Monthly Archives: March 2015

Real Pain, Real Peace

I have put off writing this because, as much as I feel the need to write it, I don’t know if I can truly put into words what it is that I want to say. I’ll start off by saying that this will be a conglomeration of thoughts which have probably been swirling around ever since the crash.

Real pain. Real peace. Has that been the struggle going on inside of me ever since I found myself in the hospital faced with the fear and then the verified, unthinkable news that tragedy had struck our family?

Well, certainly I have known real pain. Comes and goes–mostly comes, and at unexpected moments. Like finding a DVD cover which fell out of a cabinet and being struck with the memory of the day when we were at a Goodwill store–in Rochester, Minnesota, I think. While I looked at clothes and AnnaLeah looked at books, Mary looked at DVDs and found that delightful movie, Follow Me, Boys! While it was a good and pleasant memory, and I’m so very glad that I have it, at that moment it stirred up pain in me.

Follow Me Boys cover

The other day, Vanessa asked me (out of the blue), “Does pain fix sadness?

Me: “Well. . .?”

Vanessa: Runs off to play. . .

I don’t know. Will the pain which I am going through eventually “fix” my sadness? Is the pain a process–or at least a signal or indication that a process of healing is taking place? If I were not feeling the pain, would it be harder to complete that process? Will the pain ever lessen?

I have also known real peace in this season. It also comes and goes–seeming elusive. Comes mostly when I am focused on the promises of God–in word or song–like the song I sang at their funeral, In Christ Alone. I really believed it then and I believe it now. It just seems in stiff competition with the real pain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLy8ksqGf9w

Read a book the other day–a novel by Lisa McKay. One paragraph jumped out at me. It was an apt description of this very dilemma, maybe not perfect and I have not totally wrapped my mind around it, but I wanted to share it. The book’s characters had just sung It Is Well With My Soul.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHe_qmo3gX4

“I remembered that the writer of the hymn had penned this just after his four daughters had been confirmed drowned after their ship went down. I breathed deeply against the now-familiar tight ache in my agony. The hymn writer, Spafford, and his children, Mani and his parents. Real pain and real peace. It felt like trying to marry two mental magnets; the closer I tried to push them together, the harder they resisted my pressure.

   (p. 166, My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay)
 

Then today, while Vanessa was resting and recovering from a tummy ache, I put another DVD on for her to watch–another one that Mary had found at a Goodwill store: Veggie Tales, How to Draw.

Vanessa (5) loves arts & crafts and, like I had discovered when I had followed its instructions some time ago, it is quite good at helping even novice artists to make a pretty good replica of the Veggie Tales characters. So I was pleased to see her engaged in the process:

Vanessa's Madame Blueberry drawing Veggie Tales How to Draw DVD cover

Vanessa’s Drawing of Madame Blueberry 3/28/15

Previous Post of Mary’s Veggie Tale Drawings: http://tinyurl.com/q8qbuqn

Real pain that Mary and AnnaLeah are not here to draw with Vanessa and that they are only a memory–nevermore to be in this earthly life.

Real peace that they were a part of our lives, that they touch our lives even now, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have promised to be with me until I can one day see AnnaLeah and Mary again. In His presence. Joy Unspeakable.

AnnaLeah and Marybraids and giraffe 011

getting farther away patch of blue

Too Often, Too Little, Too Late; A Conspiracy of Silence

AnnaLeah and MaryIMG_20140508_114515_341

What would account for the fact that–Too Often–we humans tend to ignore dangers that lurk in the background waiting to take a life? What is it that causes us to do Too Little to prevent injury or death? Why does it take a death to wake us up and stir us up to try and do better–all Too Late for Someone?

Years ago, I worked with someone who became my friend. After a time, she had a baby who quickly became her new primary focus. I’ll call the baby Joy because she was her mama’s joy.

18 month project report

“Joy” at 18 months, 1983 (?)

We more-or-less kept in touch with Christmas cards, until one Christmas–16 years later–our former boss included a news article with her card to me: Joy had been killed when the car she was riding in was hit by a train.

