Monthly Archives: May 2016

“Visualizing Rulemaking”: Ordinary citizens use highly visual tools to effect change in regulatory realm

Just this weekend, we started the ball rolling for the next step after the Underride Roundtable. I posted about our idea and then sent out an email to the people who attended that event–inviting them to a follow-up meeting to hammer out a specific and comprehensive underride rule proposal to submit, as a group, to NHTSA in hopes of shaping their final underride rule to be as effective as humanly possible.

Yesterday, I was struggling with feelings of uncertainty about what-did-I-think-I-was-doing?! Who-do-I-think-I-am to try to make things happen like that? Then, I went and got the mail and found a thick manila envelope addressed to me from the School of Law at the University of Washington in Seattle. I thought, What’s this? I haven’t been in contact with anyone there.

After I opened it and started reading the cover letter, I started crying and thanking the Lord for His guidance to our family over these last three years as we have worked relentlessly to put an end to preventable crash deaths. This letter was a gentle but powerful affirmation that He has indeed been using our family (with all of our strengths & weaknesses) as His vessels to bring about needed change. May it be so.

University of Washington School of Law Letter

This is an excerpt from that letter:

We are law professors at the University of Washington in Seattle, and we are writing because we have been deeply moved by your website in memory of your daughters and inspired by your campaign to improve truck safety by mandating new underride protections. Between the two of us, we have five children, and we now never drive on the highway without thinking about your family’s accident and the need for increased safety measures.

We found your website when we were researching and co-authoring a law review article titled “Visualizing Rulemaking,” which discusses the way that people are harnessing the power of visual images and social media to influence the federal administrative rulemaking process. We describe your rulemaking campaign as an excellent and powerful example of ordinary citizens using modern, highly visual tools to effect change in the regulatory realm. Kathryn Watts and Liz Porter

The two photos which they want to use:

Mary and AnnaLeah at Battle Park, Rocky Mount, NCIMG_4464

The professors included a copy of the draft of their 95-page article, which will be available digitally in a few weeks and published in the NYU Law Review in November. I will share the links when they are available.

Here we are with another way that Mary is getting her wish, “I want to be famous someday. I don’t know how, but I just do,” Mary wrote to herself a few weeks before her crash.

Washiington Vision Zero Petition photos 013Petition Photo Bags at DOT, best

 

 

Imagine an Executive Order propelling us toward zero crash deaths. What are we waiting for?

When I read Lou Lombardo’s Care for Crash Victims email this morning, it reminded me of what I keep thinking about the proposed underride rule. . . the regulatory analysis needs to include the cost of the lives lost (and injuries sustained) in the past — all the years of too-weak or non-existent guards even when they knew that better could be made — and all the lives which could be saved into the future.
What conclusions would the analysts then draw? Would they deem spilled blood too great a price to pay?

Dear Care For Crash Victims Community Members:

As we think about Benefits and Costs we need to think about Who gets the Benefits and Who gets the Costs.  People’s lives vs. Corporate monies.

 

Think about the power of Presidents and their responsibilities as OMB is a key arm of government in the White House.
 

See OMB Draft Report at

Imagine an Executive Order directing the Justice Department to require all settlement agreements to include payments to the government commensurate with the costs in lives lost in the past and projected into the future – and the benefits of sentencing executives to the elimination of vehicle violence forevermore – Vision Zero. 
 
Lou
Thanks, Lou, for your always-thoughtful questions and comments.
Adopt a Vision Zero Policy 047

A Bereaved Dad Takes a Close Look at the Flaws in Underride Regulatory Cost/Benefit Analysis

Jerry Karth submitted some additional comments on the proposed underride rule–with reflections on what was learned through the Underride Roundtable. These comments have now been posted on the Federal Register: Additional Comments on Underride Rulemaking by Jerry Karth, May 19, 2016

Jerry submitted his original public comment regarding the proposed underride rulemaking on February 16, 2016. Here is an excerpt from that which addresses NHTSA’s preliminary cost/benefit analysis:

I would like to respond to the utilitarian logic approach that NHTSA has appeared to have applied to this issue. Their utilization of a cost/benefit analysis (called for by Executive Order 12866) is sadly lacking moral and ethical depth on the benefits side.

