Mr Kerman is the Deputy Commissioner of New York City’s (NYC’s) Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and its first Chief Fleet Officer. In that role, he is responsible for the largest municipal fleet in the United States with 30,000 vehicles, 80,000 fleet operators, and more than 2,000 employees engaged in fleet operations. Mr Kerman manages inter-agency shared fleet services in partnership with major fleet agencies including the Police, Fire, Sanitation, and Transportation departments. In addition to leading Mayor de Blasio’s “NYC Clean Fleet” initiative, Mr Kerman also heads fleet safety efforts which form part of the Mayor’s “Vision Zero” initiative to eliminate NYC traffic fatalities.
Trucks account for only 3% of the vehicles on the roads in NYC, but truck-involved collisions account for 12% of pedestrian fatalities and 32% of cyclist fatalities. Under Mr Kerman’s leadership, a comprehensive Safe Fleet Transition Plan was developed to make city-owned vehicles safer. As an example of their commitment to fleet safety, NYC has implemented the nation’s largest side guard programme where side guards have been installed on thousands of heavy vehicles the city owns. Side guards prevent pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists from moving under the bed of a truck or trailer and being run over in side-impact collisions. They will eventually be installed on every truck and waste management vehicle. In addition there are efforts to transition NYC’s fleet to vehicles which include high vision safety features, such as extended windows, lower-height truck cabs, and trucks with hoods that are easier to see over. Backup cameras, driver alerts, and autonomous and semi-autonomous forward collision-avoidance systems are all being considered as part of the Safe Fleet Transition Plan.
Thanks to the leadership of Mr Kerman and other Vision Zero leaders in NYC, traffic fatalities have dropped 34% since 2013 to the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1910. That is an accomplishment that many cities which are adapting the Vision Zero approach can aspire to achieve.