Monthly Archives: August 2016

Growing list of concerns about driverless cars

Concerns about driverless cars pop up more often than not. Some which I read today:

  1. NHTSA creates safety vacuum: Opposing view, Clarence Ditlow, USA Today,  Driverless vehicles are a marketing marvel. But it’s not a safety miracle as the auto industry and its captive regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, claim. In its zeal to advance driverless vehicles, NHTSA has forgotten its mission is to ensure safety, not promote gee-whiz vehicle technology to increase sales. It is an inherent conflict of interest for any agency to both promote and regulate technology. . .
  2. The other bump on path to driverless cars: Crumbling roads Richard Truett Automotive News You should take claims of self-driving cars being road-ready soon with a 50-pound bag of salt, not a grain.

    While automakers, suppliers and ride providers such as Uber race to develop and deploy the technology, one aspect of self-driving cars is not being reported on much, if at all: The nation’s infrastructure is simply not ready for cars that can drive themselves 100 percent safely, 100 percent of the time. . . 

Could a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman advocate for solutions to these and other traffic safety issues? Just sayin’. . .


Mini Quilt with Many Memories of Mary & AnnaLeah

After I finished the second patchwork quilt with squares of clothes worn by AnnaLeah and Mary, Jerry noticed that I didn’t know what to do with myself when sitting and watching TV at night. So he asked if I had enough of their clothes left to make a baby quilt for our grandson. I hadn’t thought that I could make anything else because I knew that there wasn’t enough to make another big quilt.

But that sounded like a good possibility. So I went to the attic and brought down the tub and, sure enough, there were enough pieces of this and that for me to start drawing 4 inch (instead of 10 inch) squares. And I’m looking forward to seeing what I can create with these.

But I will tell you this. . . it isn’t easy to cut up those clothes which they once wore. It is nothing like cutting a piece of material from the fabric store–fresh with possibilities. Every cut stirs up reminders that this was once worn by a living, loving girl who is here no more.

Mini quilt squares 013

Mary enjoyed sewing practical creative things

Whimsical Creations by Mary

AnnaLeah. . . Unrealized Creative Potential

FRONT Underrun Protection Systems (FUPS) Research; So why does Europe require this & US does not?

I have been trying to collect as much information as possible on the deadly dilemma of the truck override which occurs when a truck and car have a head-on collision.

  1. Truck tractor cabs may be equipped with a Front Underrun Protection System (FUPS)
  2. IIHS 2009 TestimonyResearch in Europe has investigated front underride guards, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 93 requires such guards.  NHTSA also should require adequate front, side, and rear underride guards on new tractors and trailers. Statement before the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Emerging vehicle safety issues, May 18, 2009, Stephen Oesch, also contains an Attachment: Federal rulemaking on truck underride guards 
  6. Front Underrun or Underride Guards, Underride Network
  7. Volvo Trucks India: Protecting Other Road-Users :The different heights of trucks and cars have always constituted a safety problem in traffic, not least if a head-on collision should occur.Now, we are proud to offer a solution in the shape of Volvo’s Front Underrun Protection System (FUPS), which is fitted as standard on Volvo FH and Volvo FM models.The FUPS prevents passenger cars from becoming wedged under the truck’s front in a frontal collision, and thereby reduces the risk of serious injuries and increases the survival rate for the car’s occupants. The underrun protection beam serves as a 200 mm deep crumple zone, considerably reducing penetration into the car’s passenger compartment. With the truck bumper situated on the same level as that of a typical car bumper, the deformation zone of the car can be utilised in the best possible way.

    The FUPS comes fully integrated into the cab’s structure in the FH and FM series, but does not add any extra weight.

