“Little has been done at the nat’l level to educate drivers how to merge safely & efficiently” Why not?

Interesting read on the history and theories of merging and its impact on traffic bottlenecks. . . Recurring Traffic Bottlenecks: A Primer Focus on Low-Cost Operational Improvements

Including such things as:

  • What Exactly is a “Traffic Bottleneck”?
  • “Good News” and “Bad News” About Fixing Bottlenecks
  • Understanding Merging at Recurring Bottlenecks
  • The Difference in Merging for Recurring and Nonrecurring Conditions
  • Which is Best? “Early” or “Late” Merging?
  • What Instruction is Given to Motorists?
  • Early Attempts to Direct Motorists How to Merge
  • Merge Principles
  • Principle #1: “Go Slow to Go Fast”
  • Principle #2: Keep Sufficient Gaps
  • Principle #3: Zippering
  • Is Murphy Right? Does the Other Lane “Always Move Faster”?
  • Principles Put Into Practice: Variable Speed Limits and Speed Harmonization

“Excepting for some basic, generic instruction in states’ drivers manuals (“wait for a safe gap in traffic” – typ.) little has been done at the national level to educate drivers how to merge safely and efficiently, as compared to other national education efforts promoting seat belt compliance, school zone safety, traveler information, or pedestrian rights and practices. The perceived reason for this may simply be the expectation that there will always be drivers who feel they know best how and when to merge in a queue, irrespective of any instruction to the contrary.”

Sounds to me like a project which should be added to a National Vision Zero Action Plan.


Vehicle violence

Good read on the essential elements of Sweden’s Vision Zero strategy. US could learn & act.

If you think you know what Vision Zero is all about or if you’re not really sure what it is, check out this article whose author interviewed Matt-Ake Belin from Sweden:

What were the main barriers that had to be overcome in initially adopting Sweden’s Vision Zero strategy?

I would say that the main problems that we had in the beginning were not really political, they were more on the expert side. The largest resistance we got to the idea about Vision Zero was from those political economists that have built their whole career on cost-benefit analysis. For them it is very difficult to buy into “zero.” Because in their economic models, you have costs and benefits, and although they might not say it explicitly, the idea is that there is an optimum number of fatalities. A price that you have to pay for transport.

The problem is the whole transport sector is quite influenced by the whole utilitarianist mindset. Now we’re bringing in the idea that it’s not acceptable to be killed or seriously injured when you’re transporting. It’s more a civil-rights thing that you bring into the policy.

The other group that had trouble with Vision Zero was our friends, our expert friends. Because most of the people in the safety community had invested in the idea that safety work is about changing human behavior. Vision Zero says instead that people make mistakes, they have a certain tolerance for external violence, let’s create a system for the humans instead of trying to adjust the humans to the system.

Read more hereThe Swedish Approach to Road Safety: ‘The Accident Is Not the Major Problem’

And there you have it, folks. . . some of the stumbling blocks in our country’s approach to traffic/road/highway safety. And that is why I am adamant in my push for a major change in our rulemaking process, in fact in our entire approach to road safety. It is why I keep bugging the powers-that-be to do something about it. . . because they can.

And if they don’t heed my pleas, and people continue to die from vehicle violence which might have been prevented had they acted upon my petitions, then who should will hold responsible?

Lame Duck Actions Could Reverse the Tide of Highway Carnage


Please, Secretary Foxx, act now before it is too late for you to pave the way for genuine Vision Zero Rulemaking. Set my case before President Obama.

Pres. Obama, sign this Exec. Order–while you still can–to protect people from violent vehicle deaths!


Lame Duck Actions Could Reverse the Tide of Highway Carnage

Time is running out for the Obama administration to leave its mark. Lou Lombardo suggests that Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx could take a Lame Duck action on the controversy over truck driver Hours of Service.

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Crash victims and consumer groups ask for help of “Lame Duck” DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.


It may be too late, but it is nice to see the organization of grieving families raising their voices for safety to protect all of us from future harm.

Let’s help them.

Lou Lombardo

I say, Let Secretary Foxx, NHTSA Administrator Rosekind, and FMCSA Administrator Darling go one step further. Persuade President Obama to sign a far-reaching executive order to authorize DOT to do Vision Zero Rulemaking which would always give proper weight to human life & health over profit — unlike the current rulemaking activity on The Hill. And, perhaps more importantly, let them convince Obama to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to be an independent vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence.

Oh, I know. . . our newly-elected president could overturn those actions and wipe out the good they would do. But — were Trump to do such a thing — I would do my best to draw attention to such blatant disregard for the safety of the citizens of this country.

Imagine if this could be so. . .

If only

Who has the powerVehicle violence

Can you find Traffic Safety, Vehicle Violence, Crash Deaths, or anything like that listed as an issue on the White House website? https://www.whitehouse.gov/issuesWhat are we waiting for

Will we be faithful to make choices that value human life and health?

Lately, I have been thinking about trust and faith and whether one more impact of our truck crash was the gripping awareness of not being able to count on protection from vehicle violence. He is faithful and able to give us the wisdom and know-how to do something about it. But I know full well that the responsibility for making roads safer falls on all of us.