This type of logic was applied in 2000 by the Philip Morris Company in the Czech Republic when they funded a research study on the costs/benefits of smoking in the Czech Republic. http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Philip-Morris-Czech-Study.htm The study concluded that it would be more beneficial for the people of the Czech Republic to smoke than not. What was this startling conclusion based on? A cost/benefit analysis.

The results are summarized in Figure 1:

Figure 1: The public finance balance of smoking in the Czech Republic in 1999 is estimated at +5,815 mil. CZK

Income and positive external effects 21,463 mil CZK
  Savings on housing for elderly 28,mil CZK
  Pension & soc. expenses savings due to early mortality 196 mil CZK
  Health care costs savings due to early mortality 968 mil CZK
  Customs duty 354 mil CZK
  Corporate income tax 747 mil CZK
  VAT 3,521 mil CZK
  Excise tax 15,648 mil CZK
Smoking related public finance costs 15,647 mil CZK
  Fire induced costs 49 mil CZK
  Lost income tax due to higher mortality 1,367 mil CZK
  Days out of work related public finance costs 1,667 mil CZK
  ETS related health care costs 1,142 mil CZK
  Smoking (first hand) related health care costs 11,422 mil CZK
NET BALANCE +5,815 mil. CZK

The study concluded that $1,227 was saved in pensions, health care, and housing every time a smoker dies. [Photo and caption from http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Philip-Morris-Czech-Study.htm ]

$1,227 ?

That’s how much a study sponsored by Philip Morris said the Czech Republic saves on health care, pensions and housing every time a smoker dies.

photo: American Cancer Society full-page SF Chronicle advertisement 2aug01


In comparison, let’s look at how this approach could be applied to the underride issue. This type of cost/benefit analysis could lead us to conclude that it is not beneficial to require stronger underride guards because the benefits of keeping weak and ineffective standards for underride guards are greater than the cost of upgrading them to the best possible protection. What might those benefits be?

  1. Save the trucking industry money by holding down manufacturing and installation costs.
  2. Save the consumer money by holding down shipping costs.
  3. Reduce medical costs by killing people at a younger age (and avoiding costly medical costs of the elderly population).
  4. Preserve the Social Security fund by decreasing the number of people who draw from their account due to early Death by Motor Vehicle.
  5. Improve the job market due to the decrease in the workforce from the elimination of workers through Death by Motor Vehicle.

In both cases, the conclusions lack common sense. I hope that we can agree upon that.

In other words, this kind of analysis could potentially require that we decide whether we are willing to fork over money to protect people from Death by Motor Vehicle. It forces us to choose between saving a life or saving costs. When that life is one of your loved ones, what would you choose?

In contrast, a cost-effectiveness approach may be a better solution because it compares the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of two or more courses of action. “Cost-effectiveness analysis is distinct from cost-benefit analysis, which assigns a monetary value to the measure of effect.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost-effectiveness_analysis In this situation, the desired outcome of both courses of action would be an underride guard which did not fail upon collision with a vehicle. The two solutions could be compared based upon cost, but a performance standard of a successful crash test would guarantee that lives would be saved.

Cost.Benefit Analysis

Mary, full of joy, wrote to herself, “I hope that I will be living every day as if it were my last.”

AnnaLeah and Mary loved their niece and nephew to the moon and back (except when they were fussy!). They would have loved their brand-new precious nephew as well.

Jerome with Gertie
Photo by The Karths, Naomi & Sam

I have to admit when I saw this photo of him today–one month old–I couldn’t help but think how cheated we all were. They will never know him here. He will never know them. But I am very grateful for this new bundle of joy brought into our family.

Photo Album of Mary & Gertie’s Namesake: Our For-Real St. Bernard

I will never forget what Mary wrote to herself, “I hope that I will be living every day as if it were my last.” And she and her sister did–full of laughter and joy. Loving. . .

 

See why truckers oppose Speed Limiters & why others promote them #VisionZero strategy needed

Yet another tug-of-war over traffic safety. Need a Vision Zero resolution.

