IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 19, 2021
Mr. Blumenthal introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To amend title 23, United States Code, to improve the safety of children purchasing food items from frozen dessert trucks.
This Act may be cited as the
Reservation of funds to increase safety of frozen dessert truck patrons
Congress finds that—
in 2016, more than 20 percent of the 1,233 children killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians;
frozen dessert trucks present a very specific hazard for children;
in approaching, or departing from, a frozen dessert truck—
children may pay little attention to traffic; and
the truck may screen the children from driver visibility;
States and units of local government have issued ordinances to modify the behavior of drivers in the vicinity of frozen dessert trucks to reduce speeds and improve the safety of children approaching, or departing from, the trucks;
requiring drivers to come to a complete stop before passing a frozen dessert truck that is stopped to vend can reduce safety threats posed to children;
requiring frozen dessert trucks to be equipped with flashing signal lamps, a stop signal arm, a convex mirror, and a front crossing arm can reduce safety threats posed to children visiting the trucks; and
the Federal Government can play a role in reducing pedestrian injuries associated with frozen dessert truck operations.
National priority safety programs reservation of funds
Section 405 of title 23, United States Code, is amended—
in subsection (a)—
in paragraph (7), by striking
5 percent and inserting
in paragraph (8)—
through (7) and inserting
through (8); and
through (h) and inserting
by redesignating paragraphs (8) through (10) as paragraphs (9) through (11), respectively; and
by inserting after paragraph (7) the following:
Safety of frozen dessert truck patrons
In each fiscal year, 1 percent of the funds provided under this section shall be allocated among States that adopt and implement laws to increase the safety of frozen dessert truck patrons (as described in subsection (i)).
by adding at the end the following:
Safety of frozen dessert truck patrons
Definition of frozen dessert truck
In this subsection, the term frozen dessert truck means a motor vehicle in which 1 or more frozen desserts (within the meaning of part 135 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations)) are carried on the highway for purposes of retail sale from a door or window of the motor vehicle to an individual consumer at any location.
Subject to the requirements of this subsection, the Secretary shall award grants to States for the purpose of establishing and implementing laws (including regulations) that require frozen dessert trucks to be equipped as described in paragraph (3).
Frozen dessert truck equipment
For purposes of paragraph (2), a frozen dessert truck shall be equipped with each of the following:
1 or more signal lamps that—
at the same level; and
as high on the frozen dessert truck, and as widely spaced laterally, as is practicable;
are not less than 5, and not more than 7, inches in diameter; and
display 2 alternately flashing red lights visible at a distance of not less than 500 feet, to the front and rear of the frozen dessert truck, in normal sunlight on a straight, level highway.
Stop signal arm
A stop signal arm—
that can be extended horizontally from the left side of the frozen dessert truck;
the side nearest the frozen dessert truck of which shall be—
7.25 inches long; and
parallel to the side of the frozen dessert truck;
the side farthest from the frozen dessert truck of which shall be—
18 inches long; and
parallel to the side nearest the frozen dessert truck;
the 2 sides of which shall be 18 inches apart, creating a symmetrical, trapezoidal shape; and
the bottom of which shall be approximately 42 inches above the street;
the outside corners of which—
when extended, feature 2 alternately flashing red lights, each of which shall be—
not less than 3, and not more than 5, inches in diameter; and
visible at a distance of not less than 300 feet, to the front and rear of the frozen dessert truck, in normal sunlight on a straight, level highway; and
are rounded to conform to the shape of the lights described in item (aa); and
both sides of which shall feature—
a red, reflectorized background; and
a legend described in clause (ii).
Description of legend
A legend referred to in clause (i)(IV)(bb) is a legend in which—
STOP appears in 6-inch-high white letters, not to exceed 4 inches in length, in the middle of the stop signal arm;
above the word
STOP, the phrase
IF SAFE appears in 2-inch-high white letters, not to exceed 1.75 inches in length;
below the word
STOP, the phrase
THEN GO appears in 2-inch-high white letters, not to exceed 1.75 inches in length; and
the colors (including the colors of the background) conform to the requirements described in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways published by the Federal Highway Administration.
A convex mirror mounted on the front of the frozen dessert truck in a manner that ensures that the operator of the frozen dessert truck, when sitting in a normal operating seating position, is capable of seeing the area in front of the frozen dessert truck that, absent the mirror, would be obscured by the hood of the frozen dessert truck.
Front crossing arm
A front crossing arm—
attached to the front bumper of the frozen dessert truck; and
hinged from the right side of the frozen dessert truck;
the bottom of which shall be not less than 16, and not more than 20, inches above the street;
made of any durable material; and
covered with yellow or white reflective material; and
in conjunction with the stop signal arm described in subparagraph (B);
when extended outward in front of the frozen dessert truck, not less than 4, and not more than 6, feet parallel to the street; and
when retracted against the front of the frozen dessert truck, not past the width of the frozen dessert truck on the left side of the frozen dessert truck operator.
The allocation of grant funds to a State under this subsection for a fiscal year shall be in proportion to the apportionment of the State under section 402 for fiscal year 2009.
The Secretary shall conduct a study of—
the extent of pedestrian injuries and fatalities relating to frozen dessert trucks, including the percentage of those injuries and fatalities experienced by children;
potential countermeasures to modify the behavior of drivers in the vicinity of frozen dessert trucks to reduce speeds and improve safety when children approach the frozen dessert trucks; and
the feasibility of requiring operators of frozen dessert trucks not to stop or park the frozen dessert trucks to vend to a child in any location at which the child would be required to cross a highway to approach the frozen dessert truck.
Countermeasures for States
Based on the results of the study under subparagraph (A), the Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, shall issue guidance for State highway safety officers relating to methods of improving the safety of frozen dessert trucks and frozen dessert truck patrons.
The Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report describing the results of the study under subparagraph (A).