Of course, my friend was devastated and despite my attempts to reach out to her, I have never heard from her again. I assumed that it was just too hard for her–knowing that I was the happy mother of nine living children.

Fast forward to 2013, when I, too, experienced the awful devastation of losing a child [make that two] to an unexpected, horrific, potentially-preventable, premature death due to a car crash [this time hit by a truck]. Now I understood what my friend had faced.

Just recently, I tried to reach out to her again–to no avail–after I ran across the news article and the picture of baby “Joy” when going through boxes at our home. I re-read the details of the crash and discovered that there had been no flashers or guard at the fateful railroad crossing–less than a mile from her high school.

As a bereaved-mom-become-safety-advocate, I wanted to know if something had been done to improve safety at the site of that crash 34 years ago. I was encouraged to find out, from the township responsible for that section of roads, that they had bypassed the option of flashers and guards and immediately closed off that particular dirt road where it crossed the tracks.

A good move. Chances are it saved someone. But it was Too Late for Joy.

Why does it Too Often take a death to wake us up to the dangers that were there all along? I will share more thoughts on that later. But it seems to me that the basic problem is that we all–all Too Often–don’t face up to the reality of death, including our own, those close to us or those around us–at least not in a way that would cause us to change anything substantially to be more vigilant, to look through the lens of alertness for danger.

Death, we whisper in our unconscious mind, won’t touch us and, on top of that, what we do won’t affect anyone else. At the same time–almost in the same breath–we do acknowledge the inevitability of death to the extent that we all Too Often develop a callous attitude. Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.

So then, talk of “safety” can easily become lip service and OTHER THINGS take precedence in our time, money, and focus. And if anything is done in the name of safety, it is Too Often Too Little to be much good–and the cost is certainly not justifiable when it  will only impact a small percentage of people anyway.

Does this have to be so? Is this the way we really want it to be: A world filled with grieving people, hearts broken more than they should be by the frustration of knowing that–just maybe–it could have been prevented?

(This is not about making people feel guilty or bitterness & unforgiveness but circumspectly planning ahead and taking responsible action.)

This, of course, is complicated by the many factors and people involved. As a result, it becomes all too easy to look the other way, to point the finger of blame at someone else, or to have on blinders which prevent each one from seeing their part in the process which needs to involve us all.

Consider this a Wake Up Call. I hope that this startles you into self-examination and leads to fruitful action. I hope so because I know the unending pain of loss and the nagging sense that my two daughters, AnnaLeah (forever 17) and Mary (forever 13), really had a whole lot of living left undone.

My faith in the God who loves me, and my knowledge that AnnaLeah and Mary had the gift of faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, keeps me enfolded in the comfort of His peace and the anticipation of our one-day-joyful Reunion. But it does not convince me to embrace a laissez-faire attitude about safety.

The day before their funeral, I was reading Psalm 91 and questioning, with my newly-broken heart, how God could say His angels would guard them from evil. In my mind, this had not occurred. Well, did it? (Note: I know that He cares for them by bringing them into His eternal presence.)

I accept that He is a sovereign God. But I also know that He allows sin in this world and sin leads to death and destruction. I don’t think that He caused the crash, but I know that He did not stop it or any of its horrific details.

I also believe that He says that He will make it work together for good. So I watch as that enfolds now and in the life to come. Yet, I can’t help but imagine what it would have been like had “sin” and carelessness and thoughtless decisions and who-knows-what-else had not intervened–saving God the trouble of His redeeming handiwork after their untimely deaths.

Sometime after the crash, we began attending a new church–one which has a frequent practice of reciting Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer in Sunday morning services:

“I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen”

https://historictrinity.org/commonprayers.html Hear the prayer as a song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AZ6g94hmnc or  https://vimeo.com/9651771 or https://soundcloud.com/kevinbueltmann/morning-prayer-song

I have a hard time saying those words because they remind me that He did not keep AnnaLeah and Mary from all harm and danger and that it seems to me that the evil foe did have power over them. I usually say to myself, “What was Luther thinking when he wrote those words?!”