  8. Robustness and Reliability of Front Underrun Protection Systems, Master’s Thesis in Solid and Fluid Mechanics JOHANNES FRAMBY & DAVID LANTZ
  9. Front underrun protective systems and devices are used on heavy vehicles. Their problem of compatibility with other road users is a serious issue. Trucks are stiff, heavy and high and pose a serious threat to occupants of other vehicles in the event of an impact. Frontal car-to-truck collisions are the most common impact type in crashes where trucks are involved. . .  In EU it is mandatory for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to have a rigid front underrun protection system. Studies have also shown that passenger cars can ‘survive’ a frontal truck collision with a speed of 75 km/h if the truck is equipped with an energy absorbing underrun protective system. In order for a Front Underrun Protective System to be approved laboratory testing has to be carried out in accordance with the procedures described in UN ECE Regulation No. 93. Tests also have to be carried out in by a test facility approved by the road agency (transport department). TEST TO FRONT UNDERRUN PROTECTIVE SYSTEMS
  10. FUPS BullbarsFront Underrun Protection Systems (FUPS) are barriers integrated into the front of trucks OR built as specially designed bullbars and bumpers.The benefits of FUPS are significant:Injuries are minimised by preventing smaller vehicles from going underneath the front of trucks in the event of an accident.
    • FUPS ensure that the crash forces are evenly distributed across the front of the truck.
    • FUPS ensure that the safety features of passenger vehicles (such as air bags and crumple zones) are activated during a collision.
    • FUPS can prevent the car damaging the trucks steering – allowing the truck to be bought to a controlled stop.

    Australian FUPS are made to UNECE Regulation No 93 Standards. The regulation requires that the Front Underrun Protection Device must withstand certain forces, have a smooth front with a face of 100mm to distribute the crash forces, and have a maximum ground clearance of 400mm.

    The fitment of a FUPS is one of the requirements to operate a 26 metre B-Double within Australia. Provided the truck has the cab strength required this may also enable you to have an extra 500kg on the front axle.

