Monthly Archives: February 2016

Importance of uniform legislative standards in reducing accidents cannot be overestimated, July 31, 1934

I can’t get this out of my head: why are we waiting for states to adopt their own traffic safety standards instead of establishing National Traffic Safety Standards which states are required to adopt? What is this–the Wild, Wild West? We are the united states of America–are we not?

Why on earth don’t we establish National Traffic Safety Standards & require them to be adopted by States? (Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety held a press conference which I watched live-stream. They released their 13th Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws–outlining the 319 proven safety laws which many states have not adopted, including such things as seat belt usage, motorcycle helmet laws, impaired driving, child passenger safety, teen graduated licensing laws, and distracted driving.)

Should not proven safety standards be applied universally?

Note this statement from the 1934 National Conference on Highway Safety:

The importance of uniform legislative standards in reducing accidents and facilitating the movement of traffic cannot be over estimated, and the adoption of these standards by all States and municipalities is earnestly recommended.

Daniel C. Roper, Secretary of Commerce, Chairman, National Conference on Highway Safety, Washington, DC, July 31, 1934  ACT III – UNIFORM MOTOR VEHICLE CIVIL LIABILITY ACT

Later, Uniform Gudelines for State Highway Safety Programs were released by NHTSA. Where are we with that? Have we moved away from mandating states to adopt specific traffic safety standards? Is it optional? What is working and what is not working at this point?

National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act

Highway Safety Program Guidelines:
Section 402 of title 23 of the United States Code requires the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate uniform guidelines for State highway safety programs. These guidelines offer direction to States in formulating their highway safety plans for highway safety efforts that are supported with section 402 and other grant funds. The guidelines provide a framework for developing a balanced highway safety program and serve as a tool with which States can assess the effectiveness of their own programs. NHTSA encourages States to use these guidelines and build upon them to optimize the effectiveness of highway safety programs conducted at the State and local levels.

  1. Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection
  2. Motor Vehicle Registration
  3. Motorcycle Safety | PDF version for print
  4. Driver Education
  5. Non-Commercial Driver Licensing
  6. Codes and Laws
  7. Judicial and Court Services
  8. Impaired Driving (updated)| PDF version for print
  9. [Reserved]
  10. Traffic Records
  11. Emergency Medical Services
  12. Prosecutor Training
  13. Older Driver Safety
  14. Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety(updated) | PDF version for print
  15. Traffic Enforcement Service (updated) | PDF version for print
  16. Management of Highway Incidents
  17. Pupil Transportation Safety
  18. Crash Investigation and Incident Reporting
  19. Speed Management(updated) | PDF version for print
  20. Occupant Protection(updated) | PDF version for print
  21. Roadway Safety

Is this still operative today?  If so, why are there 319 traffic safety laws which have not been adopted by states? Is it the duty of the federal government to protect its citizens from crash deaths & serious injuries?

NOTE the connection with federal funds to states: 


The Secretary may waive the requirement of paragraph (1)(C), in whole or in part, for a fiscal year for any State whenever the Secretary determines that there is an insufficient number of local highway safety programs to justify the expenditure in the State of such percentage of Federal funds during the fiscal year.

(c)Use of Funds.—

(1)In general.—

Funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section shall be used to aid the States to conduct the highway safety programs approved in accordance with subsection (a), including development and implementation of manpower training programs, and of demonstration programs that the Secretary determines will contribute directly to the reduction of accidents, and deaths and injuries resulting therefrom. Title 23 › Chapter 4 › § 402 23 U.S. Code § 402 – Highway safety programs


Delayed adoption and implementation of proven safety standards inevitably results in unnecessary, preventable deaths.

gertie 2947

Noncompliance Inconsequential to Motor Vehicle Safety

I was just reading about this yesterday and noted the multitude of links for this sort of thing:

concept of noncompliance inconsequential to motor vehicle safety!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2014-0034-0003
Let’s make sure that we have identified properly what is consequential to motor vehicle safety/highway safety and how we determine what has/is SIGNIFICANT SAFETY CONSEQUENCE.
Then, I got this email from the Truck Safety Coalition this morning:

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sent a letter telling the FMCSA to remove and limit the number of exemptions the agency grants. The CVSA argues that FMCSA is granting excessive exemptions, which hinder enforcements efforts by creating inconsistency and confusion. TSC has been and continues to be firmly opposed to state or industry exemptions for this very reason. We support the CVSA’s stance on this issue, and also urge the FMCSA to reconsider and reduce the many exemptions it grants to carriers, particularly those pertaining to training and hours of service.

Link to Article:  

The Truck Safety Coalition Team


A Canadian comments on the US proposed adoption of Canadian underride standard

Insightful Public Comment from a Canadian road safety expert on the NPRM for upgrade of Rear Underride:

Comment from Neil Arason

Regarding the above noted proposed rulemaking, I support fully a new rear guard standard that exceeds the Canadian standard, which was developed some time ago and that current research shows does not provide adequate passenger compartment protection in all crash scenarios. I also support fully that the new standard apply to all trucks including single unit ones. I believe the NHTSA has overestimated the costs and underestimated the benefits of such changes. More importantly, however, we must modernize the very way we think about road safety in the United States and Canada. We need to make the default design for every car, truck and bus to be one that simply minimizes all levels of human harm.

