Monthly Archives: January 2016

Investigative Report: NHTSA aims to strengthen safety devices that have failed in deadly crashes

WSMV Channel 4

Jeremy Finley, Investigative Reporter from Nashville, Tennessee, sheds light on the problem with NHTSA’s proposed rule for underride guards on tractor-trailers. He discusses our crash.

Posted: Jan 21, 2016 6:32 PM EST

Read about it here:

http://www.wsmv.com/story/31026756/nthsa-aims-to-strengthen-safety-devices-that-have-failed-in-deadly-crashes

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How we will get around in the future was never fully imagined in the past. . .

I was thinking again about how there might be less distracted driving crash deaths if we all drove stick shift cars. So I did some searching on the topic and ran across this lengthy article on driverless cars and the future of transportation:

Will autonomous cars change the role and value of public transportation?

This comment in the article caught my attention and brought up a very valid concern:

“The rise of tech companies effectively making their own rules and then asking the public to accept them puts in question the government’s ability to maintain stability in the industry while ensuring safety and continued access.”

Protected: The Delivery of a Vision Zero Petition(s) to Washington, D.C.

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With amazing technology advances, why are we slow as a snail to solve traffic safety problems?

Could someone please explain to me why it is that we can invent amazing technology to allow “face time” — among countless other inventions which are unfolding at an unbelievable pace — but we are slow as a snail to solve safety problems.

Why are we not devoting top priority resources (time, money, and the creativity of the human mind — enhanced by the availability of information and technology) to reducing the 33,000 on average annual traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. and 1.24 million crash deaths on the world’s roads in 2010?  http://www.who.int/gho/road_safety/mortality/en/

And why is it that getting safety measures passed — whether it be at the legislative level (in getting laws passed) or the administrative level (in getting regulations issued) is a continual battle?

Let me tell you what I think might be some of the reasons:

  1. The prevailing attitude is that most crash fatalities are inevitable rather than preventable. Not true. In fact, there were many factors in our crash which could have turned out differently were more attention given to safety matters.  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/our-crash-was-not-an-accident/  & http://www.care2.com/causes/one-familys-quest-to-improve-truck-safety.html
  2. The concept of “second collision” is poorly understood. The fact is that the first collision (the actual crash) is not necessarily what causes death in every case. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/07/the-second-collision-does-not-have-to-be-so-prevalent-we-can-do-better-at-preventing-death-horrific-injuries/ &  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/09/vision-zero-avoiding-collisions-and-second-collisions/
  3. The industry lobby opposing safety measures has a deep pocket. Need I say more? Well, I will. In less than 3 years since our crash, I have spent countless hours as a volunteer safety advocate (motivated by my daughters’ needless deaths) sending emails and making phone calls and meeting in person with legislators to inform them and attempt to persuade them to support safety measures. All too often, I am back at it again in another six months or so to fight the same battle all over again. https://dawnkinster.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/reflections-on-truck-safety/ & https://dawnkinster.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/for-annaleah-and-mary/
  4. The rulemaking process is cumbersome (though I am all for making sure that safety measures are indeed safe) and unnecessarily weighed down by the constraints of the cost/benefit analysis restrictions which inevitably lead to watered-down rules which are weak and ineffective. And enforcement has too often been ineffective:  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/07/lets-move-from-a-failure-of-compassion-tactics-of-conceal-%c2%ad%e2%80%90delay-%c2%ad%e2%80%90deny-while-fiery-crashes-occur-to-a-vision-of-zero-fatalities/
  5. Industry is more often than not reluctant to move ahead with safety measures voluntarily — either because they don’t want to have to re-do it when government regulations finally come out or because cost is a factor (enough said). This, of course, does not mean that all companies do nothing on their own to improve safety.
  6. Usually, a fragmented approach to solving the problem is taken when we could get more done faster if we worked together. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/09/face-it-fragmented-approaches-to-transportation-safety-dont-work-public-health-needs-to-be-included/
  7. Accountability, responsibility, and liability are dirty words. Taboo.  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/09/opponents-of-white-collar-criminal-prosecutions-argue-that-corporate-managers-should-not-be-charged-criminally-for-regulatory-violations/ And human life is measured in terms of dollars and all-too-often not considered worth the cost necessary to protect.  http://annaleahmary.com/tag/value-of-life/
  8. There is not a long line of people eager to help pay for safety research and crash testinghttp://annaleahmary.com/2016/01/who-will-pay-for-research-crash-testing-of-underride-guards/

What is the result of all this? People are dying when they could be still living.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LGcWc4m9VA

Too many lives are sacrificed. And for what? “So, what cost-benefit analyses really means, is that when no action is taken to improve the design of heavy vehicles, people’s lives are being traded for reduced transport costs.” George Rechnitzer,  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/06/crocodile-tears-costbenefit-analysis-vision-zero-goal-of-no-crash-fatalities/

Now, back to my original question, why is it that we can invent amazing technology to allow “face time” — among countless other inventions which are unfolding at an unbelievable pace — but we are slow as a snail to solve safety problems?