  11. Front underrun protection systems for trucks. Considerations about the bullet and target vehicles for a test procedure
  12. Front underrun protection European Commission, Transport, Road SafetyDue to the size and mass of heavy vehicles, the problem of compatibility with other road users is a serious issue. Trucks are stiff, heavy and high and pose a serious threat to occupants of other vehicles in the event of an impact. Frontal car-to-truck collisions are the most common impact type in crashes where trucks are involved.It has been estimated that energy-absorbing front, rear and side under-run protection could reduce deaths in car to lorry impacts by about 12% [100]. An EU requirement was introduced in 2000 based on ECE Regulation 93 requiring mandatory rigid front underrun protection defining a rigid front underrun protection system for trucks with a gross weight over 3.5 tonnes Directive 2000/40/EEC. Studies performed by EEVC WG 14 have shown that passenger cars can ‘survive’ a frontal truck collision with a relative speed of 75 km/h if the truck is equipped with an energy absorbing underrun protection system. Furthermore, these systems could reduce about 1,176 deaths and 23,660 seriously injured car occupants in Europe per year. Research shows that the benefits of a mandatory specification for energy absorbing front underrun protection would exceed the costs, even if the safety effect of these measures was as low as 5% [37]. Energy absorbing systems are available from all truck manufacturers as an optional device but almost none are sold. A test procedure for legislative action is under development VC Compat.
  13. Front underrun protection The front underrun protection prevents smaller vehicles in frontal crashes from being dragged under the body of a large truck. In its function as a high-strength steel abutment, it activates the energy-absorbing areas of the body of the advancing vehicle (crumple zones) so that the energy of the collision can be dissipated.
  14. In head-on collisions of bonnet-type cars (sedans, wagons, hatchbacks, etc., hereafter referred to simply as cars) and heavy trucks, the car often under runs the front of the truck, and the car crew received the serious or fatal injuries. The crash safety performance of the car depends on the way its structural parts interact with the structural parts of the truck. Front Underrun Protection Device equipment that prevents the car from under running the truck is obligatory in India. The Required strength and ground clearance of FUPDs are specified in the relevant regulations used in India. Accidents between cars and trucks are among the most fatal accidents because of the car under running. This phenomenon leads to serious and fatal injuries for car occupants because of intrusion of the car structure into the passenger compartment. This has led to the development of test procedure for energy-absorbing front under run protection systems for trucks. There is a summary of accident analysis of several European countries, where we can read that of the 48000 fatally injured people in road traffic accidents in 1992, 13000 people were killed in accident with trucks involved, about 7000 were car occupants and 4200 of them were killed in car-to-truck frontal collisions.In the same time, in 1994, a collaboration in France between Renault VI (truck manufacturer) and INRETS has begun. The research program set up is based on a experimental design to determine the effect of the vehicle masses, the overlap and the closing speed and the effect of the Front Under run Protection Device on mechanical and biomechanical characteristics. This experimental design is presented which is also analysed and made available to use as a valid Front Under run Protection Device for trucks. Design and Optimization of Front Underrun Protection Device      Dr. T. Ramamohan Rao1 , A. Rama Krishna, IOSR Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (IOSR-JMCE) e-ISSN: 2278-1684,p-ISSN: 2320-334X, Volume 8, Issue 2 (Jul. – Aug. 2013), PP 19-25                                                                                                                                         Conclusions:  Head on collision contribute significant amount of serious accidents which causes driver fatalities. The car safety performances can work effectively by providing FUPD to the heavy trucks. The trucks with UPD can reduce the car driver fatalities by 40 % In India, for Front Under-run Protection Device, IS 14812:2005 regulation is required in for the trucks to meet the safety requirement to protect under running of the passenger car. In above said design, the maximum displacement of FUPD bar is limited to 179mm hence it meet the requirements as per IS 14812:2005. But this needs to be confirmed with physical testing in future. The virtual simulation is tool which can be used to avoid or reduce the physical testing of mechanical systems and components. Overall effect of this is cost saving and same is done with FUPD analysis. As per above results optimized model is safe, more strength and low weight mode suits the best suggested design. Weight reduction achieved by optimization result is 6%, compared to base third Model and displacement is about 5% and Stress is 6%.Finally we conclude that the optimized model results are less than the third design model. By this we can say that optimized front under run protection device is selected. Front under run protection is achieved less weight, less displacement and less stress so that for the passenger who is sitting in the car having high safety by placing this optimized model. We can suggest to automobile industries to keep this type of Front Underrun Protection Device to truck, busses etc which saves the life of passenger with less injury.
  15. Investigating the (length) constraints imposed by the Front Underrun Protection Regulation CONCLUSIONS: Crashes involving an underrun are likely to be severe because a car’s structural strength and passive safety systems – such as crumple zones – are unlikely to confer their full safety benefit. Many trucks/trailers are fitted with some form of underrun protection, however few trucks are equipped to fully minimise the possibility of an underrun. As a passive safety device, underrun protection will not reduce the number of crashes involving trucks and lighter vehicles. However, they can ensure that crashes that do occur are less severe than they might otherwise have been. The economic benefit of this reduction in crash severity substantially exceeds the cost of fitting them to trucks, up to a cost of $1,000 for a package of underrun protection for the front, sides and rear of all trucks (the benefit also exceeds the costs for individual underrun devices). This benefit is accrued over a device lifetime of at least 15 years, and is higher for articulated trucks than for rigid trucks. Further work is needed to develop a minimum standard for underrun protection devices for each side of a truck/trailer combination. 

So. . . tell me again why it is that we do not have Front Underrun Protection on every truck in the United States!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Other posts on front override:

Front Override 008

Best Protection

Feds allow GM to sell recalled cars: Safety, I don’t think that word means what you think it means

Feds criticized for allowing GM to sell recalled cars:

Consumer groups are criticizing federal regulators for allowing General Motors Co. to potentially sell unrepaired used cars that have been recalled.

The Center for Auto Safety said Friday a loophole in a recent decision by the Federal Trade Commission could allow GM to sell cars that have safety defects if drivers are notified about open recalls. . .

