-year-old Noshat Nahian highlights the fact that operating a semi in New York City requires skill and is subject to city-specific rules.

For example, there are weight limits, parkway restrictions, low bridges and mirror requirements that a truck driver entering the city should never ignore. Details of these restrictions include:

  • Truck weights in NYC are limited to 80,000. Trucks over this weight must obtain overdimensional permits. Some bridges and overpasses may have lower weight limits.
  • Truck lengths cannot be more than 55 feet, bumper to bumper. Longer vehicles must have overdimensional permits. Truck trailers that are too long and that have loads that cannot be divided to fit into smaller trucks must apply for a permit.
  • Truck routes are complex and vary according to the length of the vehicle and what is being carried. Most commercial vehicles, including semi trucks, cannot travel on parkways within the city. Drivers must use official truck routes to get to the intersection nearest their destination.
  • Low bridges include elevated rail lines, tunnels, highway overpasses and ramps, buildings over highways, and other obstructions.
  • Cross-over mirrors are required in an effort to reduce fatal pedestrian trucking accidentsin the city, many of which are attributable to drivers of large trucks who cannot see directly in front of them. Any commercial vehicle, including semi-trucks, must have cross-over mirrors when the vehicles are registered in New York State and are operating within New York City. Having these mirrors allows a driver to see anything passing in front of the cab that is at least three feet high and one foot from the front of the vehicle.

The Department of Transportation has downloadable maps of low bridges and truck routes. It is a driver's responsibility to be informed of all local requirements when taking a truck into the five boroughs of New York.

Source: New York City Department of Transportation, "Trucks & Commercial Vehciles," n.d.