My grandpa was a rural mailman and used a sleigh and horses to deliver mail in the snow. My dad grew up with a wood-burning stove and an icebox for refrigeration. I grew up with the introduction of color television, seat belts, and not until I started raising children did I use things like VCRs or modem dial-up internet access. I went to Europe for a summer in college and had no cell phone to keep in contact with my parents back in the U.S.

Aren’t you glad that we have indoor plumbing? http://annaleahmary.com/2015/06/the-future-of-trucking-who-pays-for-the-costs-of-safer-roads/

How far we have come technologically and how rapidly advances occur. Yet, it takes a Jayne Mansfield (http://mentalfloss.com/article/28155/how-jayne-mansfield-changed-design-tractor-trailers & http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1082934_iihs-todays-mansfield-bars-dont-work-so-well-video) or a Dale Earnhardt to die (http://espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=hinton_ed&id=6116145 & http://sports.usatoday.com/2015/04/30/dean-sicking-safer-barriers-nascar-indycar/) or a Tracy Morgan to get severely injured for us to wake up and decide to do something about safety.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-11/ntsb-says-wal-mart-driver-awake-for-28-hours-before-morgan-crash

http://annaleahmary.com/2015/03/too-often-too-little-too-late-a-conspiracy-of-silence/

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the safety advances made after those famous crashes. But I am appalled that we can’t seem to get it until such tragedies cause us to sit up and take notice. Meanwhile, countless unnoticed-by-the-public tragedies happen daily on roads across the globe. Year after year.

Good grief! Even my grandkids, who have not yet lived a decade, get that something could have been done to prevent their Aunt Mary (13) and Aunt AnnaLeah (17) from dying.  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/11/our-grandma-wants-to-make-the-roads-safer-remembering-2-girls-in-the-aftermath-of-a-truck-crash/

That is why I am devoting myself to raising awareness and calling for change. Come on people, let’s set a National Vision Zero Goal and use our vast resources and brilliant minds to slay this giant. Let’s not keep on putting our heads in the sand, putting bandaids on the problems, and losing these battles at the price of our loved ones. We can do it!

My family and I are making plans to head back to Washington, DC, very soon to take our Vision Zero petitions. We will be meeting with DOT officials to discuss these matters and hopefully lay the foundation for Obama to write a Vision Zero Executive Order.  http://annaleahmary.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Vision-Zero-Executive-Order-Petition-Letter-to-President-Obama1.pdf &  http://annaleahmary.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Executive-Order-Draft-Application-of-Vision-Zero-Principles-to-Highway-Safety-Regulatory-Review.pdf

Stand up with us and make this happen. Sign & share our 2 Vision Zero petitions:

  1. Petition on ThePetitionSite calling for Secretary Foxx to adopt a DOT Vision Zero rulemaking policy — http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/
  2. Petition on Change.org calling for Obama to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order–  https://www.change.org/p/obama-adopt-a-vision-zero-goal-and-sign-an-executive-order-to-save-lives-not-dollars 

September 2013 069

Secretary Anthony Foxx & Marianne Karth discuss truck safety, September 12, 2013

p.s. By the way, the inventor of the NASCAR SAFER Barrier which is now saving lives, thinks that he can invent a much safer truck underride protection system. We just need the money to prove it: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

NHTSA proposes a change in rule for Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Determination

NHTSA has proposed a change in how they determine whether a Motor Carrier is “fit” to be on the road. Instead of ratings of “satisfactory,” “conditional” and “unsatisfactory”, they are proposing to grade a carrier as either “fit” or “not fit.”

As someone who has experienced untold loss due to a truck crash, this sounds like a promising move to me.

Article: “Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the changes will improve the ability of federal regulators to identify bad actors that are endangering drivers and passengers on U.S. roadways. ”  http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/266094-feds-move-to-overhaul-truck-bus-safety-determinations?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=transportation

Safety Fitness Determination – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/safety-fitness-determination-notice-proposed-rulemaking

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking pdf:  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/SFD_NPRM_01-14-16.pdf

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Underride Roundtable Registration Now Open: May 5, 2016 at IIHS Vehicle Research Center

Registration is now open for the Truck Underride Roundtable at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center on May 5, 2016.

Here is the Save the Date Flyer: Save the Date Underride Roundtable

Please join us on Thursday, May 5, 2016, as researchers, government officials, and industry leaders gather to discuss truck underride crashes and how to reduce the risks for passenger vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians. We will explore the scope of the problem and how regulation and voluntary action can help address it. You will also see a demonstration of underride guard performance in a crash test.