Tsk, tsk, tsk. . .when will the industry own up to their implicit part in the highway carnage that results from the improper handling of manufacturing defects?


Safety: I do not think that word means what you think it means.

You can say that Safety is a Priority. But when you are told that something which you produce is not safe and you do not do anything to change it, are you really making safety a priority? I say that you are giving a very serious matter lip service.

When an “accident” happens and you look the other way rather than getting to the bottom of it, then I say that it is making light of my daughters’ deaths.

When you point the finger at someone else to take the blame for the consequences, rather than acknowledge your own part, then I say that you have become a bigger part of the problem.

I say that you do not care about providing the best possible protection, and safety is most certainly not your priority.

Safety: I do not think that word means what you think it means.


Safety is not a priority 002

Let’s appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman to oversee this fiasco.

Speed Limiters: The Controversy of Speed Differentials Between Trucks & Cars

The DOT recently published a proposed rule to require “speed limiters” on trucks — meaning there would be technology on trucks to limit how fast they could run. There is, of course, controversy about this proposed safety measure.

See the proposed rule (NPRM) at this link: U.S. DOT Proposes Speed Limiters For Large Commercial Vehicles

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) supports it. Some major trucking companies already use them.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) opposes it:  Among the various concerns the organization has are the possibility that truckers will speed more often in low-speed areas, such as construction zones, to make up time, and the potential for drivers to lose money because they couldn’t drive as many miles in a day.

According to Joel Stocksdale, Autoblog,

NHTSA’s proposal says vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more must be limited to 60, 65 or 68 mph. This would apply to both semi-trucks and buses. NHTSA explains that the amount of force a truck will exert in a crash goes up far more drastically than with cars because of the vehicle’s great mass; hence, a lower speed limit with more seriously impact safety. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx summed it up saying, “This is basic physics.” The organization also said that requiring limiters could also save over $1 billion in fuel each year.

I have corresponded with one independent truck owner-operator, Jeff Halling (and Linda, his wife–a truck driver team), about this safety issue (among others). This is what he says,

  • Personally Linda and I think this is a terrible idea. Not because we want to drive 80 miles an hour but because it totally eliminates our advantage of getting out of a situation if we have to speed up a little bit. Every credible study that has ever been conducted says traffic flows better when everyone is running the same speed. Several states have actually increased the truck speed to coincide with that of cars. Illinois and Arkansas being the most recent. Folks driving cars generally drive anywhere from 5 to 10 to 15 miles an hour above the posted limit. Trucks stuck at 65 will create major rear-end hazards. Not to mention the incredible traffic jams and road rages that will increase dramatically. The only way speed limiters will work is if all vehicles have them and we both know that’ll never happen. Very interested to see what the report says this week.
  • Can you imagine how this will affect the Move Over Law. I’m running down the interstate stuck at 65 cars are running 80 and 85 miles an hour. An emergency vehicle is on the shoulder in front of me what do I do. If I move over it’s guaranteed rear-end crash. If I slow down to 40 miles an hour which is what they recommend another possibility of rear-end crash. Just not a good idea.
  • I can say this though. If this law does pass we definitely need to get stronger rear end guards on trailers. Because rear-end crashes will go up ten fold.

Jeff and his wife (they are a trucking team) recently had a good conversation, about truck safety concerns, with an Idaho DOT vehicle inspector while they were being inspected. This is what he told them:

  • While we never touched on the subject of speed limiters he did say he did not like speed differentials. Although we got the impression he wanted to lower the limit for cars not raise it for trucks. Makes sense everybody drives too damn fast.

