Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dear Truck Driver,

You may feel like our petition is targeting you because we are asking for the minimum levels of insurance required by truck drivers be increased, we are asking for Electronic Logging Devices to become the standard as soon as possible, and we are asking for improved underride guards to be put on trailers.

These things do make your life more difficult. We know that. However, they also help provide safety for everyone on the road including you and your family.

Increasing the insurance does cost you money. But when an accident happens, it costs a lot of money to cover all of the damages a large, heavy truck can inflict. Often times, the minimum insurance doesn’t begin to cover those damages and the burden of paying them can be left on other agencies (including taxpayers) or even on injured people and their families.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) make it impossible to work too many hours, and that decreases driver fatigue. We understand that making a living as a truck driver is difficult and this causes some to make changes to their logs in order to make a living for their families. But this is dangerous for all on the roads including the truckers, who decide that it is their best option for making money. While the ELD do cost money, they also make it a lot safer for everyone.

Underride guards don’t directly make a difference for your lives. But, by preventing cars from going under your trailer, it will save lives and prevent injuries.

We understand how it can feel like our petition is going after your livelihood. But, the truth of the matter is that the system needs to change so that you can make a living while still keeping the roads safe. It is important that the roads be safe for you, your loved ones, and ours.

We are asking people to support safety by signing our petition. We respect truck drivers, and we are grateful for the work that you do for us. But the roads need to be as safe as possible. And that will take us all working together to reach that very important goal.

The Karth Family

In memory of AnnaLeah (forever 17) & Mary (forever 13)

What We Are Asking For: Electronic Logging Devices

Our petition requests DOT Secretary Foxx to make significant progress on three truck safety issues. One of the issues has to do with electronic logging devices to log truck drivers’ hours of service on the road.

This is what we are asking for with regards to  Electronic Logging Devices:

  • Improve enforcement and reduce truck driver fatigue by immediately releasing the rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs), and by preventing exemptions to hours of service limits;

This is not a matter of passing legislation; it has already passed legislation. It is a matter of moving it through the administrative process as quickly as possible. (See this site for a summary of the process: http://eobr.com/eobr-news/eobr-mandate/eld-mandate-clears-omb/)

For further information about electronic logging devices and exemptions to hours of service, visit the Truck Safety Coalition’s website:  http://trucksafety.org/fmcsa-releases-proposals-electronic-logging-device-rule/

Status of DOT Rule on Electronic Logging Devices

Electronic Logging Devices have been mandated by legislation and the DOT rule requiring them has passed an important milestone. Here is a summary of its progress:

 “So, to break down the EOBR / ELD mandate process so far:

The road to the ELD mandate began when Congress passed MAP-21 in June 2012.

The president signed MAP-21 shortly thereafter, requiring the FMCSA to write a rule requiring use of electronic logging devices, or EOBRs, for all drivers that keep a Record Of Duty Status—about 3.1 million trucks and 3.4 million drivers today.

The FMCSA developed a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) that was sent to the Office of the Secretary, who approved it and sent it back to the FMCSA in July 2013.

From there, the rule moved over to OMB, where it cleared today, March 12, 2014.

The FMCSA will keep the rule for the next two weeks, eventually publishing the SNPRM for public comment.

A comment period will then take place, published as 60 days, giving anyone a chance to add their feedback.

The FMCSA will take those public comments and revise the rule, a process that can take between six and nine months.

According to these time frames, we can estimate a final rule to be published in the first calendar quarter of 2015.

Based on MAP-21 requirements, fleets will have two years to comply with these rules—meaning you will be required to implement an EOBR for an Electronic Logging Device by January 2017 at the latest.”

Taken from: http://eobr.com/eobr-news/eobr-mandate/eld-mandate-clears-omb/#more-849

We are thankful for the progress which DOT has made thus far with the Electronic Logging Device rule. However, we don’t want the process to drag out any longer than necessary. Lives are at stake!

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EOBR: Preventing Truck Driver Fatigue through use of Electronic Logging Devices

What is an EOBR? It is an electronic logging device, otherwise known as an Electronic On-Board Recorder. What is its purpose? To keep track of a truck driver’s hours of service on the road. The goal is to prevent driver fatigue by making sure that truck drivers get enough sleep and time off of the road.

The current system in place for recording drivers’ hours is a paper logbook. Too often, these are not even checked in the case of accidents because they can too easily be falsified.

“Regulatory requirements for EOBRs have been established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are covered in the FMCSA’s rule 395.15. It requires devices to automatically record a driver’s duty status and any changes in status, as well as the amount of time they operate the vehicle. If requested by law enforcement, drivers must be able to immediately deliver the required display information for the previous 7 days, plus the current day.”

