How did you react when you heard our crash story? I have been thinking about that a lot this week.
On Saturday, we heard other crash stories at Truck Safety Coalition’s Sorrow to Strength conference in Arlington, Virginia. It is hard to hear the same problems with truck safety over and over again and know that too many things are not getting any better. Yes, we heard of the successes over the years. But some of these families have been advocating for safer roads for over 20 years–including for safer underride guards.
17 Video Stories from past conferences http://trucksafety.org/get-involved/personal-stories/
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On Monday morning, Isaac and I met with Russ Rader at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s DC office. We discussed some of the details for the Underride Roundtable that we are planning with them for May 2016 at their Ruckersville, Virginia, conference & crash testing center. I am getting excited as it is getting closer to becoming a reality.
We arrived early for our meeting and, while we were waiting to start, we sat in the reception area, drank some water, and watched the video loop which they show on a wall monitor. I have seen many of their crash test videos before but learned many new things. It had my attention.
Later that afternoon, Isaac and I joined other Truck Safety Coalition volunteers for meetings at DOT with FMCSA and NHTSA. As we got off the elevator, Scott Darling, FMCSA Administrator, pointed out the framed photo collage of truck safety victims (a fraction of the total number) which was presented to them in 2009. FMCSA staff see it every day as they pass by on their way to work.
Montage Honoring Truck Crash Victims http://truckcrashlawyers.com/jeff-burns-national-truck-safety-advocacy
The next morning, when I woke up, an idea came to me: create a video loop (which could be updated) of crash victim stories and raise money to put it on monitors throughout DOT. I told Isaac about my idea and he said that it should be on The Hill as well.
Then, as we headed for our meetings on The Hill, we encountered rush hour traffic at the Metro. People piled into the first train that stopped and it was so full that they were packed like sardines and the door couldn’t even shut until the riders pushed themselves closer together.
The woman just in front of me, who was a regular Metro commuter, commented that one time she had seen someone’s backpack get stuck in the door. We continued to talk and, after getting on the next train, eventually got a seat next to each other some stops later.
She asked me about the buttons on my lanyard:
When I told her that two of my daughters were killed in a truck crash, she had tears in her eyes and held my hand. Imagine the power of our story and the impact it could have on the future of highway safety.
I want the faces and voices of once-alive truck crash victims and their surviving families to be seen and heard daily throughout Washington, DC. And then just maybe we will have their attention so that, armed with facts and figures and reasonable solutions, we will be able to bring about dialogue to solve trucking safety problems which take into account the needs of the industry without unnecessarily sacrificing the lives of our families.