What would a DOT Vision Zero policy look like in actual implementation?

In our petition, we have asked for a paradigm shift in how truck underride guards are regulated. This means that, instead of using a force-based design rule, DOT would require performance-based standards. In other words, when a manufacturer designs an underride protection system for a truck, they would have to crash test it and prove that it could actually withstand a crash.

And we want that to be true for higher speeds than currently required and for impact all along the back of the truck–not just at the center but also at the edges (where the guards currently fail in the majority of crashes). And then, we also want side guards to be a requirement.

A Vision Zero rulemaking policy would mean that Saved Lives would win out over dollars in decisionmaking. In contrast, look at what DOT decided about underride guards in  1974:

  • 1974 US Secretary of Transportation says deaths in cars that underride trucks would have to quadruple before underride protection would be considered cost beneficial.  (History of federal rulemaking on underride guards:  http://annaleahmary.com/underride-guards/ )

In fact, there have been many engineers over the years who have insisted that the guards were weak and ineffective and that stronger guards could be designed. Here are four examples of Vision Zero principles being applied by engineers who are currently hoping to design and/or promote more effective underride protection which would actually save lives:

  1. George Rechnitzer & Raphael Grzebieta, engineers in Australia with whom we have been in contact, have proposed performance-based standards and have done extensive underride research:  NHTSA-Docket-Submission-Grzebieta&Rechnitzer 20 Sept 2015 (or in the Federal Register Public Comments on underride protection for single unit trucks: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0021)
  2. Dean Sicking, an engineer at the University of Alabama, who designed NASCAR’s SAFER Barrier to save lives and is confident that he could apply those principles to underride protection. Here is the research proposal which he has given to us and for which we are raising money so that he can do it!  Development of Trailer Underride Preventive Measures
  3. Aaron Kiefer, a forensic engineer/crash reconstructionist, who has been motivated by the tragic, preventable crash deaths which he witnesses in his work, to design an innovative underride protection system which combines side & rear guard components. We have met him and were able to go see a prototype of his invention on a semi-trailer.  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0013
  4. IIHS has researched and petitioned for improved underride protection for many years: http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4907.pdf

For further information about Vision Zero, see these additional posts:  http://annaleahmary.com/tag/vision-zero/

 

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

Petition screenshot 021

 

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