The use of a cost-benefit analysis for motor vehicle design and upgrades represents outdated thinking. The air, marine and rail industries have a much more forward approach when it comes to safety and more often works to ensure that these modes are safe for all persons. We must do the same with motor vehicles as the use of cost-benefit analysis involves assigning a monetary value to a human life and it is unethical and crass to do that.

Thank you for considering my comments on this important matter.

Neil Arason

Underride NPRM screenshot 007

No Accident: Eliminating Injury and Death on Canadian Roads

6 more Public Comments on Rear Underride Rulemaking

Here are the latest posted Public Comments on the NPRM for Rear Underride Guards.

Six Most Recently Posted Comments at:

Notifications from
DOCKET:            NHTSA-2015-0118 (!docketDetail;dct=FR+PR+N+O+SR;rpp=10;po=0;D=NHTSA-2015-0118)
FREQUENCY:        Daily
EXPIRES:          01/11/2017

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0031 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0031)
POSTED DATE:    02/23/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Stephen Batzer

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0032 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0032)
POSTED DATE:    02/23/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0033 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0033)
POSTED DATE:    02/23/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Stephen Batzer

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0034 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0034)
POSTED DATE:    02/23/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Aaron Kiefer

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0035 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0035)
POSTED DATE:    02/23/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Truck Safety Coalition (TSC)

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0036 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0036)
POSTED DATE:    02/23/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Neil  Arason

Trip North May 2015 154

“WRAL INVESTIGATES ‘Chameleon carriers’ create danger on roads”

I am glad to see that there is an investigation of the problem of “chameleon carriers.” When a trucking company with a history of safety issues transforms itself into a new company in order to keep doing business, guess what is likely to happen?

You guessed it: their safety problems go with them!

Read about it here: WRAL INVESTIGATES ‘Chameleon carriers’ create danger on roads

No surprise to us! We uncovered so many issues in the aftermath of our crash: Our Crash Was Not An Accident


AnnaLeah & Mary are “going to Washington, DC”; Vision Zero meetings March 3 & 4

Vision Zero Book 016

Jerry, Isaac, and I are taking over 19,000 Vision Zero Petitions to Washington, D.C., next week. This time we are not taking them in individual envelopes. Instead, we have compiled a printed book (designed by Isaac) with the 16,516 signatures which we had on February 12–along with:

  • the petition letter to Secretary Foxx
  • the petition letter to President Obama
  • explanations of what we mean by Vision Zero, along with examples of practical application of a Vision Zero Goal
  • also, what we are asking for in an action plan, including a National Vision Zero Goal, a White House-mandated Vision Zero Task Force, and a Vision Zero Executive Order.
  • Comments from signers of the petitions
  • and links to all of the Vision Zero posts on the website.

We will also be making a pdf of the book available. And Care2 (ThePetitionSite) will be printing off all of the petition signatures, as of next week, and delivering them to us in a binder to take to Secretary Foxx.

On March 3 and 4, we have multiple meetings scheduled in Washington to discuss our requests and petition our country’s leaders to take decisive action.

This is our current Washington schedule (subject to change):
  • 9 a.m. March 3, Rep. Ellmers’ staff
  • 10 a.m., March 3, Rep. Cartwright’s staff
  • 11 a.m., March 3, Rep. Holding’s staff
  • noon, March 3, Sen. Isakson’s staff
  • 2 p.m., March 3, joint meeting with Sen. Blumenthal’s staff & Sen. Markey’s staff
  • 9 a.m., March 4, Sen. Burr’s staff
  • 11 a.m., March 4, DOT policy officials
  • 1:30 p.m., March 4, Underride Roundtable planning meeting

We have also arranged to have a Petition Book delivered to President Obama. When my granddaughter, Vanessa (6), saw the stack of books in my bedroom, she asked why they were still there. I explained that we were going to Washington next week and about the meetings and all of the people to whom we were going to be giving books.

Vanessa remembered going with us to deliver the first petition in May 2014. At 4, she sat quietly and “took notes.” Yesterday, she decided that she wanted to write a letter to the president to tell him that she missed Aunt Mary and Aunt AnnaLeah. So we will be taking that as well.

Recently-Submitted Public Comments Posted as Underride Rulemaking Process Continues

Underride NPRM screenshot 007

With the formal Public Comment period on the rear underride rulemaking for trailers now closed, recently-submitted comments have been posted and can be viewed at these links:

Notifications from

The link to the Proposed Rule is here:
DOCKET:            NHTSA-2015-0118 (!docketDetail;dct=FR+PR+N+O+SR;rpp=10;po=0;D=NHTSA-2015-0118)
FREQUENCY:        Daily
EXPIRES:          01/11/2017

The most recently-posted comments are individually listed here:
DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0022 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0022)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Seven Hills Engineering, LLC.