So, the other day when I ran across a book in our collection, Luther & His Katie–a biography of Martin Luther and his wife, Katie–I read with a great deal of interest the description of Luther’s reaction to the death of his loved ones.

http://www.amazon.com/Luther-His-Katie-Maccuish-Dolina/dp/0906731348

After losing his 8 month-old second child to illness,

“Luther wrote, ‘My little daughter Elizabeth has been taken away from me, leaving me strangely sick at heart, almost like a woman so deeply am I grieved. I would never have believed that a father’s heart could be so tender towards his children.’

“Katie [his wife] was inconsolable and it took her a long time to get over the loss.” (p. 52) Later the author records Luther’s reaction to the death from illness of his 13 year-old daughter, Magdalena: “‘Oh God,’ Luther prayed, ‘I love her dearly but Thy will be done.’ And turning to her, ‘Magdalena, my little girl, you would like to stay with your father here and you would as gladly go to your Father in heaven?’ “‘Yes, dearest father, as God wills.’

“And Luther grieved that though God had blessed him as no bishop had been blessed in a 1000 years, yet he could not find it in his heart to give God thanks. . . .

“As the end drew near Luther fell on his knees at her bedside praying with tears that God would receive his dear one while Katie stood at the far side of the room unable to watch her child as she died in her father’s arms. Then he turned to console the weeping mother.

“‘Dearest Katie, let us think of the home our daughter has gone to, there she is happy and at peace.’ “When she was laid in her coffin he said, ‘My darling Lenchen, you will rise and shine like the stars and the sun. How strange to know that she is at peace and all is well and yet to be sorrowful!’, and to his friends who came to weep with them,

“‘Let us not be sad. I have sent a saint to heaven. If mine could be like hers, I would gladly welcome death at this very hour.’ “She was buried beside her sister Elizabeth in the churchyard and Luther wrote an epitaph,

Here I, Magdalena, Doctor Luther’s little maid

Resting with the saints, Sleep in my narrow bed

I was a child of death, For I was born in sin

But now I live, redeemed Lord Christ, By the blood You shed for me.

“She died shortly after 9 o’clock on the 10th of September and three days later the heartbroken father wrote to Justus Jonas. . . “‘I expect you have heard that my beloved Magdalena has been born again into Christ’s everlasting kingdom. Although my wife and I ought to rejoice because of her happy end, yet such is the strength of natural affection that we cannot think of it without sobs and groans which tear the heart apart.

“‘The memory of her face, her words, her expression, in life and in death–everything about our most obedient and loving daughter lingers in our hearts so that even the death of Christ (and what are all deaths compared to His?) is almost powerless to lift our minds above our loss. “‘So would you give thanks to God in our stead? For hasn’t He honored us greatly in glorifying our child? You know how gentle and sweet she was, how altogether lovely.

“‘Christ be praised who chose her and called her and has now glorified her. I pray God that I and all of us may have such a death, yes and such a life.’

“Luther himself never got over Magdalena’s death. His health deteriorated and he began to regard himself, prematurely perhaps, as an ‘old exhausted man.'” (pp. 66-69)

Somehow, reading about Luther’s reaction to the loss of two daughters made me feel better about my own.

How interesting that, as I contemplated the prevailing attitude of avoidance of death and dying–especially as it relates to safety initiatives, I received the latest issue of a quarterly newsletter which we have been getting for years. The topic: “Biblical Truths About Death and Dying (Part I, Prepare to Meet Your God. Are You Ready?)” by Rodney Lensch.

There is much which I could quote from his essay on the topic, but let me narrow it down to a few thoughts. We are all going to die–one way or another. There is a time to be born and a time to die. Ecclesiastes 2:7

Rod describes the deaths of some of the people he has known and refers to them as,

“. . . a reminder that death comes to believers in [varied and sometimes] surprising ways. Therefore we must be ready at all times, day or night. At the same time we need to claim the promises of long life and responsibly serve God and our neighbor with an eye on heaven as Paul instructs us. We are of good courage, and would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. (2 Corinthians 8:9)”

He also cites sin as the root cause of death as, “Jesus is the only antidote for the problem of sin and death. That being true, let us repent and accept Jesus today and be ready whenever death may knock at our door.”