Are we willing to do our part? Will we be faithful to make choices that value human life and health? Where will our feet take us?

After a busy week writing and talking about traffic safety and being encouraged by some things and discouraged by others, it got down to, as always, just plain missing our girls who will never come back–no matter what we do to help others. So, I took some time to search for some video footage and created a new Youtube video of AnnaLeah and Mary dancing from 2005.

Being thankful for the joyful lives they lived. . .

Published on Dec 1, 2016

As He is faithful to us, may we be found faithful in His strength to be vessels of love and peace to those around us — having feet that follow after Him. . . trusting in His steadfast love.

“You Have Been Good” Twila Paris & “Find Us Faithful” Steve Green interpreted by Dance for Jesus, a dance team including AnnaLeah & Mary

Never forgotten

1a85etIrreversible tragediesNext 4 yearsTragic deaths

Tired Trucker RoundtableNegotiated Rulemaking

Roads Safer

Tug-of-War Continues: Letter to U.S. DOT Sec. Foxx on “Tired Trucker” provision in gov’t spending bill

Yet another example of the tug-of-war over truck driver Hours of Service and one of the many reasons why I want to organize a Tired Trucker Roundtable. . .
And why Vision Zero Rulemaking is so necessary!!!!
Safety advocates sent a letter to Secretary Foxx today:
Hang in there. I’ve found some people who are eager to help me organize the Tired Trucker Roundtable.  We hope to tackle this problem by bringing many interested parties together around the table to discuss and work toward resolution of this life & death problem.
Tired Trucker Roundtable

Truck Safety Coalition on FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule

Contact: Beth Weaver, beth_weaver@verizon.net




ARLINGTON, VA (December 2, 2016) – After years of unnecessary delays, we are pleased that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today published a final rule to establish the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This rule will greatly enhance safety on our roads as employers will be able to access information regarding the testing history of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers applying for jobs and identify drivers who have previously violated alcohol and drug tests.

CMV drivers who have violated drug and alcohol testing currently pose a major threat to everyone on the road, but under the longtime system of self-reporting many employers were unable to access this information to avoid hiring problem drivers. The establishment of this new drug and alcohol clearinghouse that requires employers to check current and prospective employees will be a significant step forward for safety.

Truck Safety Coalition volunteers have first-hand experience with the deadly outcomes that result from truck drivers operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  Too often, a history of repeated drug and alcohol violations is not unearthed until a catastrophic crash occurs and a comprehensive investigation ensues.  This will no longer be the case as employers in the industry can now preemptively promote safety by identifying and not hiring dangerous drivers.

Unsafe Trucks

“Corporate Auto Safety Standards & New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP)”

An important safety advocacy question is: What motivates manufacturers to improve safety in their products?

Lou Lombardo, who used to work for NHTSA has an interesting story to tell about the impact of crash testing vehicles. I’ll let him tell it. . .

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Present Day Story

Kudos to IIHS and NPR for an article on designs of vehicles by auto companies.

IIHS conducted a frontal crash test of two Nissan vehicles.  Watch video of the test of a Nissan vehicle designed to meet U.S. standards with airbags and a Nissan designed and built without airbags for sale in Mexico.  See
http://www.npr.org/sections/ goatsandsoda/2016/11/20/ 502346360/crash-test-dummies- show-the-difference-between- cars-in-mexico-and-u-s?utm_ source=npr_newsletter&utm_ medium=email&utm_content= 20161127&utm_campaign= bestofnpr&utm_term=nprnews
The NPR Goats and Sodas article notes:

“Nissan isn’t the only carmaker with different safety options for different markets. A 2017 Chevrolet Spark sold in the U.S. comes with 10 airbags. The same version sold in Mexico doesn’t come with any airbags, and like the Tsuru, it scored zero stars in crash tests.

Latin NCAP, along with its affiliate Global NCAP, has crash tested dozens of cars. Hyundai, Nissan, Renault, Suzuki, Datsun, Ford, Fiat, Kia, Volkswagen and others have all sold zero-star cars in middle- and low-income countries around the world. Many of the vehicles in question lack basic safety features that have been mandatory in the U.S. and European Union for almost two decades….
We reached out to Nissan for comment. A Nissan spokesman said the company was aware of the “car-to-car crash demonstration” test and noted: “Nissan vehicles meet or exceed safety regulations for the markets in which they are sold. The Tsuru has been one of the most popular subcompact vehicles in Mexico for more than three decades due to its affordability and its proven reliability. Nissan Mexico recently announced it will discontinue Tsuru production in May 2017.” He added that Nissan in Mexico has incorporated safety features in its current vehicle lineup.

When we asked GM about safety disparities, a spokesman told Goats & Soda that all of its cars will meet minimum safety standards by 2019, and that “front dual airbags and three-point seat belts in all seating positions [will be] standard” on eight models by 2018.”

Past Nissan NCAP Story

Years ago Nissan failed a NHTSA crash test and sent a couple of engineers to complain that we had not tested their car properly.  We reviewed the test and said that the test was performed properly.  They protested that we had not connected the shoulder belt properly by passing it through a small plastic positioning hook at the latch.  The Nissan engineers were not happy when we told them that we were not permitted under the test procedures to perform that additional step in the buckling up of the dummy. 