Hotel group rates are available:

  • at the Hyatt Place in Charlottesville, VA, http://charlottesville.place.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html,                                        Group Code #GII56Hyatt Place
    2100 Bond Street
    Charlottesville, VA 22901
    IIHS room rate: $109
    Reservation cut-off date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
  • at the Omni in Charlottesville, VA, http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/charlottesville Block Code #112-001-089-76, Omni
    212 Ridge McIntire Rd
    Charlottesville, VA 22903
    IIHS room rate: $199
    Reservation cut-off date: Sunday, March 20, 2016

Manac vs competitor crash test photos 001

Who will pay for research & crash testing of underride guards?

When I google the words “money” and “funding” and “underride guards” and “crash tests,” I mostly come up with links to things which I have written. Try it.  If you find someone willing to hand out money for these things, please let me know right away!

Meanwhile, I will keep asking anyone and everyone to help us out:

Be part of the solution: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

gertie 29472

Imagine a truck UNDERRIDE GUARD which provides REAR & SIDE protection.

Imagine an underride guard on a truck which combines protection on the rear of the truck with protection on the side. Sound good?

Underride guard design by Aaron Kiefer 011

We have an opportunity to raise money to crash test this innovative underride guard–designed by Aaron Kiefer, a forensic engineer/crash reconstructionist in North Carolina, who after seeing horrific crashes wanted to design better protection to prevent people from dying.

See Aaron’s Public Comment on single unit truck underride rulemaking:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0013 “. . . side impact regulations should be considered for straight trucks but more importantly for semitrailers.
Many lives can be saved through side impact protection that is capable of redirecting passenger vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists from moving beneath a straight truck or semitrailer.”

We need to raise $20,000 for a crash test to test Aaron’s design at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Vehicle Research Center.  So far, we have raised $4,500 to cover the costs of a 2010 Chevy Malibu and a tractor-trailer into which the car will crash.

Be a part of this important project and help to save lives. Donate now & spread the word:  https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

Printable Brochure: ALMFTS Underride Crash Tests Brochure

 

 

Our crash story–the short version:

Our crash story–the long  version:

Past memories get entangled with present moments & future longings

As Susanna and I were getting ready to leave Iowa on Saturday, we drove along I-80 headed for the airport–listening to Susanna’s music (and her knowledgeable explanation of the background to many LOTR selections). Didn’t have my camera out but saw corn fields (already cut down) making golden rows amidst a thin layer of snow. Suddenly I saw a hedge of magenta bushes–beautifully set against a stark winter backdrop of white and gray and brown.

Then upon returning home, it unexpectedly snowed here in North Carolina yesterday. Marcus & Vanessa delightedly went out before having breakfast. Marcus asked for a carrot for his snowman’s nose. Just like Mary not so many years before. Should I be surprised that Marcus ate his snowman’s baby carrot nose?!

Vanessa & Marcus also remembered when they ate some flavored snow with Mary back in Texas–a la Little House in the Big Woods. So I fixed them some maple syrup snow today.

Got out a box of winter gear to help keep them warm. When I was putting it away, I noticed that the person who had labeled the box some years ago was none other than Mary. Heart-full memories.

2 AnnaLeah and Mary in the snow, Rocky Mount (1)

As the memories of past snow fun mingled with present wintry moments, I could not help but sigh deep within and long for a joyful reunion in the future-yet-to-be:

Vision Zero. . . in hopes that others might live out a fuller life.

Past memories get entangled with present moments & future longings

As Susanna and I were getting ready to leave Iowa on Saturday, we drove along I-80 headed for the airport–listening to Susanna’s music (and her knowledgeable explanation of the background to many LOTR selections). Didn’t have my camera out but saw corn fields (already cut down) making golden rows amidst a thin layer of snow. Suddenly I saw a hedge of magenta bushes–beautifully set against a stark winter backdrop of white and gray and brown.

 

Then upon returning home, it unexpectedly snowed here in North Carolina yesterday. Marcus & Vanessa delightedly went out before having breakfast. Marcus asked for a carrot for his snowman’s nose. Just like Mary not so many years before. Should I be surprised that Marcus ate his snowman’s baby carrot nose?!

Vanessa & Marcus also remembered when they ate some flavored snow with Mary back in Texas–a la Little House in the Big Woods. So I fixed them some maple syrup snow today.

Got out a box of winter gear to help keep them warm. When I was putting it away, I noticed that the person who had labeled the box some years ago was none other than Mary. Heart-full memories.

Winter gear box 006

As the memories of past snow fun mingled with present wintry moments, I could not help but sigh deep within and long for a joyful reunion in the future-yet-to-be:

Vision Zero. . . in hopes that others might live out a fuller life.