I will be eternally grateful that Mary and AnnaLeah were ready when death knocked at their door on a day when they did not suspect it. I am comforted by a letter we found after their funeral which Mary had written to herself (meant to be read ten years later) a few weeks before our crash. One of the things she said–and which I will never forget–was that she hoped that she was living every day as if it were her last.

The Bible says that, Death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.(Ecclesiastes 7:2) Why is it that Too Often we do not do so? Why do we live and think and act as if we were invincible and invulnerable?

According to Rod Lensch, “One good explanation is that death is like the law of gravity. We recognize its reality but rarely think about it. People generally tend to walk into life with hope and confidence but back into death with uncertainty and fear. So the conspiracy of silence surrounding death continues unabated.”

And, it is this “conspiracy of silence” surrounding death as it relates to crash fatalities that I would like to shatter. I would like to shine a spotlight on these countless unnecessary and preventable deaths and call for change–for safety to become much more than a word that is flippantly tossed around without any real and lasting impact.

Let’s be bold and decisive and circumspectly do the sensible and compassionate thing. Let’s do our part–each one of us–to protect those around us from all harm and danger that they might love and laugh and live their life fully.

This morning, as I was taking a shower, I began singing Amy Grant’s song, “Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs-aiQ9NZ1g

Normally, that song is an encouragement to me. But as I got to the phrase, “Please be near me to the end,” I “lost it” as the memory returned of my girls’ abrupt and premature end to their lives. At one and the same time, it was a comfort that He was indeed near them “to the end” and a great sorrow that their ending had to come in such a way and at such a time–so unnecessarily for me to see and bear in my own lifetime, and for them to miss out on so much more of life, not to mention all the lives now bereft of the love and gifts they so freely shared.

It is at such moments that I cry out, “May there be an end to Too Often, Too Little, Too Late. And may it come quickly.”

25 AnnaLeah Jesus Loves Me 052IMG_4465AnnaLeah’s craft: In my life, Lord, Thy will be done.  AnnaLeah’s last road trip–abruptly ended.

Who are no more with photo

Safety is not a priority

Safety is not a priority 002

Re-examine the Definition of Reckless Driving

Questions About Justice in the State of Georgia

A Mother’s Memories

AnnaLeah’s Statement of Faith 3

Mary’s Baptism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9UvtWMh3J8

AnnaLeah’s Confirmation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY393AmtB8E

Mary’s Confirmation Questioning (She was to be confirmed in June 2013.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue4KZR1pFa0

AnnaLeah & Mary Are Where They Belong:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8emDfPJyqM

 Farewell to Mary and AnnaLeah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpKdHfc_xFY

Rod & Staff on death and dying 1Rod & Staff on death and dying 2

Rod & Staff on death and dying 3Rod & Staff on death and dying 4

Rod & Staff on death and dying 5

 We Rescue, Jesus Saves: http://annaleahmary.com/2014/08/we-rescue-jesus-saves/

 

 

 

New NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind Speaks at the Consumer Federation of America

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new Administrator Mark Rosekind spoke on March 13, 2015 at the Consumer Federation of America’s Consumer Assembly.

His Keynote Address was entitled, “NHTSA Priorities and Opportunities: A Two Year Sprint”. Read it here: Mark Rosekind Speech at CFA .

What Came After The AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition?

Last year at this time, our family was intensely involved in preparing to launch The AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition.  After our truck crash and tragic loss of the Mary and AnnaLeah, we learned about many things that needed changing to prevent other families from facing similar grief.

When Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx promised that we would see tangible progress in a short time on truck safety issues, and 6 months later we had not, we decided to take our request to DOT on the first anniversary of our crash and invited other people to join us by signing our petition.

Last March, after brainstorming with our family, two of our sons were designing a website for the petition, but as time was getting short to launch the petition and we wanted to make sure that everything would go without a hitch, we changed course and applied all that hard work to an existing site, Care2 The Petition Site. And on March 19, we launched the petition.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/957/501/869/stand-up-for-truck-safety/

And we shared our story: https://youtu.be/I-WQBEDpTVw

We were amazed as the numbers started rising and quickly surpassed our hopes. By the time May rolled around, we had over 11,000 signatures on our petition. We printed each signature as an individual petition and stuffed it in an envelope and delivered these envelopes in person on May 5, 2014, in Washington, DC.

Here is a graph showing the number of signatures by state:

petition signatures by state

Eight members of our family, including our grandson and granddaughter traveled to Washington, DC and sat down with administrative officials from NHTSA and FMCSA. We were well received, presented our concerns, heard from them on their efforts, and had a productive discussion. And here are the “notes” which our 4 year-old granddaughter, Vanessa, took at that meeting:

Vanessa DOT notes

We are proud of our family and thankful for the many people who stood with us to voice these vital concerns.

What came out of our petition and the meeting we had with DOT that day? Did it make a difference? Here are the three requests which we made in the petition and what has come about:

  1. First Request: Raise minimum levels of insurance required for truck drivers–which has not been done for over 30 years.
  2. Result: In November 2014, the FMCSA  issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) announcing that they are considering a proposed rule to increase the minimum liability insurance coverage for motor carriers.   https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/11/28/2014-28076/financial-responsibility-for-motor-carriers-freight-forwarders-and-brokers   http://annaleahmary.com/2014/12/good-news-fmcsa-announces-first-step-toward-increasing-minimum-liability-for-trucker-insurance/  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/741290079286842/
  3. The period for Public Comments ended on February 26. The 11,391 signatures from our petition were added to these Public Comments. This will be followed by a review of these comments and a decision about whether to actually proceed with a rulemaking process.  Public Comments 002Public Comments 003
  4. Second Request: Decrease driver fatigue and monitor their hours on the road with Electronic Logging Devices.
  5. Result: The Petition’s 11,000+ signatures were also added to the Public Comments for the Electronic Logging Device Rule.  The comment period ended May 27, 2014. “In a departure from a report issued in mid-February, the Department of Transportation has changed its expected publication date for a Final Rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices, according to a supplemental report issued by the DOT last week.   It now expects the rule to be published Sept. 30.”  http://www.overdriveonline.com/fmcsa-alters-course-on-e-log-mandate-shoots-for-sept-30-rule-publication/#
  6.   Public Comments on ELDs and Levi leaving for Camp 032Public Comments on ELDs and Levi leaving for Camp 026
  7. Third Request: Take needed steps to improve underride guards, which prevent vehicles from sliding under trucks–causing horrific injuries and tragic deaths.
  8. Result: On July 9, I posted the good news that NHTSA had initiated a rulemaking process on underride guards:   http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/nhtsa-has-initiated-a-rulemaking-process-to-evaluate-options-for-improving-underride-guards/
  9. The Rulemaking Process is lengthy and often fraught with delays. It is a miracle that anything gets done. This is what the Federal Register posting says at the end:  “The agency notes that its granting of the petition submitted by Ms. Karth and the Truck Safety Coalition does not prejudge the outcome of the rulemaking or necessarily mean that a final rule will be issued. The determination of whether to issue a rule will be made after study of the requested action and the various alternatives in the course of the rulemaking proceeding, in accordance with statutory criteria.” https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/10/2014-16018/federal-motor-vehicle-safety-standards-rear-impact-guards-rear-impact-protection  Here is an outline of that process:  https://www.federalregister.gov/uploads/2011/01/the_rulemaking_process.pdf
  10. Underride guards and our story were featured in the Fall 2014 IIHS Status Report:  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/10/iihs-reports-on-new-crash-testing-for-improved-underride-guards/

The AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition is still open. People are still finding it and signing it (without our doing a thing to promote it). People care about this issue and we want you to know that we are being heard and that we are continuing to advocate for safer roads.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/957/501/869/stand-up-for-truck-safety/

Petition 002

At some point, we hope to send out a final update to all of the petition signers (now at 11,530 plus the 150 people who sent a paper petition to us)–letting them know about the progress made and encouraging them to stay in contact.

When we were getting ready to go to DC last year, one of our sons asked what we would do after the petition was over–would we still do truck safety advocacy? I said I didn’t know. . . but here I still am–continuing to keep track of what is going on, writing, writing, writing, and speaking up for all of us who are vulnerable on the roads, calling for action in matters of life & death.

We Rescue Jesus Saves 018

 

Red Herrings & Rabbit Trails; Profit vs Safety

gertie 132

Let me make this very simple. It has become very apparent to me–after losing my daughters in a truck crash–that those who oppose positive changes which will improve safety on the roads [i.e, cause less people to be injured or killed as victims of a truck crash] tend to use red herrings & rabbit trails to divert the attention from the really vital issues.

Examples. . .

  • Regarding the Hours of Service 34-Hour Restart rules requiring two consecutive sleep periods between 1 and 5 a.m… they claim that their concern is for people on the roads. According to Senator Deb Fischer, “In addition, serious concerns were raised about the rule’s perverse impact on safety because, in effect, it pushed drivers onto the roads during workers, students, and families’ morning commutes.”  http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=37567&t=Sen-Deb-Fischer-to-Offer-FMCSA-Reform-Legislation
  • But look at what industry representatives were writing about back in January 2013— before the change in the HOS even took place:”Associations such as NASSTRAC are gearing up for another busy year. Several key legislative matters, including the most recent Hours-of-Service rules and concerns over tolling policies, are still being decided.‘One critical issue that may have a negative impact on transportation and supply chain strategies is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) decision to revise the current hours-of-service rules for commercial truck drivers, which were adopted in December 2011,’ Everett says.The new rules—which require full compliance by July 1, 2013—retain the current 11-hour daily driving limit, but require drivers to take at least one half-hour break during eight hours. They also change the restart provisions, and mandate that a driver must have two consecutive rest periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. before resuming driving.This change could reduce capacity by as much as seven to nine percent, according to some truckload carriers,‘ Everett says.”  http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/transportation-advocacy-shippers-stand-up-for-their-rights/
  • Take note of the industry perspective reflected here:”‘Legislators are currently considering and implementing laws and regulations that many transportation experts fear will significantly erode productivity—particularly in trucking—and could increase the delivered cost of goods by up to 15 percent annually,’ adds Brian Everett, executive director of the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC).’It’s important that transportation and supply chain executives remain educated on the ‘what-ifs’ of decisions coming out of Washington in order to adequately plan and execute their supply chain strategies,’ he says. ‘As they continue to educate themselves, they also need to educate legislators on the impact their decisions will have on supply chains nationwide.'”
  • Another Red Herring is bringing up the statistic that the number of crashes which need more than the current minimum liability insurance amount is only 1%. If that is true, then surely underwriters will not be writing policies with premiums which are inappropriate or exponentially-increased. 
  • Refusing to raise a limit because such a small percentage reach the limit has only indicates that the increase in cost should be minimal. It can’t be both ways, either this increase should raise the cost of doing business or the effect should be minimal. This isn’t life insurance where all the money is always paid out. Nor is this homeowner’s insurance in which you have a set amount of house that can be destroyed. This is liability insurance in which the amount paid out is based on the amount of damage being done. If such a small percentage of claims reaches the limit then greedy lawyers, increased costs, and mythical “windfall” payments are all proven absurd or irrelevant.

    What we actually have here is discrimination against the minority. “You are so small a portion of the people we harm we are not obliged to deal with you fairly.”  Under such logic, they might as well suggest that they shouldn’t be compelled to have insurance at all.