Truckers Fighting Speed Limiter Regulation:

  1. Speed limiters are unsafe when sharing our highways with motorists, specifically, concerns with car–truck speed differential.
  2. Points for the NHTSA to consider:
    • Possibility that fatal truck accidents can actually be caused by the use of speed limiters.  FMCSA studies should be conducted showing the comparison of high speed fatal truck accidents (without speed limiters) vs. fatal truck accidents involving the use of speed limiters.
    • Better company CDL training programs mandated and enforced to ensure new drivers are safe and responsible.  Trainers should remain in passenger seat at all times observing trainee behavior and not sleeping in the birth.
    • The ATA has stated repeatedly, especially during their arguments involving the new hours of service proposal, that fatal truck crashes have been reduced significantly in the last few years.
    • If speed limits are no longer considered safe, then perhaps it is the speed limits themselves that need to be re-evaluated rather than placing speed limiters on certain commercial vehicles.  This would also address the need to reduce fuel consumption and fuel emissions for ALL vehicles, not just heavy trucks.  It would also prevent a speed differential between trucks and cars, which JB HUNT has stated, “This speed differential may cause a safety hazard…”
    • CSA, better driver training, PSP driver profiles for hiring, higher wages, and well rested drivers will create the safest roads…. not more regulations.  Regulations are just the quick fix to divert from the more deep rooted problems of the trucking industry.

Has their concern been adequately addressed? 

Here are comments on the issue as posted in the Federal Register:

Summary of Comments

On January 26, 2007, NHTSA and FMCSA published a joint Request for Comments Notice in theFederal Registersoliciting public comments onthe ATA and Road Safe America petitions. The Department of Transportation Docket Management System received approximately 3,850 comments into Docket No. NHTSA-2007-26851, the majority of which were submitted by private citizens. Of these, many comments supported a regulation that would limit the speed of large trucks to 68 mph, which included comments from trucking fleets and consumer advocacy groups, and others. Other comments submitted by independent owner-operator truckers, a trucking fleet association, and private citizens were opposed to the rulemaking requested in the petitions. The remaining comments did not explicitly indicate a position with regard to the petitions.

Comments from private citizens supporting the petitions include responses from individuals who were involved in crashes with heavy trucks or had friends/relatives who were involved in crashes with large trucks. The private citizen supporters of the petitions are typically non-truck drivers who stated that they are intimidated by the hazardous driving practices of some truck drivers, such as speeding, tailgating, and abrupt lane changes. These commenters expressed the belief that limiting the speed of heavy trucks to 68 mph will result in safer highways.

Some of the organizations supporting the petition provided similar reasons for their support and the selected comments summarized below cover the range of issues they discussed.

Schneider National, Inc., a major trucking fleet, indicated that its trucks have been speed limited to 65 mph since 1996. According to Schneider’s crash data from its own fleet, vehicles without speed limiters accounted for 40 percent of the company’s serious collisions while driving 17 percent of the company’s total miles. Schneider stated that its vehicles have a significantly lower crash rate than large trucks that are not speed limited or have a maximum speed setting greater than 65 mph.

J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., another trucking fleet, commented that a differential speed between cars and large trucks will result from trucks being equipped with speed limiters set below the posted speed limit. This speed differential may cause a safety hazard. However, J. B. Hunt believes that the current safety hazard caused by large trucks traveling at speeds in excess of posted limits is a greater safety hazard.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) commented that large trucks require 20-40 percent more braking distance than passenger cars and light trucks for a given travel speed. Advocates does not believe that the data in the 1991 report to Congress (2) are still valid because the speed limits posted by the States over the past ten years are much higher than the national posted speed limit of 55 mph that was in effect in 1991.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) stated that 97 percent of the occupants that are killed in crashes between heavy trucks and passenger vehicles are passenger vehicle occupants. IIHS stated that on-board electronic engine control modules (ECM) will maintain the desired speed control for vehicles when enforcement efforts are not sufficient due to lack of resources. IIHS stated that there is already widespread use of speed governors by carriers and a mandate will result in net safety and economic benefits.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) stated that large trucks are 3 percent of registered vehicles and represent about 8 percent of the total miles traveled nationwide. Also, GHSA believes that it is prudent to consider speed limiting devices since they are currently installed in large trucks and can be adapted to be tamper-resistant. It stated that conventional approaches to vehicle speed control do not provide optimal benefits because of a lack of enforcement resources and too many miles of highway to cover.

