After tragic death in 2005, Westmount adds cameras to snow trucks in pilot project
Published Friday, December 14, 2012 9:59PM EST
MONTREAL—The death of a young woman in Westmount seven years ago has inspired a pilot project for snow removal trucks in the city, with cameras installed on one truck to help the driver see better.
When Robert Guerin drives his snow removal truck on the streets of Westmount, he knows he's now driving a safer vehicle. Sadly, the cameras are the direct result of the death of Jessica Holman-Price in 2005.
“I can stop inches away from you. I can see somebody on my left-hand side. I'm gonna stop. She's crossing the street,” said Guerin, as he drove his multi-tonne vehicle. “The road is clear so now I can back up again.”
The increased visibility is thanks to two small cameras, one installed on the back of the truck and the other on the right-hand side.
“It's very hard for the driver to see the right-hand side of the vehicle,” said Guerin, demonstrating his limited view. “That's where most of the major accidents are—on the right-hand side.”
Holman-Price became one of those accident victims when the 21-year-old slipped under the wheels of a snow removal truck at the intersection of Strathcona Ave. and Sherbrooke St.
She was trying to protect her little brother as the truck rounded the corner. He survived, but suffered serious brain damage.
“He's at home learning how to re-tie his shoe because at 17 he still has challenges and he'll have them for the rest of his life,” said his mother, Jeannette Holman-Price.
By adding cameras to trucks equipped with new guardrails—designed to stop people from slipping under the trucks—the City of Westmount is hoping to make their vehicles safer.
For now, the cameras are just on one of ten snow removal trucks in Westmount.
“We have to see how it performs in the snow, in freezing rain, in major snowstorms, to see how the visibility of the cameras works out. If everything is good, we'll continue with the other trucks,” said
For Jessica's mother, the pilot project is bittersweet.
“It's almost beautiful, knowing that another Jessica is not going to be hit. Had those cameras been in place at the time my daughter would probably be here today,” said Holman-Price.
The changes and the lives that can be saved give her some comfort. Next Wednesday marks the seventh anniversary of her daughter's death.