Quoted from this website: http://eobr.com/what-is-an-eobr/

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The Best Possible Protection

Studies have been done which show that trucks, even if they are equipped with rear underride guards, do not pass all of the crash tests. In fact, out of 8 truck companies tested, only one passed all of the tests: http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr031413.html.

So, it may be a true statement, according to The American Trucking Association, “that many manufacturers are producing trucks with better than required safety underride guards.” http://myfox8.com/2013/08/13/families-push-for-tractor-trailer-regulations/ Nonetheless, the bottomline is that there are many trucks which are NOT equipped with the best possible protection, which means that someone somewhere sometime might crash with one of those trucks and not live to know it.

Why would there be resistance to providing the best possible protection? Is it money? Quite possibly… Yet, according to Manac President Charles Dutil, the Manac underride guard “doesn’t weigh 200 pounds more than anybody else’s; it doesn’t cost $200 more,” estimating the difference to be at most 20 pounds and $20.

“If trailer manufacturers can make guards that do a better job of protecting passenger vehicle occupants while also promising lower repair costs for their customers, that’s a win-win,” says David Zuby, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s chief research officer. http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4802.pdf

What I want most of all, in this situation, is to help reduce the number of families who open their mail to find a death certificate for a family member because of a preventable death…

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IIHS Report: http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4802.pdf

IIHS Videos: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-941654 ;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT3G-kcKN70&list=PL9F34CB1B15585ED6

Why Are We Writing About Truck Safety Advocacy?

Why are we writing about truck safety advocacy? Because we miss AnnaLeah and Mary so much and would like to help make sure that other families are not devastated the way we were.

According to the traffic crash report, on May 4, 2013, our Crown Victoria car was hit by one truck, spun around, hit again by that same truck, and then pushed backwards into the back of another truck. So the rear of our car went under the truck resulting in the deaths of AnnaLeah and Mary, who were in the back seat.

If the standards for underride guards for truck trailers had been strengthened and enforced, then AnnaLeah and Mary might have come home from the hospital with Caleb and me. Maybe not. And nothing will change our circumstances; we will never see them again in this life (so we wait eagerly for the life to come). But certainly, someone else could be spared this grief and untimely death–because we know there is a better design out there.

To get a better understanding of the inadequacy of the current federal regulations for underride guards, please watch these short videos:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-941654

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7358087n&tag=related%3Bphotovideo

Encouraging Words

It is so good to see how people are responding and signing our petition for truck safety. And it is encouraging to read all of the Comments on ThePetitionSite. People care. People are supporting our efforts to improve the safety of travelers on the roads. And, unfortunately, many people have seen the problems firsthand.

I hope to look back at this time in years to come and think: together we made a difference.

AnnaLeah, Mary at Muskegon

(Photo courtesy http://www.thekarths.com/)

How to Sign the Petition: Online or on Paper

We have provided multiple ways of signing and sharing our petition.

* SIGN online at this link: http://bit.ly/1gN3jQf

OR

* Do it at our website: http://annaleahmary.com/

OR

* Sign a paper petition: Print it. Sign it. Mail it. That’s it! http://annaleahmary.com/petition.pdf

Now that you have signed our petition, please share it. Email it. Facebook it. Twitter it. Print & Pass it. Do it.

Another way to share our story is to share this video. It tells the whole story of our loss & why we are asking for changes in truck safety. http://youtu.be/I-WQBEDpTVw

Thanks!

Sign Our Petition

SIGN OUR PETITION: Ask DOT To Protect Our Families

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     AnnaLeah & Mary were so full of life and had so much of it left to live when they were killed, at 17 & 13, in an accident involving 2 semi trucks on May 4, 2013. Their lives—like so many others—might have been spared if changes were made in truck safety regulations.

     On May 5, 2014, we will be driving to Washington, D.C. and delivering signed petitions, each one put in an individual envelope—purple (remembering AnnaLeah) and orange (remembering Mary), to the Department of Transportation.
     We will be letting Secretary Foxx know that he is receiving these petitions as a reminder of lives lost in truck-related crashes, and also of his statement, “I can promise you tangible progress within a short period of time,” which he made to the Truck Safety Coalition, when we met with him regarding vital truck safety issues on September 12, 2013.
     We are specifically asking Foxx to:
  1. Raise minimum levels of insurance required for truck drivers–which has not been done for over 30 years.

  2. Decrease driver fatigue and monitor their hours on the road with Electronic Logging Devices.

  3. Take needed steps to improve underride guards, which prevent vehicles from sliding under trucks–causing horrific injuries and tragic deaths.

Please sign and then share this petition! http://bit.ly/1gN3jQf

Show our government we want safe roads.

 
For more information on truck safety issues and to sign up for Truck Safety Coalition’s newsletters and updates, please visit the TSC website: http://trucksafety.org/