In fact, I found a September 2004 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) article on research related to this topic: The Safety Impacts of Differential Speed Limits on Rural Interstate Highways . They study the impact of Uniform Speed Limits (USL) and Differential Speed Limits (DSDL). Here are a couple of quotes from that article:

  • A 1974 study by Hall and Dickinson showed that speed differences contributed to crashes, primarily rear end and lane change collisions.
  • Table 1 shows that a higher proportion of car-into-truck and truck-into-car crashes occurred in USL States, except for rear end crashes where more car-into truck collisions happened in the DSL group.
  • A study by Garber and Gadiraju conducted in 1991 compared crash rates in the adjacent States of Virginia (DSL) and West Virginia (USL).(3) The increase in the posted speed limit for trucks to 105 km/h (65 mi/h) did not result in a significant increase in fatal, injury, and overall accident rates. There was, however, some evidence that the DSL may increase some types of crash rates while reducing others.

It will be some time before every car is equipped with crash avoidance technology, so cars rear-ending trucks will continue to be a problem and underride deaths will still be a problem until the underride regulation is drastically improved.

And, even with the crash avoidance technology, what will be the result of high speed differentials? Will the cars truly avoid colliding with the truck? Will the trucking industry be required to protect against underride at higher speed collisions than what is currently proposed: 35 mph?

Here is a previous post which I wrote on speed limiters last spring:

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

How is it that I, as a self-made (Ha! like I had a choice) safety advocate, am waffling on this purported safety measure? Do these things ever get a truly comprehensive discussion around the table?

Talkin together

Yet one more traffic safety issue which could perhaps be more effectively negotiated with the help of a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman. . . just sayin’.

UPDATE, February 26, 2017:

Cinnamon & Ants: Making Sense Out of a Truck Crash Tragedy

Two years ago, I wrote a facebook post about what ants & cinnamon had taught me about truck crash tragedy and grief. I was reminded of that this morning as our family is, once again, battling a kitchen ant invasion.

Here is the postCinnamon & Ants: Making Sense Out Of Tragedy
Ants invaded our kitchen last week–through the windows. We had tried pesticide on the floor by the door the week before and they clearly re-routed.

One morning, when I came out to the kitchen, I discovered over 100 ants marching one by one (boo! boo!).

Now they were tiny and easily squashed with my finger, but they were all over the counter and windowsill and I needed to be doing other things with my time. So I sprayed them with my citrus spray and that took care of those unwelcome invaders.

Of course, they were only the tip of the iceberg. So I. . .

Well, you will have to read the rest of the story here: Cinnamon & Ants: Making Sense Out Of Tragedy

And here is the video that goes with it:

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“Money At Root of Takata’s Tragic History”

Talking about SAFETY becomes meaningless when no one really values human life over making a profit. When will we get that and say that we have had enough?

Latest email from Lou Lombardo:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

NY Times publishes an excellent article on victims of vehicle violence due to air bag defects known for more than a decade.

“In the late 1990s, General Motors got an unexpected and enticing offer. A little-known Japanese supplier, Takata, had designed a much cheaper automotive airbag.

G.M. turned to its airbag supplier — the Swedish-American company Autoliv — and asked it to match the cheaper design or risk losing the automaker’s business, according to Linda Rink, who was a senior scientist at Autoliv assigned to the G.M. account at the time.

But when Autoliv’s scientists studied the Takata airbag, they found that it relied on a dangerously volatile compound in its inflater, a critical part that causes the airbag to expand.

“We just said, ‘No, we can’t do it. We’re not going to use it,’” said Robert Taylor, Autoliv’s head chemist until 2010.

Today, that compound is at the heart of the largest automotive safety recall in history. At least 14 people have been killed and more than 100 have been injured by faulty inflaters made by Takata. More than 100 million of its airbags have been installed in cars in the United States by General Motors and 16 other automakers.

Details of G.M.’s decision-making process almost 20 years ago, which has not been reported previously, suggest that a quest for savings of just a few dollars per airbag compromised a critical safety device, resulting in passenger deaths. The findings also indicate that automakers played a far more active role in the prelude to the crisis: Rather than being the victims of Takata’s missteps, automakers pressed their suppliers to put cost before all else.”

NY Times also publishes a useful article on what consumers can and should know and do.