Several comments, including those from ATA’s Truck Maintenance Council, provided information concerning economic, non-safety benefits that would result from large truck speed limiters. The Truck Maintenance Council stated that an increase of 1 mph results in a 0.1 mpg increase in fuel consumption, and for every 1 mph increase in speed over 55 mph, there is a reduction of 1 percent in tire tread life.

Comments opposing rulemaking that would require speed limiters on large trucks to be set to a maximum speed of 68 mph were received from many independent truck drivers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), and private citizens (non-truck drivers).

OOIDA commented that the 1991 report to Congress (3) is still valid today—there is no need to mandate speed limiters because the target population (high speed crashes) is still small compared to the total number of truck crashes. According to OOIDA, speed limiters would not have an effect on crashes in areas where the posted speed limit for trucks is 65 mph or below. OOIDA believes that the petitioners are attempting to force all trucks to be speed limited so that the major trucking companies with speed limited vehicles can compete for drivers with the independent trucking operations that have not limited their speeds to 68 mph or below. OOIDA also stated that it is not necessary to set large truck speed limiters at 68 mph to realize most of the economic benefits cited by the petitioners because improved fuel economy and reduced emissions can be achieved with improved truck designs.

TCA commented that a speed differential will be created in many States by the 68-mph speed limit for heavy trucks and a higher speed limit for other vehicles. This speed differential will result in more interaction between cars and trucks and may be an additional safety risk for cars and trucks.

According to comments from CDW Transport, a trucking fleet, speed limiters should be required on passenger vehicles as well as commercial motor vehicles.

Several comments from private citizens and small businesses opposed to the petitions stated that speed is not the only cause of crashes, that weather and highway conditions are also significant factors. There were comments stating that passenger vehicles cause the majority of the crashes between trucks and passenger vehicles. Some comments stated that truck drivers will experience more fatigue with a 68-mph maximum speed, which could result in more crashes; some comments expressed the opinion that State and local law enforcement agencies should enforce the speed of all vehicles on the nation’s roads and highways; several comments favored a 75-mph limit for truck speed limiters, instead of 68 mph, to match the highest posted speed limit in the country.

The Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) provided information concerning the cost of tamper-proof speed limiters for large trucks. TMA estimates a one-time cost of $35 to $50 million would be required to develop ECMs with tamper-resistant speed limiters and a one-time cost of $150 million to $200 million to develop ECMs with tamper-proof speed limiters. With both of these ECM designs, there would be additional costs to make adjustments to the ECM for maximum speed, tire size, and drive axle and transmission gear ratio information.

Underride Roundtable Phase 2: Crafting Recommendations to Present to NHTSA For Final Rule

Excerpt from a previous post: Avoid an impasse: Follow-up Underride Roundtable with Negotiated Rulemaking Meeting

It is my hope that we can pursue a recommendation, made by a participant of the Underride Roundtable during the afternoon panel discussion, and organize a group of affected individuals and organizations/companies to meet together and develop a proposal to take to NHTSA in order to bring about a comprehensive negotiated rulemaking.

Yesterday, I sent out an email to participants of the Underride Roundtable–asking them to attend Phase 2 of the Underride Roundtable. I am getting some positive response and also some request for clarification of my goal for this meeting. So, the remainder of this post will serve to clarify what I am proposing.

Basically, the point is that NHTSA–now that the formal Public Comment period has ended for the Rear Underride NPRM–is in the process of reviewing those comments and crafting a final underride rule. Once that “final” rule is published, we will need to determine if it would be an adequate rule.

My thought is that now is the time to be hammering out an agreement–amongst ourselves (trucking industry, manufacturers, consumers, safety advocates, engineers, underride victims)–about what is an acceptable underride rule rather than wait until after NHTSA has already prepared a final rule. This agreement would include all aspects of underride protection.

