Our crash was not an accident.
There were many factors which contributed to our crash and to the fact that there were fatalities, including:
- There was a fatal crash two miles ahead of us two hours before our crash occurred. This had caused the traffic to back up.
- There had been nothing done, that I am aware of, to divert traffic or alert travelers that they would be coming up on this situation.
- Truck drivers have very long work weeks–partially a scheduling issue.
- Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to drive a lot of hours and miles due to their compensation system.
- Consumers want their products delivered yesterday.
- Enforcement of truck driving regulations, especially of Hours Of Service (HOS), as well as truck maintenance, is an issue–paper log books have not been considered reliable and, too often, violations are not identified until it is too late.
- Opposition, to needed changes in regulations, by the trucking industry leads to delays in, or prevention of, changes which could prevent crashes and/or save lives.
- Training for, and issuing of, CDLs is not always what it should be.
- Federal regulations for underride guards—partially due to misinformed opposition and lack of priority assigned to this needed change—have been inadequate for far too long.
- Despite evidence from crash test research and real-world crash analysis, trailer manufacturers continued to produce inadequate underride guards.
- The unsafe driving habits/decisions of the truck driver who hit us may well have determined the outcome of our road trip for AnnaLeah and Mary.
- Drowsy driving may have been a factor. DWF = Driving While Fatigued can impair driving as much or more than DUI. Yet, it does not receive the same consequence.
- Current laws, for the most part, do not include DWF in the category of a “reckless” action. Vehicular homicide (which is a misdemeanor) would only become 1st degree vehicular homicide (which is a felony) in Georgia, if the driver were also charged with one of the following:
- Reckless driving.
- Hit and run.
- Passing a school bus.
- Fleeing or eluding.
- (Not DWF).
- I’ve probably forgotten something or other. . .
- Oh, yes, I got out of bed that morning, climbed into the car, and got on the road. I stopped for lunch and left the restaurant five minutes too soon (or too late). Mary and AnnaLeah had come with me.
And who is taking responsibility for this crash (and thousands more like it every year)? How will this ever be addressed adequately to end this senseless slaughter of innocent victims in potentially preventable crashes?
Please wake up, America! After all, it could be you or someone you love that it happens to next. . . Let’s mandate a federal task force to address this widespread, complicated problem once and for all.