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0023 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0023)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Randy Gates

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0024 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0024)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Jerry Karth

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0025 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0025)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Courtney Wood

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0026 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0026)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Marianne Karth

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0027 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0027)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Brian Vires

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0028 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0028)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Andy Young

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0029 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0029)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Erin Roth

DOCUMENT ID:    NHTSA-2015-0118-0030 (!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0030)
POSTED DATE:    02/22/2016
DOCUMENT TITLE: Comment from Peter Kurdock


Thank you, Wabash, for taking steps to protect innocent lives! @WabashNational

We are grateful that Wabash has taken the initiative to improve rear underride protection on the trailers which they manufacture, as seen on their website: RIG-16 REAR UNDERRIDE GUARD SYSTEM


For the past three years, Wabash National has spent considerable time, capital and facility resources in R&D specifically focused on enhancing rear impact guard performance. As part of these efforts, we conducted numerous crash tests, and consulted and worked with some of the premiere testing facilities in the country. The new RIG-16 system is designed to:

  • Prevent vehicle underride in multiple offset impact scenarios
  • Better absorb and deflect vehicle impact at any point along the bumper
  • Exceed U.S. (FMVSS) and Canadian (CMVSS) requirements

Key Design Features

To achieve our performance objectives, our engineering and product development teams incorporated a number of design enhancements that are engineered to work together, as a system, to better absorb energy and deflect impact.

  • Engineered a bolt-on, integrated rear impact guard system that better absorbs and deflects impact energy
  • Added two vertical bumper legs to the design for a total of four
  • Placed the outer vertical bumper legs closer to the sides of the trailer
  • Constructed the bumper legs and tube of a higher-strength steel
  • Hot-dip galvanized the assembly

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0258951 and other patents pending

Picture 275

See more about this great underride story here: An unexpected phone call from a trailer buyer with good news on underride guards

Really missin’ them right now. And nothing I do will bring them back.

It is warmer out today and Oscar The Cat was back on the deck. When I stopped to say hello to him, I was reminded of how much Mary & AnnaLeah lavished love on him.

Mary with Oscar The Cat AnnaLeah with SpunkyOscar The Cat 010 Oscar The Cat 009

Wishing it had never happened. . .

EO 12866 vs Vision Zero Executive Order: The Underride Network calls for decisive action

The following is a post on The Underride Network by Stephen Hadley who lost his wife in a side underride crash twenty years ago. He expressed his concern about side underride protection and about how Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 12866 has made it difficult to pass effective government agency rules.

When I learned about Executive Order 12866 last year, I was motivated to draft a new Executive Order for Obama to sign which would override the negative effects of EO 12866. This is what we are taking to Washington on March 4: Executive Order Draft 2 Application of Vision Zero Principles to Highway Safety Regulatory Review.

Tag Archives: Vision Zero Executive Order

Here is Steve Hadley’s recent post on this topic:

Two life-long best friends each had little sisters that were also life-long friends. I and my best friend were riding in the back seat of a drivers education car when we crashed into someone’s front yard. My best friend’s big brother married the little sister driving that car, a few years later, she died underneath the side of a truck trailer. My wife Tamara Hadley, the other little sister died underneath the rear of an illegally parked truck trailer with a Clinton rear underride guard.
President Bill Clinton updated Ronald Reagan’s Executive orders establishing cost-benefit analysis with Executive Order 12866. These orders limiting corporate costs of safety regulations have made it almost impossible to pass effective government agency rules for over twenty years. . . 

. . . NHTSA wants to just legalize the guards already on the road as did the Clinton Administration twenty years ago. Studies could not find statistical improvement in lives saved by these guards. We estimate at least 6,000 extra Americans died because the administration blocked better guards that had been tested at higher speeds. We call these rear guards of the last twenty years the Clinton guillotine guards. If the new regulation by the Obama Administration is approved as presented to just legalize existing guards, they will now be known as Obama guillotine guards. . .
. . . We have fought for Vision Zero regulatory safeguards to replace Clinton cost-benefit rules for twenty years to save thousands of lives. Destroying the meaning of Vision Zero and the meaning of side guards will cripple our efforts for national rules and regulations. Cost-benefit analysis has killed tens of thousands of Americans and given us corporate control of our government and portions of our economy. . .
Total truck related fatalities in 2013 were 3,964, 338 were pedestrians and 78 were bicyclists or about 10.5% were vulnerable road users. 585 or 15% of total fatal crashes were to the side of the truck in cars in 2013. Most fatal victims die in crashes to the front of the truck. If we design side skirts that only save vulnerable road users we will only save a small percentage of victims leaving most victims including many children to die in car crashes. Many of my friends lost their children in these crashes. . . 
Vision Zero means stop killing the children! Even those unworthy souls in cars too! Work with us to save lives, not against us. Over a million Americans have been killed and injured in crashes with trucks. A bad law in America can kill tens or hundreds of thousands overseas as our regulations are copied or not exceeded around the globe. Easily, the Clinton guards in the last twenty years killed a hundred thousand extra souls around the world which would have been saved with available stronger rear guards.

Read the full article here: NYC Vision Zero and phony side guards will wreck national safety efforts .

Aaron Kiefer underride design prototype photo

Aaron Kiefer’s prototype of an innovative retrofitting side/rear underride guard