We want to see it taken care of now and not wait for years to get any additional significant improvement/saved lives. Then, too, from the trucking industry perspective, such a strategy could avoid a situation of continuous changes down the road when solutions are known to be possible now.

Actually, this is what I had hoped would come out of the original Roundtable–a specific recommendation to NHTSA. Since that did not occur, my suggestion is that we go ahead now and hold a second meeting which would allow us to prepare a proposal to present to NHTSA as a petition for a new, comprehensive underride rule.

I am prepared to work to get this organized and underway as soon as possible. I have already had quite a few people get back to me to let me know that they would like to participate in this meeting, which would not strictly speaking be Negotiated Rulemaking but a Facilitated Crafting of Best Practice Recommendations for Underride Protection.

I’m sure that some will react with skepticism that this could ever work. But I am willing to put the effort into pursuing an impossible dream with hopes of realizing an actually-attainable outcome–making underride crashes be a thing of the past.

And if you wonder what makes me think that I (our family) has the authority to bring this about. . . the other day, I was reviewing the OMB Circular A-4. a document from the White House Office of Management & Budget to the heads of Executive Agencies with guidelines for the analysis of proposed regulatory actions.

Basically, a federal regulation should be issued when there has been a failure of the private market to protect the public (decades of underride fatalities and serious injuries). There should be an assessment of the significance of the problem (hundreds of deaths/year–decade after decade), and it should be shown that a government intervention is likely to do more good than harm (industry has complied with previous rules & research has shown that stronger underride protection/rules is/are possible to save more lives ):

Before recommending Federal regulatory action, an agency must demonstrate that the proposed action is necessary. . . Executive Order 12866 states that “Federal agencies should promulgate only such regulations as are required by law, are necessary to interpret the law, or are made necessary by compelling need, such as material failures of private markets to protect or improve the health and safety of the public, the environment, or the well being of the American people. . .”

Executive Order 12866 also states that “Each agency shall identify the problem that it intends to address (including, where applicable, the failures of private markets or public institutions that warrant new agency action) as well as assess the significance of that problem.”. . . If the regulation is designed to correct a significant market failure, you should describe the failure both qualitatively and (where feasible) quantitatively. You should show that a government intervention is likely to do more good than harm. For other interventions, you should also provide a demonstration of compelling social purpose and the likelihood of effective action. OMB Circular a-4.pdf

Well, then, because the private market has failed to protect us from deadly underride and, furthermore, the government has failed to adequately regulate this safety defect, then it behooves me, as a citizen of this country, to initiate action to rectify this tragic oversight.

Note: If anyone would like to host this meeting at their facility, please let me know as soon as possible so we can get this underway.

Notes on the Rulemaking Process:

  1.  Links on The Rulemaking Process:  https://www.federalregister.gov/uploads/2011/01/the_rulemaking_process.pdf, excerpts below. . .
  2. How do public comments affect the final rule? The 
notice and comment 
process 
enables 
anyone 
to 
submit 
a 
comment 
on 
any 
part 
of 
the
 proposed
 rule.
 This 
process
 is 
not 
like
 a 
ballot 
initiative 
or 
an 
up or down
 vote
in 
a 
legislature.

 An
 agency
 is 
not 
permitted
 to 
base 
its 
final 
rule 
on 
the
 number 
of
comments in 
support 
of 
the rule 
over 
those 
in 
opposition 
to 
it. 
At 
the 
end
 of
 the 
process, 
the 
agency 
must 
base 
its
 reasoning 
and
 conclusions 
on 
the 
rulemaking 
record, 
consisting 
of 
the 
comments, 
scientific
 data, 
expert 
opinions,
 and
 facts
accumulated 
during 
the
 pre‐rule 
and
 proposed 
rule
 stages.

 To 
move 
forward
 with 
a 
final 
rule, 
the
 agency
 must 
conclude 
that 
its 
proposed
 solution 
will 
help
 accomplish 
the 
goals 
or 
solve 
the 
problems
 identified. 

It 
must 
also 
consider 
whether 
alternate
 solutions 
would
 be 
more 
effective 
or 
cost 
less.