“Defective airbags made by Takata have been tied to at least 14 deaths and more than 100 injuries. The ensuing recall — the largest in automotive history — has turned out to be messy, confusing and frustrating for car owners.”

These stories need to be widely shared.  They give us all useful information on the root of vehicle violence: money.

Life & Death11wjd2
What can the American people do about this?
Safety is not a priority 002

NHTSA asking for Comments on guideline to address growing problem of distracted & drowsy driving

I just received a notification that NHTSA is asking for Public Comments on a new guideline which they have developed for states to address the growing problem of distracted and drowsy driving. This follows recent news about the number of crash deaths so far in 2016 which has increased from the crash deaths in 2015 which increased from the crash deaths in 2013  — which included my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13).

NHTSA has developed a new guideline on distracted and drowsy driving, No. 9, to address these growing problems. This new guideline will help States develop plans to address distracted and drowsy driving. In 2014, ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes. These proportions have remained stable over the past five years of reported data. In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distraction-affected drivers. Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers killed in the age range who were distracted at the time of the crashes. Lastly, in 2014, there were 520 non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists, killed in distraction-affected crashes. (1) The limitations of these data are described in an April 2016 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note (DOT HS 812 260). (2)

Current estimates range from 2 percent to 20 percent of annual traffic deaths attributable to driver drowsiness. According to NHTSA, annually on average from 2009 to 2013, there were over 72,000 police-reported crashes involving drowsy drivers, injuring more than an estimated 41,000 people, and killing more than 800. (3) By using a multiple imputation methodology, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver. (4) This estimate suggests that more than 5,000 people died in drowsy-driving-related motor vehicle crashes across the United States last year. Research conducted in 2012 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed drivers ages 16-24 were the most likely to report having fallen asleep while driving within the past year. (5) Finally, the AAA Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Index reported that nearly all drivers (97.0%) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior; however, nearly 1 in 3 (31.5%) admitted to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month. (6)

It is important that States begin to address the problems of distracted and drowsy driving. This guideline is designed to help policymakers with decisions about how best to address these growing issues.

READ MORE HERE:  Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines

Irreversible tragedies

Please comment here by September 22, 2016: Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines

DWF = Driving While Fatigued (or Drowsy Driving)

Driver fatigue can affect any driver–you included, or the driver of a vehicle in which you are a passenger.

“…Driving while fatigued is comparable to driving drunk, only there is not the same social stigma attached. Like alcohol, fatigue affects our ability to drive by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and impairing judgment. Driving while sleep impaired is a significant issue, and is no longer tolerated. Legislation {in Canada} is beginning to change by handling collisions cause by a fatigued driver as seriously as alcohol-impaired crashes.”

Posts on this topic:

Our truck crash may have involved a tired trucker:

Tired Trucker Roundtable

A National Traffic Safety Ombudsman could help to facilitate a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero Community Action/Advocacy Groups to get citizens involved in working to solve this kind of problem, as well as other traffic safety issues.

Why would we suppress available technology that could be put to use to protect innocent lives?

Call on the Lord. Trust in Him. Rely on His strength.
41b AnnaLeah armor
The Battle is the LORD’s!
Surely it would be His will for available technology to be put to use to protect innocent lives.
Then Asa called to the LORD his God, and said, ‘Lord, there is no one besides Thee to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name have come against this multitude. O LORD, Thou are our God; let not man prevail against Thee.’
2 Chronicles 14:11
Car Safety Wars11wjd2Gertie reaching for Mary ...Susanna's film25 AnnaLeah Jesus Loves Me 052
Trip North May 2015 138IMG_4467

Remembering Mary & AnnaLeah with another patchwork quilt of memories

Finished Quilt #2 last night. . . a hand-sewn patchwork quilt. Every square of AnnaLeah’s and Mary’s clothes sewn together by hand and with loving remembrance:

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See lots more photos here:

And here is Quilt #1 – finished last summer:

Remembering Mary & AnnaLeah in a Patchwork Quilt of Memories