Monthly Archives: November 2015

“7 Things I’ve Learned Since the Loss of My Child”

7 Things I’ve Learned Since the Loss of My Child

by Angela Miller

Child loss is a loss like no other. One often misunderstood by many. If you love a bereaved parent or know someone who does, remember that even his or her “good” days are harder than you could ever imagine. Compassion and love, not advice, are needed. If you’d like an inside look into why the loss of a child is a grief that lasts a lifetime, here is what I’ve learned in my seven years of trekking through the unimaginable. . .

Read more here: https://abedformyheart.com/7-things-since-loss-of-child/

Crash testing advances on many fronts

“Traffic fatalities have declined significantly over the last several years, but the U.S. is on track to have its deadliest year since 2007, according to the National Safety Council. That’s shining the spotlight on crash testing, which helps automakers create the safest vehicles possible.

Crash-testing research being done by testing groups and tool developers is extending its reach to crash avoidance. Some of the latest developments in collision avoidance and protection were recently explored by four industry experts in “The Future of Crash Testing” Technical Webinar Series from the Editors of SAE, which is now available for on-demand viewing.”

Read more here: http://articles.sae.org/14464/

Letter To Conferees – DRIVE Act (H.R. 22)

Letter To Conferees – DRIVE Act (H.R. 22)

November 13, 2015

Dear Conferee:

As representatives of the nation’s leading consumer, public health, and safety organizations, and families who have had loved ones killed in preventable motor vehicle and motor carrier crashes, we are writing to express our continuing concerns and strong objections to the House and Senate highway reauthorization bills’ failure to advance needed public safety laws and programs. As you begin conference negotiations to harmonize the language in the two bills, we urge you to remove anti-safety provisions and include commonsense and cost-effective safety improvements. Without your efforts to ensure critical changes to address the rising carnage on our roads and highways, the next surface transportation reauthorization bill could turn out to be the most anti-safety transportation legislation ever enacted into law. . .

Read more here: http://trucksafety.org/letter-to-conferees-drive-act-h-r-22/

Signatures: http://trucksafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Signatures-Letter-to-Conferees.pdf

Particularly poignant photos of 3 young girls who lost their lives 6 short years later

Last night, as I often do, I was looking for some photos or video to create a Youtube and soothe the ache of missing AnnaLeah and Mary. I found a particularly poignant photo of AnnaLeah and another young girl, Bethany, in Michigan on July 30, 2007.

Along with our other kids, they were having some simple water balloon fun. What made it heart-wrenching was that, within 6 short years, they–along with Mary–would lose their lives in crashes.

I put together continuously-snapped photos into a fast-moving slideshow. Laughing & weeping at the result.

Short Version (27 seconds):

Longer Version (6 minutes):

Bethany’s Untimely End February 23, 2012: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20120224/NEWS/302249856 & http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/02/hamilton_teen_hit_killed_in_cr.html

AnnaLeah’s & Mary’s Untimely End in May 2013:  http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/05/obituaries_today_annaleah_and.html & http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/05/in_mourning_former_grand_rapid.html & https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=174784632666076&story_fbid=258980320913173

Because we want to do everything we can to prevent others from such heartache, we launched our Vision Zero Petition online:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

Convoluted Thankfulness, or The Aftermath of a Truck Crash Tragedy

Just yesterday, truck safety advocates scored a victory when the Senate voted 56 -31 in favor of an amendment which halted a mandate to allow Twin 33s (longer double trailer rigs) on the roads in all 50 states. (Keep in mind that the issue isn’t out of the woods yet.)

http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2015/11/10/Senatevotes56-31toopposetwin33s.aspx

Another advocate wrote a facebook post which commented on this and shared his mixed feelings:

“So we WON. Mind you this is a hollow victory in several ways. It doesn’t get our family members back or make them whole again nor does it make the roads any safer, it just keeps them from becoming less safe.

I’m feeling very weepy over this. It’s a win I guess but one we shouldn’t even have to fight.”

I have talked about this before. The bittersweet emotions that tend to follow what should be an upbeat moment or memory. Swallowing up the elation of progress or the happiness kindled by a recollection.

http://annaleahmary.com/2015/10/blindsided-by-unexpected-loss-the-many-facets-of-grief/

Life is forevermore colored by convoluted reactions. Tangled. Complicated. Tortuous.

The grief over loss never seems to resolve fully enough to result in lasting peace. How can it when the anger and frustration is continuously sparked by, not just the potentially-preventable circumstances which led to the loss in the first place (bad enough in itself) but, the ongoing apparent callousness which allows the senseless slaughter of human life to continue on our roadways–ad infinitum?

A vote based on a motivation to protect states’ rights to determine their own decision on Twin 33s rather than on a motivation to save lives. Really?! How would that make you feel in the wake of losing a loved one in a truck crash?

For me, it opens up the flood gates of grief and lets the loss well up all over again. Senseless. Incomprehensible. Distressing. Missing them dreadfully.

Lives cut short. For no good reason. AnnaLeah & Mary. How many more to come?

