Less than six months after he took over the City of Bunnell’s solid waste department, Perry Mitrano was subbing for one of his drivers and came within inches of killing someone. It was an anguished, unforgettable moment. And it reaffirmed to Mitrano, his department, and the residents of Bunnell that their modest investment in a PRECO Electronics PreView® Radar System was worth much more than the cost of the equipment itself.
Despite OSHA regulations calling for back-up alarms on large commercial vehicles, people continue to be injured and, tragically killed when trucks are being driven in reverse. For Perry Mitrano, Director of Solid Waste for the City of Bunnell, Florida, this is not an abstract observation. While backing up his trash truck in a condominium parking lot one day, he nearly ran over an elderly man who had knelt down behind the truck’s massive rear wheels to retrieve his car keys.
Mitrano has been around large commercial vehicles most of his life. In fact, in 2012 he out-performed 450 other drivers to take first place in the Mack Truck Driving Skills contest at the annual WasteExpo conference. He knows his way around trucks. Even so, he says, if it wasn’t for the PRECO radar system on his truck, the outcome in the parking lot that day could have been very different.
“Backup cameras are wonderful. We use them and they help us avoid a lot of incidents,” Mitrano says. “But there is a zone between the bottom of the cameras and the ICC bar that I call the ‘bubble.’ It’s a blind spot where any objects that are lower than the bar don’t show up on your monitor. That’s where this gentleman was when the PRECO system picked him up and starting going off.”
Mitrano says that he and his team had previously tested the PreView Radar system by rolling car tires past the back of the truck to see if the radar picked them up. It did every time.
“It might sound like a silly test. But we’re out in the community all day long and we want to make sure we know instantly if anything lower than the bar passes behind us. That could be a kid on a tricycle or a dog or who knows what. We navigate our vehicles around a lot of people, cars and objects every day, so we need to stay very alert.”