Monthly Archives: January 2015

Report from Volpe National Transportation Systems Center: “Side Guards Save Lives; A Success Story”

January 26, 2015:

Listen to Volpe engineer Alex Epstein describe how the implementation of side guards is becoming  more accepted as a safety feature on large trucks.

Note: From the Federal Register on 7/10/14, in response to the AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition

“By initiating rulemaking to consider enhancing related safety standards, this notice grants the part of the petition for rulemaking submitted by Ms. Marianne Karth and the Truck Safety Coalition (Petitioners) requesting that the agency improve the safety of rear impact (underride) guards on trailers and single unit trucks . . . NHTSA is still evaluating the Petitioners’ request to improve side guards and front override guards and will issue a separate decision on those aspects of the petition at a later date.”…/federal-motor-vehicle…

If you watch the video in the Volpe link above, note Epstein’s comment at the end about NHTSA and “a statement we heard this summer that they might consider side guards.”

underride guards trip to RDU 005

(Photo of a truck on 64 West toward Raleigh, Susanna Karth)

Truck Crashes: Who Pays The Price?


Just saw an article about a state trooper who was injured in a truck crash. He is pushing for a stiffer charge against the trucker. Finding resistance to his attempt. . .

Imagine that.

In a related link, it is clear that attempts to hold trucking companies responsible for the actions of their drivers also too often fall short. Who pays the price?

Unless things change in a major way, there will continue to be countless, similar cases where enforcement is compromised and accountability is absent. I have addressed the issue of justice previously:

Could Electronic Traffic Message Signs Have Saved My Daughters From Tragic Death?


We think that our crash might have been prevented if there had been road signs indicating traffic delay due to the previous accident two miles ahead.

In our travels to and from our meetings in Georgia to meet with the District Attorney, Georgia State Patrol, and for the plea bargain hearing of the truck driver, we noticed electronic road signs above or on the side of the highway in other areas of Georgia–although none anywhere near our crash site.

Recently, I noticed portable signs by the roadside on I-64 in North Carolina which were marked with the website So I went to that website today and was referred to this website for traffic safety and law enforcement Variable Message Signs:

Could one of these signs have been utilized on I-20 to alert drivers to the accident which had happened two hours earlier two miles ahead of our crash site? Might the truck driver have been better prepared for the traffic slowdown and not crashed into our car sending AnnaLeah and Mary to their tragic deaths?

What will it take for states to make it a priority to protect travelers on the road in this way?

Before & After PhotosIMG_20140508_114515_341

The Trucking Alliance Speaks Out on Hours of Service Rules

Washington DC 151Washington DC 156

The Trucking Alliance, in October 2014, made a statement about truck drivers’ hours of service rules which included the following: 

“The stark reality is that until there’s a way to verify industry compliance it doesn’t matter what the federal government’s hours of service rules are for truck drivers, because truck drivers can simply ignore these federal rules. *

They can choose to drive as many hours as they want to drive, and they do every day, because truck drivers are only required to fill out a paper logbook, writing down their driving time, and paper logbooks are easily falsified.

Enforcement of these federal hours of service rules relies on state commercial vehicle safety agencies to conduct roadside reviews and audits. While these agencies perform well, they are largely underfunded and undermanned to assure the public that truck drivers are obeying the law.

So nobody really knows who is and who is not following these federal hours of service rules because paper logbooks easily allow truck drivers to exceed their maximum number of hours behind the wheel.

That’s why the Alliance prefers a deliberate process in which a 2012 congressional mandate is accelerated to require electronic logging devices in all commercial trucks.Congress actually passed this legislation in its last transportation reauthorization bill, called MAP-21, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is almost two years behind schedule in implementing this critically important law, a measure that will truly improve highway safety. Every effort should be made to urge the Department of Transportation to accelerate the timeframe for implementing the electronic logging device law, sooner than later.

These electronic logging devices will record driving data that won’t lie. Technology will assure compliance with current rules and also provide objective data to determine how many hours of driving time for truck drivers should be allowed.

Additionally, the Alliance believes that other safety measures can do as much to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial truck drivers and motorists as these hours of service rules. For example, we support another congressional mandate passed in 2012 – to create a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse, which will help identify people who have previously tested positive on a drug and alcohol exam to become a truck driver, as well as related legislation now pending before Congress that will recognize even more effective methods to identify lifestyle drug abusers and keep them out of trucks.

The Alliance also supports speed governors on commercial trucks, an increase in the minimum insurance level for trucking companies and incentives to adopt other commercial safety technologies to reduce accidents on our nation’s highways. These measures will help ensure fewer accidents and safer highways for all Americans.”

Lane Chandler Kidd, Managing Director

October 16, 2014

* We addressed these issues as they related to our crash in a previous post:

Also, here is an update on Electronic Logging Devices from September 2014: