I am able to be an advocate — a vocal spokesperson on behalf of truck underride victims — only because our car was hit by a truck which spun us and then hit us again and thereby pushed us backwards into the rear of another truck.
The underride guard on the back of the truck did not withstand the crash (which is, in fact, the norm because current federal standards are ineffective) and neither did my two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), who were in the back seat of the car which went underneath the truck. AnnaLeah died at the scene and Mary survived with horrific injuries–dying a few days later.
After finding out that it has already been proven that these underride guards are weak and ineffective, I have been thrust into the role of speaking up for improving the standards to provide stronger more effective underride protection to those who share the road with large trucks.
After we were joined, in the Spring of 2014, by over 11,000 people to petition Secretary Foxx to — among other things — improve the rule for underride guards, our petition was granted and a notice of rule making was issued for tractor-trailers:
- “The Petitioners’ request to initiate rulemaking on rear impact guards on trailers and single unit trucks is granted on July 10, 2014.” https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/10/2014-16018/federal-motor-vehicle-safety-standards-rear-impact-guards-rear-impact-protection
- Current Status of Rear Underride Guards Rulemaking on Tractor Trailers: http://www.reginfo.
We are waiting for this rule making to move forward to the next stage when we will be able to make Public Comments. This will be an important step and we will put out a call for support for this life-saving measure.
Recently, on June 12, 2015, the groundwork for a separate rule making on single unit trucks (currently not required to have underride guards, but responsible for countless crash fatalities) was sent to the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (Office of Management & Budget) for review:
- Progress on Rear Underride Guards for Single Unit Trucks: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201504&RIN=2127-AL57
Many advocates have worked hard before us to bring it to this point and together we need to continue forward until we have reached the goal of The Best Possible Protection.