 If 
the 
rulemaking
 record
 contains persuasive 
new
 data 
or 
policy 
arguments,
 or 
poses 
difficult
 questions
 or 
criticisms, 
the 
agency 
may 
decide 
to 
terminate 
the 
rulemaking. 

Or, 
the 
agency
 may
 decide 
to 
continue
 the 
rulemaking
 but 
change 
aspects 
of 
the
 rule to 
reflect
 these 
new
 issues. 

If 
the 
changes 
are 
major, 
the 
agency 
may
 publish 
a 
supplemental 
proposed
 rule. 

If 
the
 changes 
are
 minor, 
or 
a 
logical 
outgrowth
 of 
the 
issues 
and
 solutions
 discussed 
in
 the
 proposed
 rules, 
the
 agency
 may
 proceed
 with 
a
 final 
rule.
  3. What is the role of the President in developing a final rule? In 
the 
same 
way 
that 
the
President 
and 
the 
Office 
of 
Information 
& 
Regulatory
 Affairs 
(OIRA) review 
draft
proposed 
rules 
prior 
to 
publication, 
the 
President 
and 
OIRA 
analyze 
draft 
final
 rules
when 
they
 are
 “significant” 
due 
to 
economic 
effects 
or 
because 
they 
raise 
important
 policy 
issues.

 The 
Presidential 
level 
review 
takes 
place 
before 
the 
final 
rule 
is
published 
in 
the
 Federal 
Register. 

OIRA’s 
final 
analysis
 of
 estimated 
costs 
and
benefits 
may take 
into
 consideration any 
comments 
and
 alternate 
solutions
suggested 
in 
public 
comments. Agencies 
may 
also
 use 
this 
review 
and 
analysis 
phase 
to 
consult 
with
 other 
agencies who 
share
 responsibility 
for 
issues 
covered 
by
the 
rule. 

In
 some 
cases,
 interagency 
review 
is 
mandatory.

Negotiated Rulemaking

Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power civic mobilization conference LIVESTREAMING now.

You can view Ralph Nader’s historic civic mobilization this week — Breaking Through Power — livestreaming at:

Real News Network.

If you can’t join us at Constitution Hall in Washington DC this week, you can watch at Real News Network.

Spread the word.

 

 

Serenity

Why won’t we adopt a National Vision Zero Goal? Over 20,000 people have asked for it.

Lou Lombardo, Care for Crash Victims, sent out an email today with a recent article from

Automotive NewsCan traffic deaths be eliminated? NHTSA’s Rosekind: ‘We’re right on the technological cusp’

Toyota’s James Kuffner is among a global band of safety experts proposing a radical goal for the auto industry: zero traffic deaths.

 The target may be unattainable, safety advocates concede. But they say it is possible to virtually eliminate the 30,000-plus annual highway fatalities in the U.S.

Kuffner, chief technology officer at the Toyota Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., says that if the industry moves decisively, within a decade “the probability of being killed in a traffic accident would be smaller than being killed by lightning.”

But automakers must speed the usual decades long pace of adoption of new technology, safety experts say, and get advanced data-crunching, crash-avoidance and communications capability into vehicles as quickly as possible.

“The longer it isn’t deployed,” Kuffner says, “the more people die.” . . .

Since 2000, automakers have introduced an array of safety technology: forward-collision warning, rear cameras, lane-departure warning, traffic-jam assist, adaptive cruise control and the like. 

Put it all together, says Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and “We’re right on the technological cusp. We have this totally new, really exciting chance to make a difference.”

Well, I am indeed happy to see that attitude. But I wonder why that has not translated into a push for a National Vision Zero Goal. How much more might we accomplish with a shared VISION in place to guide us forward more quickly and effectively as a country in this direction?

NHTSA’s Mark Rosekind was also quoted in this recent article: It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead

“When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen,’ ” Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said at a driver safety conference this month at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“In our society,” he added, “language can be everything.”

Dr. Rosekind has added his voice to a growing chorus of advocates who say that the persistence of crashes — driving is the most dangerous activity for most people — can be explained in part by widespread apathy toward the issue.