In these interviews, I expressed this anger and frustration. Why? Why hasn’t something been done–when it can be done?!

http://myfox8.com/2013/08/13/families-push-for-tractor-trailer-regulations/#ooid=o5aHB1ZDqzXWORlHytIGaG1HtJQiKMkV

http://www.wral.com/on-anniversary-of-daughters-deaths-mom-pushes-for-tougher-truck-safety-rules/13615053/

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Owner-Operator describes what it takes to drive wiggle-wagons (twin trailers)

This owner-operator describes what it takes to drive a double trailer rig:

He calls them wiggle-wagons and makes this recommendation to drivers: “There is more to know when operating this type of unit, but these are the main points.  Fed Ex is pressing the government to allow twin 33′ trailers.  They are making a good case for the allowance stating that it will increase productivity and decrease fuel consumption.  With that in mind, I recommend that you get your doubles endorsement in order to make yourself more versatile and attractive to prospective employers. – See more at: http://www.365trucking.com/blog/2015/5/16/so-you-want-to-pull-wiggle-waggons-a-joey-slaughter#sthash.vWr9Zb5W.dpuf

It seems to me that it requires additional training and experience to drive these things. And I still need convincing (I am told that DOT might be studying this) that the sought-after increase in productivity & decrease in fuel consumption will not be paid for with the price of an increase in crash deaths.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 56 – 31 in favor of the Wicker Amendment: “Specifically, that amendment would require U.S. Department of Transportation to complete a comprehensive safety study before longer trucks are permitted on highways. It would also require the agency to conduct a formal rulemaking process with public notice and comment period. ” http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2015/11/10/Senatevotes56-31toopposetwin33s.aspx

We all share the road with trucks. Let’s make sure that our travels are as SAFE AS POSSIBLE.

Underride guards Great Dane trip 016

Sen. Wicker (R-MS) urges colleagues to join in bipartisan vote to block federal mandate to put Double 33s in every state

Today, Senator Wicker (R-MS) stood up for safety and states’ rights and described why he was asking his colleagues to join him in a bipartisan vote to block a federal mandate for all 50 states to allow Twin 33s on their roads. His Motion calls for DOT to study the impact of these longer double trailers.

The Wicker Motion passed today 56 – 31.  See the votes here:  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/114-2015/s304?utm_campaign=govtrack_feed&utm_source=govtrack/feed&utm_medium=rss

Highway Safety Rulemaking: Maybe we need to call for a statute which “requires another regulatory approach. ” Just sayin’ . . .

If I bring up the topic of making decisions on safety measures based on a Vision Zero policy vs a traditional cost/benefit analysis, I imagine that I might see the rolling of eyes or frowns or skeptical looks. After all, how could I expect the question of profit to be tossed aside when requiring a corporation to make a costly change in order to bring about “public health and safety”?

It’s the law after all. http://www.reginfo.gov/public/jsp/Utilities/EO_Redirect.jsp

” . . .  in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, agencies should select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity), unless a statute requires another regulatory approach. ”

What I would like to point out is that, by allowing the cost/benefit analysis requirements of the federal rulemaking process to stand as is, what we are saying is:

If the cost to society of a proven means to prevent the loss of human life is higher than the monetary Value of a Statistical Life ($9.4 million as of 6/17/2015), then we cannot justify requiring its implementation by law.

Can the loss of human life be thus weighed against economic loss? Is it really comparable? Human life is reduced to a dollar amount which can be compared to/weighed against corporate profit–dollar for dollar? Equivalent. Apples to apples.

AnnaLeah & Mary losing their lives to preserve trucking industry corporate profit? I don’t think so!

Maybe we need to call for a statute which  “requires another regulatory approach. ” Just sayin’ . . .

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AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety welcomes tiny, medium-sized, & vast donations to underride research. We’re not picky.

Keep praying for IRS to act in a timely manner (like now!) on our application for tax-exempt status. AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety is eagerly awaiting the approval letter for at least two (and hopefully many more) potential donations to Underride Research.

But don’t let that stop you from giving NOW; we have been told by IRS that we can operate immediately as a tax-exempt organization.

Every donation — no matter what size — is welcomed as it will get us that much closer to our goals of supporting underride research in a timely manner to enable us to impact the rulemaking and international discussion which are taking place now and in the coming year.

Underride Roundtable: http://annaleahmary.com/2015/10/underride-roundtable-save-the-date-may-5-2016/

Save the Date Underride Roundtable

Learn how AnnaLeah & Mary are supporting Underride Research:
https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

Fall chores spark bittersweet memories & fuel renewed advocacy energy

As I took photos of Jerry raking pine needles in our backyard today it triggered memories of the good times we had with AnnaLeah and Mary our Last Fall Together–as well as all the other autumns of their short lives.

It brings good but bittersweet memories as I remember all-too-well how they cannot be here at this time in this place to enjoy these moments. They had come with us to tour this house in anticipation of purchasing it the following spring–walking through this backyard which they never got to enjoy as their own.

Iowa and pine needles 032 Iowa and pine needles 036

And then it reminds me why I have thrown myself into this huge endeavor called Safety Advocacy. For some other mom who–I hope–will never know this heartache.

Remembering Our Last Fall Together, a photo album   https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.519997071416145.1073741912.464993830249803&type=3