 

  • Look at what Senator Daines said about this at the Surface Transportation subcommittee hearing yesterday. “Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., struck back on increasing the insurance requirements, underscoring that less than 1 percent of all crashes exceed the current amounts.’The only ones who will benefit from increasing the insurance amounts are trial lawyers, Daines said.” – See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=28601#.VPhxZ_zF-Sp

 

  • Does he think so little of all the victims and their needs that he completely overlooks the benefit to them? If he is concerned about the lawyers, let him work on tort reform and cap their amount; don’t prevent victims from being appropriately compensated. Furthermore, he overlooks the fact that the minimum has not been raised for 35 years despite the fact that the Secretary of Transportation has already been given the authority to do so.
  • Look at what happened to this issue last June:  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/06/fact-sheet-on-the-daines-amendment-to-halt-minimum-liability-insurance-for-truckers/
  •  The FMCSA concluded in a recent report to Congress that current minimum financial responsibility limits for the commercial motor vehicle industry — including the $750,000 limit for general freight carriers— are inadequate to meet the costs of some crashes, mainly because of rising medical costs.The regulatory agency stopped short of recommending specific new limits but could have a proposal by the end of June and new limits could be published in November.”

IMG_20140508_114515_341

The Senate is Holding a Hearing: “Surface Transportation Re-authorization – Oversight & Reform of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration”

As preparation is underway for the next surface transportation bill, it is vitally important that truck safety concerns are addressed as priorities and not compromised–in any extension of the current bill and in a future re-authorization. It is a matter of life and death.  I should know, my daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) lost their lives due to a truck crash on May 4, 2013:

Before & After PhotosAnnaLeah and Mary

Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Every year on average 4,000 people die in truck crashes and about 100,000 more are injured at a cost of at least $87 billion, a large number of them due to driver fatigue.  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/12/trucking-fatalities-increase-for-fourth-year-in-a-row-hours-of-service-rules-rolled-back/
  2. The Secretary of Transportation should exercise his authority, and act on the recommendations of its own agency, to set the minimum insurance for motor carriers at responsible levels that will encourage safe underwriting and safe operations as was intended by Congress and to reflect the potential crash damage and medical care cost inflation. For more information:  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/02/time-is-short-comment-now-on-proposed-rule-to-raise-minimum-liability-insurance-for-trucking/ and  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/02/speak-up-for-increased-trucker-minimum-insurance-rally-with-us-to-be-heard-above-the-vocal-opposition/
  3. The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program is working as intended and any changes to it or how crashes are weighted would have a serious and detrimental impact on safety.   http://trucksafety.org/read-letter-secretary-foxx-response-motor-carrier-industrys-letter-regarding-fmcsas-csa-program/
  4. Truck driver fatigue is a serious and deadly problem affecting the health and safety of all truck drivers and motorists. Hours of Service should not have been increased from 70 to 82 hours. Instead, the limits on the restart provision (once per week, two night requirement) should be restored. Studies sponsored by the FMCSA reveal that 65% of truck drivers report they have often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving and nearly half of truck drivers admit they have fallen asleep while driving in the previous year. IMG_4462   http://annaleahmary.com/driver-fatigue/;  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/12/battle-over-trucker-34-hour-restart-rule-is-over-for-now/ ;    http://annaleahmary.com/2014/12/truck-crash-moment-a-truck-drivers-actions-forever-divided-time-into-before-after/   ;http://annaleahmary.com/2014/12/a-mothers-letter-in-response-to-senator-collins-deadly-and-dangerous-provision-to-increase-working-hours-for-truck-drivers/ ;  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/12/urgent-express-your-opposition-to-longer-hours-for-truck-drivers/ ;   http://annaleahmary.com/2014/09/pay-attention-america-help-bring-totally-avoidable-crashes-to-a-stop/ ;  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/09/update-on-electronic-logging-devices/
  5. Underride guards need to be improved. I should know: I survived the crash while my two daughters in the backseat when we were pushed backward under a truck did not survive when the guard did not prevent underride.  http://annaleahmary.com/underride-guards/
  6. No increases should be allowed in truck size (doubles or triples) or weight. The adverse impact on safety and infrastructure will just make a bad situation worse.  http://trucksafety.org/watch-a-broad-coalition-speak-out-against-increasing-truck-size-and-weight-limits/ ;    http://trucksafety.org/read-the-statement-of-administration-policy-regarding-highway-and-motor-carrier-safety/

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Truck safety needs to be a priority; it’s a matter of life & death.

http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/our-crash-was-not-an-accident/