Monthly Archives: September 2014

Pay Attention, America! Help bring totally avoidable crashes to a stop!

gertie 2947

Please read this article written about the unfolding tragedy–which never seems to end–due to a truck/car crash in August 2010.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-30/death-on-highway-leaves-trucker-angry-at-widower-and-god.html

I did a chart showing the estimated number of deaths due to truck crashes, just since 1984, and the lives impacted–almost 500,000 people who had a curve ball thrown at them when they were not looking and many of them likely still not over it to this day.  Truck Crash Fatality Chart

I recently wrote about some of my own struggles in coping with a senseless tragedy:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=707717949310722&id=464993830249803 

In fact, I have taken advantage of facebook and our own memorial website to express what we have been going through. It has helped me immensely. I hope that it will help others.

Truck Driver Training Requirements Long Overdue

1 gertie 2782

Would AnnaLeah & Mary be here now to enjoy another beautiful autumn day. . . if the truck driver had been required to go through more rigorous and complete driver training before he got his CDL?

Yesterday, a number of safety groups announced that they are suing the federal government in an attempt to increase the requirements for obtaining a CDL. Read about it here: http://trucksafety.org/safety-advocates-teamsters-sue-u-s-dot-failing-issue-long-overdue-truck-driver-training-requirements/

“Congress initially told the agency to finish a rulemaking process on driver training by 1993, but the agency still has not done so.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency charged with issuing the rule. Public Citizen is representing the groups.”

Let’s stop dragging our feet. . . this is not rocket science (as Jerry likes to say)!

gertie 132

Update on Electronic Logging Devices

Washington DC 151
I emailed one of my contacts at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week to check on the progress of the Electronic Logging Device Rule (one of the 3 requests in the AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition). This was his reply:
Hello, Marianne,
We are analyzing more than 2,000 comments that were submitted to the ELD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking docket. After completing this review, we will determine if changes to the proposed rule are in order before a final rule is issued.
 
The ELD rule is our top priority, and our goal is to issue a final rule in 2015.
 
Thank you for checking in with us on the status of this rulemaking. . . .
 Bill Bronrott
(See Public Comments on the ELDs here:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=100;so=DESC;sb=docId;po=0;dct=PS;D=FMCSA-2010-0167 . Our AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety Petition is included at this site–one of the 2000+ comments.)

 

This was my reply:

Bill,

Thank you for getting back to me. I appreciate your taking the time to update me.

After what we have gone through in our case, with no log books ever being obtained from the truck driver — thus no way of determining his hours of service or possible fatigue, I am more convinced than ever that Electronic Logging Devices are essential.

Furthermore, I hope that, in the crafting of the final rule for ELDs, there are appropriate provisions included for consistent monitoring by means of this technology–for both preventive and investigative purposes. I urge you to put particular emphasis on including means for monitoring independent owner operators who might not have an employer looking over their shoulder. And don’t forget to do all in your power to train those in the enforcement and judicial systems to make full use of this technology.

Finally, I hope that this will be a beneficial technology which will be well-received and pave the way for other useful assistive devices, such as driver fatigue monitoring devices. For example, see this article,  http://www.academia.edu/4840350/A_Synopsis_Report_On_EYETRACKING_BASED_DRIVER_FATIGUE_MONITORING_AND_WARNING_SYSTEM_Submitted_By :

“The main idea behind this project is to develop a nonintrusive system which can detect fatigue of the driver and issue a timely warning.Since a large number of road accidents occur due to the driver drowsiness, this system will be helpful in preventing many accidents, and consequently save money and reduce personal suffering. This system will monitor the drivers eyes using a camera and by developing an algorithm we can detect symptoms of driver fatigue early enough to avoid an accident. So this project will be helpful in detecting driver fatigue in advance and will gave warning output in form of sound and seat belt vibration whose frequency will vary between 50 to 60 Hz. Moreover the warning will be deactivated manually rather than automatically. For this purpose a de-activation switch will be used to deactivate warning.

Moreover if driver feels drowsy there is possibility of sudden acceleration or deceleration. We can judge this by Plotting a graph in time domain.If all the three input variables show a possibility of fatigue at one moment then a Warning signal is given in form of text or red color circle. This will directly give an indication of drowsiness/fatigue which can be further used as record of driver performance.”

Thank you again for your part in improving safety on the roads. And I look forward to future updates, which I hope will give evidence of the priority you have indicated is being given to this needed improvement in truck safety.

Marianne

A Terrible Turmoil; An Unresolved Grief

Picture 667

I have been familiar, for many years now, with the concept of anger being a secondary emotion. Now I get to live it out in a new circumstance: being angry due to the frustrations of the inadequacies of the justice system, regulatory system, enforcement system, et cetera of the trucking industry.

The awareness that these problems are likely to go on and on, and be ignored and belittled and result in evermore senseless deaths, leads to a helpless rage. My daughters died…and why?

For those who do not understand my struggle to move through this grieving into a greater measure of peace, I hope that you never have a reason to get a better grasp of the complexities of this dilemma.

It is not that I do not have faith that they are in a better place; I know that they are. But I daily struggle with the thought that if only somebody had done something differently, then AnnaLeah and Mary would still be here.

And because there are so many, many things that somebody could have done something about along the way that could have resulted in a different outcome, I cannot seem to stop asking the question, “Why didn’t they?!” And, will they ever?

A terrible turmoil.  An unresolved grief.

We Rescue Jesus Saves 018

(Related post: http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/our-crash-was-not-an-accident/)

Justice: Up close and personal

gertie 2946

Have you ever had to struggle with the meaning of justice in your life? Up close and personal?

Who, if anyone, should be held accountable for the loss of innocent life? (I am thinking of not only this one case, but also of the 4,000 truck crash fatalities each year—on average—although not all the fault of the truck driver.) And what should be the consequences of their actions?

(I have addressed this issue to some extent in a previous post, “Our Crash Was Not An Accident”: http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/our-crash-was-not-an-accident/ .)

Pray for us to have wisdom and peace as we face this question and the opportunity to communicate to a judge by way of a Victim Impact Statement. May we plant seeds which will have far-reaching impact.

(Note: A plea offer has been made with a possible hearing in Georgia on September 22—which we plan to attend.)

“Give the king Thy judgments, O God,
And Thy righteousness to the king’s son.
May he judge Thy people with righteousness,
And Thine afflicted with justice.

He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And the lives of the needy he will save.
He will rescue their life from oppression and violence;
And their blood will be precious in his sight;…

And let them pray for him continually…”
Psalm 72:1-2, 13-15

IMG_4462