Over 20,000 people signed their name to our Vision Zero Petition. Is anybody listening?

Vision Zero GoalPetitionHeader_option2

Somebody, please get me an audience with President Obama to respond to my Vision Zero Petition!

Avoid an impasse: Follow-up Underride Roundtable with Negotiated Rulemaking Meeting

It is my hope that we can pursue a recommendation, made by a participant of the Underride Roundtable during the afternoon panel discussion, and organize a group of affected individuals and organizations/companies to meet together and develop a proposal to take to NHTSA in order to bring about a comprehensive negotiated rulemaking.

I am willing to do the organizing necessary to bring this meeting about. First of all, we need a location for the meeting and therefore I am asking if anyone would like to step forward and host this Negotiated Rulemaking Underride Roundtable. Once that is arranged, then we can proceed with selecting a date, developing an agenda, and sending out the notice.

After our family was instrumental in getting underride rulemaking initiated in July 2014, I realized that, though we had made it over one hurdle, in reality  the battle had only begun. I became concerned that the cost/benefit analysis, which had so often compromised past underride rulemaking, was still a very real threat.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post explaining why I think that a negotiated rulemaking process could be important in overcoming compromise and a possible stalemate (“a situation in which further action or progress by opposing or competing parties seems impossible.”): Is Cost/Benefit Analysis Appropriate for Life & Death Matters? Were their lives worth saving?

The participants, of the May 5, 2016, Underride Roundtable at IIHS, would be qualified to help meet the mandate given to NHTSA to prepare a thorough Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) of the underride issue: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued Circular A-4 guidance on regulatory analyses, requiring federal agencies to “prepare a CEA for all major rulemakings for which the primary benefits are improved public health and safety to the extent that a valid effectiveness measure can be developed to represent expected health and safety outcomes.”  Appendix G–Health Based Cost Effectiveness Analysis.pdf

A Negotiated Rulemaking Underride Roundtable could provide a format for development of a more effective and comprehensive underride rule, which would cover all the bases with existing and proposed technology to save as many lives as is humanly possible. It would also get the manufacturing companies out of limbo so that they can make long-term plans and move forward with designing and producing safer products. Win/Win. N’est-ce pas?

Now that the formal comment period is over for the NPRM on Rear Underride on Trailers, the next step is for NHTSA to review the comments and develop a final rule. Let’s strike while the iron is hot and present them with a unified recommendation to enhance their efforts. Before it’s too late.

Let’s send the message to NHTSA that we are all willing to do the work to bring about an acceptable, all-inclusive underride rule.

VA Tech guard installed
Virginia Tech underride guard installed by Senior Design Team, April 2016

See other posts related to the Underride Roundtable here: Tag Archives: Underride Roundtable

AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety is ready to roll. How about you?

8 Picture 657LOGO AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety

Other Research Which Should Not Be Ignored in Current Underride Rulemaking

NHTSA, in the Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation of the NPRM issued in December 2015 for Rear Underride on Trailers, requested information about underride guard crash tests at higher speeds (than the 35 mph currently being proposed). This is what they said,

We recognize, however, that benefits may accrue from underride crashes at speeds higher than 56 km/h (35 mph), if, e.g., a vehicle’s guard exceeded the minimum performance requirements of the FMVSS. NHTSA requests information that would assist the agency in quantifying the possible benefits of CMVSS No. 223 rear impact guards in crashes with speeds higher than 56 km/h (35 mph)See: NPRM Rear Impact Guards, Rear Impact Protection December 2015 document; A Summary of Some of the Highlights

Here are some additional links to underride research around the world which should be taken into consideration when developing improved underride designs and standards.

  1. Evaluation of Energy Absorbing Pliers Underride Guards for Rear and Sides of Large Trucks
  2. DEVELOPMENT OF NEW UNDERRIDE GUARDS FOR ENHANCEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN TRUCKS AND CARS
  3. NHTSA NCAP #00248 Truck Underride Guard (Quinton Hazell Guard)

These links supplement the more lengthy list of underride research, which I posted previously here: Underride Roundtable To Consider Underride Research From Around the Globe.