Weeks later the Nissan engineers returned showing that they had made modifications and how their new test results compared with all other manufacturers. They showed us a plot of crash test results from all manufacturers ranked from best to worst.  Then with great visible pride they pointed out their new results to be right in the middle.  Shocked, I blurted out “You aimed for and achieved mediocrity in safety?”

Past Honda NCAP Story

Evidence of the safety importance of NCAP tests were documented in a 1993 NHTSA Report to Congress.  See https://www. careforcrashvictims.com/ assets/ NCAPReporttoCongress1993.pdf

The origin of NCAP testing began at NHTSA under the leadership of Joan Claybrook during the late 1970’s.  At the time, Honda had launched the 1979 Civic.  In one of our first tests, the 1979 model Honda Civic failed.  The following year we crash tested the 1980 Honda Civic, and it too failed.  Honda then made several safety modifications beginning with the 1981 Civic model that resulted in passage of the crash tests in what was the new NCAP Program.

A decade later, I was managing a NHTSA program at the University of Miami studying crashes, injuries, treatments, and outcomes.  We had a serious crash involving a 1981 Civic where the driver surprisingly survived.  Knowing of the improvements made by Honda to the 1981 Honda Civic, we decided to investigate whether there was statistical evidence of life saving in the real world experience of vehicles with the safety improvements.

The 1993 NHTSA Report to Congress on NCAP has the safety story on the 1981 Honda Civic.  See pp. 79 – 82.

The Report describes physical changes in the 1981 Civic that had been made after the 1979 and 1980 Civics had failed the new NCAP tests. 

The crash test data of the 1981 safety improvements to reduce forces to the head and chest is shown Table 5.

Table 6 shows the real world results of the improvements in reducing the fatality rates by 42% based on 1982-1988 FARS Data.

This is a specific example of the importance of crash testing to stimulate safety features that result in significant reductions in fatalities.

Unfortunately, the NHTSA Report to Congress did not include that I was told, by Honda’s Chief Engineer, that the costs to Honda for these mechanical improvements amounted to about $13.60 per vehicle.

Lou Lombardo


Who has the power

Forever grateful

I am thankful for the new glasses which were given to me while in the hospital by a local eye care center as mine did not survive the crash. But I am also thankful that those can now be retired since I just got a new pair of glasses. I have graduated from bifocal lens with a line to continuous. Wow! What a difference that makes!dscf0557

And I am forever grateful that AnnaLeah and Mary had the gift of life — though it was cut short — and that they will live forever in His presence and we will be together again some day.

25 AnnaLeah Jesus Loves Me 052

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.

Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps. . . Psalm 137:1-2

gertie 587gertie 643 gertie 616 gertie 595

I will give Thee thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to Thee before the gods. I will bow down toward Thy holy temple, and give thanks to Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth; for Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name. On the day I called Thou didst answer me; Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul. . .

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me; Thou wilt stretch forth Thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Thy right hand will save me. The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Thy hands. Psalm 138: 1-3, 7-8


“NHTSA Guidelines Jeopardize Continued Market-Driven Innovations to Enhance Driver Safety” CTA

This is my knee-jerk reaction without time to thoroughly process what I just read. But I am puzzled by this author who is concerned about government overreach stifling market-driven innovations to enhance driver safety.

NHTSA Guidelines Jeopardize Continued Market-Driven Innovations to Enhance Driver Safety, Says CTA

I have to make sure that these people are at the Tired Trucker Roundtable which I hope to be organizing soon. They will certainly get an invitation and I can hardly wait to have some fruitful brainstorming sessions and lively discussions to come to agreement on the best and most effective ways to meet the most important goal: SAVE LIVES.

1a85etIrreversible tragedies

Government proposes “Driver Mode” for phones to prevent texting and driving

So, why aren’t we making a bigger dent in tragic crashes? America, we can do better than this!

Every time I hear about a new tragic crash or an ineffective attempt to strengthen safety rules and regulations, my own personal grief at the loss of my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), due to a preventable truck underride crash on May 4, 2013, wells up anew.

Take this for example:

Or the latest attempt by some legislators to get the government to do something about the problem of deadly seatback collapse: Lawmakers demand “immediate action” on unsafe car seats.

Unfortunately, I know all too well from experience that raising questions and demanding action are mostly a wasted effort and won’t bring about needed change in time to save countless lives from joining the rank of those gone too soon — when perhaps such tragedies could have been avoided.

In my opinion, we aren’t going to see much progress in many areas of traffic safety until we as a country take vehicle violence seriously. That is why I continue to call for for a more effective and united strategy:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal — make traffic safety a priority; Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of preventable death.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force — it is a multifaceted problem, not just a transportation issue.
  3. Adopt Vision Zero Rulemaking.
  4. Appoint an independent National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to serve as a vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence.
  5. Mobilize citizens to be part of the solution through a nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety community action groups.

Wake up, America! The Crash Death Clock is ticking away. . .

Mobilize citizens to be part of the solution in the Road to Zero crash deaths.

Roads Safer