“Advocates Garnering Signatures” front page story in Rocky Mount Telegram. Almost 11,000 signatures!

The Rocky Mount Telegram published an article on our Vision Zero Petition & Underride Research efforts. We are just short of 11,000 signatures (we got 11,545 on our first petition)!  https://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/advocates-garnering-signatures-3009111

Please share this story with your local media. I have given you everything you need here to do so.  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/10/tools-for-getting-your-local-media-on-board-with-vision-zero-underride-research/

Please note: The article is on today’s front page. However, there was difficulty with non-subscriber access to the online article, so I am printing it here as well:

Advocates garnering signatures

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

The latest efforts by a Rocky Mount family to improve trucking safety has garnered more than 9,000 signatures from around the world in just 10 days.

“We want to get as many signatures as we can,” said Marianne Karth, whose daughters AnnaLeah and Mary were killed in 2013 when the car she was driving was pushed underneath a tractor trailer. “We’d like to see it surpass the 11,000 signatures we got on our first petition and I think that is possible because this has a broader focus than just truck safety. It can positively impact all motor vehicle regulations.”

The online petition through The Petition Site has three points: to change U.S. Department of Transportation regulations from being decided by cost-based analysis and factor in the cost of human lives as well as apply that Vision Zero safety strategy model by requiring underride guards based on crash test performance rather than force-based designs and initiate rulemaking to require collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems on all new large trucks and buses.

“We’re advocating for a paradigm shift,” said Jerry Karth, the father of AnnaLeah and Mary. “When Kennedy gave us the vision of going to the moon, he challenged a change as a nation and we met that challenge. This is the same in that it is challenging the status quo because we never want anyone to become a statistic yet that is what our present system does.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the U.S. secretary of transportation said in 1974 that deaths in cars that underride trucks would have to quadruple before underride protection would be considered cost beneficial. The Karths said that is unacceptable and in addition to gathering petition signatures to submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, they also have launched a new Website at https://www.fortrucksafety.com/ that is full of information about trucking safety and enables people to donate to the nonprofit organization, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, they started to help fund underride research.

“If everyone would just give $1 or $5 and shared it with others, we could support research into underride prevention systems and improved underride guards,” Marianne Karth said.

In addition to a group of engineering students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, they are working with University of Alabama-Birmingham Engineer Dean Sicking, who created a system that helps save lives in Nascar and is developing similar barriers to prevent underride collisions. The funds raised also will help crash test the improved underride guards and submit those results to regulators and trucking companies for implementation.

“The problem is these accidents are costing lives and they are preventable,” Jerry Karth said. “This is a solvable problem and it will cost money, but the loss of human lives also has a cost.”

The Karths also are in contact with the Transport Accident Commission in Australia and their campaign, Towards Zero. In a one-minute video posted on YouTube, the TAC eloquently shows that no traffic deaths are acceptable and every effort should be made toward preventing all traffic fatalities.

“On average, 40,000 people die each year in crashes on our roads,” according to the petition to Foxx. “Our families cannot continue to sustain this unacceptably high number of losses and injuries. We urge you to take immediate action so that more lives will not be lost and to assure us that safety is your number one priority.”

Since the tragic deaths of the Karth sisters, the family has joined with other truck safety advocates to push through improved regulations. The Karths also are organizing an Underride Roundtable in the spring with engineers, government officials and other safety advocates to discuss ways to further truck safety.

“We knew this was going to be a long journey and each effort we pursue is one step in a long process,” Jerry Karth said. “We know what our goals are that we want to achieve, though, and until we get there, we’ll continue fighting for change.”

Marianne Karth said she balances her advocacy efforts with bittersweet memories of her beloved daughters through the Website: https://annaleahmary.com/. The couple’s other children also share in the fight for change, never forgetting the quiet and creative girls full of potential.

“It always gets back to those girls we lost that’ll never come back to us,” she said. “That loss is why we can pour ourselves into it and keep fighting for change, even when the going gets rough.

“With the petition, we can get others to be a part of making changes that will ultimately save people’s lives.”

Sign & Share our Vision Zero Petition:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

Support Underride Research: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

“Towards Zero – There’s no one someone won’t miss.” https://youtu.be/bsyvrkEjoXI

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