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

As I was contemplating whether to go next week to Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power: A Historic Civic MobilizationI checked my email and saw that there was a new Public Comment posted on the Federal Register regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Underride Guards.

I quickly went to the site and saw that the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association had posted a comment (see their comments in the PDFs below). Apparently our Underride Roundtable two weeks ago at IIHS has spurred them to spell out the steps which have been taken over the years to squash side underride guards from being mandated and manufactured.



The rationale: Cost/Benefit Analysis shows that adding side guard protection from underride of trucks by passenger vehicles is not cost-effective.

“In its 1991 Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation of proposed guards for rear underride, NHTSA’s Plans and Policy Office of Regulatory Analysis stated: “Combination truck side underride counter-measures have been determined not to be cost-effective.” [Docket I-11; Notice 9; Comment 002, page 15 (emphasis added) {by TTMA}].”

Translate that: If this attitude and rulemaking policy is allowed to continue unabated, then innocent, unsuspecting travelers on our road will continue to experience preventable underride crashes and receive a Sentence of Death by Preventable Underride. And no one will be held responsible for that!!!

And, yes, TTMA is repeating the oft-heard industry argument that the solution is to concentrate on Crash Avoidance Technology instead–as if it were an either/or not a both/and question!

Meanwhile, people will continue to needlessly die — like AnnaLeah and Mary — and people like me will undergo tremendously traumatic  grief multiplied exponentially by the anger and frustration of knowing that it might well have been prevented were it not for the endless opposition to implementing solutions which are readily available.

And, no, I cannot imagine that it would have to weigh the 750 pounds which they claim it will (which the NHTSA cost/benefit analysis is based upon, by the way). I helped roll up the side guard designed by Aaron Kiefer last month and it did not weigh that much. I just talked to Aaron and he estimates that his side guard, once in mass production, might weigh about 175 pounds. Currently, his  prototype, when combining the weight of it on both sides of the truck, weighs in at 204 pounds.

And, by the way, look at this crash test of Aaron’s side guard, which I witnessed in North Carolina less than a month ago:

Somebody, please get me an audience with President Obama next week (now I have to go to that conference). I need him to tell me to my face that it is not a matter of life & death for him to adopt a National Vision Zero Goal, to establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force, and to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order which will pave the way for Vision Zero Rulemaking at DOT.

Of course, what I would really like to have happen is to speak with him, have him catch the vision and promise me that he will actually take those actions. Wouldn’t that be exciting!

However, if President Obama does not do so, TTMA has clearly shown us that nothing will be any different and any new underride rule issued will likely continue to be weak and ineffective.  When it is Technologically Unnecessary for that to be so. And then who will be ethically responsible for the continued carnage on the highways of this great country?!

That’s what I want to know.

IMG_4465Vision Zero Petition screenshot 001

Underride Roundtable To Consider Underride Research From Around the Globe

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