I have been taking care of family needs (not to mention facing the challenges of this hard time of year) since the Underride Roundtable. There is so much which I want to write as a result of the Roundtable. But I want to get it right and make it clear.
Mostly, I am overwhelmed by both gratefulness that so many people came together to face the problem of truck underride together and, at the same time, the awareness that we aren’t done yet.
One of the topics which I want to address is the issue which came up of whether to test and design for higher crash speeds than 35 mph. I asked about it at least two times. And, at one point, someone from the trucking industry raised the concern about deceleration forces causing injury at higher speeds.
This is an issue which pushes my button and I have written about it in the past. It was bothering me after the Underride Roundtable, and I emailed some people about it. This is what I sent to them:
I would like cleared up, once and for all, the misconception — if it is one — that deceleration forces would cause unintended injuries if the guards were made too strong. It pushes my button when I hear someone authoritatively say it — when I’m not sure that they are basing it on anything other than hearsay. I appreciated what Aaron Kiefer said in response to the comment made at the Roundtable about this and I would like it addressed so that it does not remain as one of the obstacles to more effective protection.
I had asked several people in the public health/injury prevention fields to attend but mostly they thought that underride was not their area of expertise. I, on the other hand, am convinced that we need the public health/medical people providing input.
As I have said many times, what people in the industry are saying does not make sense to me on many levels, including the fact that I survived a horrific truck crash and did so, as far as I am concerned, because I did not experience PCI/underride myself. I had many months of limping and leg cramps at night and painful neck and back tension probably due to whiplash and traumatic muscle memory. But that is all gone now and physically I am in great shape.
I received some very detailed responses to my question and will try to post them all tomorrow.
I am reminded of what Russ Rader, IIHS Communications VP, told me in May 2014–that it was safer to run into a brick wall than the back of a truck.