I just got back from an errand. Something triggered a memory of AnnaLeah & Mary. I think that it was driving by a park here in Rocky Mount to which Mary and AnnaLeah never got to go. We had lived here less than a year before the crash.
It made me wonder (as I do so often) what they might be doing right now. How might their lives have unfolded?
All my anger poured out, about how they have been cheated and how wrong it all is. I was yelling in my car, “Who gave power to the trucking industry over life & death matters? Who has the right to block efforts to end Preventable Death by Underride?”
And that is only one of the many safety issues involved.
Yesterday I was frustrated with the whole side guard issue and the well-known under-reporting of side underride fatalities (in fact, of all types of underride). As far as I can tell, it has contributed to more underride victims as a direct result of the inaccurate cost/benefit analysis that has taken place.
Of course — in case you didn’t already know — I think that the whole cost/benefit analysis basis of safety rulemaking is flawed and unethical and needs to be re-examined. I have clearly laid out my thoughts on this in a drafted Vision Zero Executive Order.
Two more areas which make me concerned — because they do not seem to be taking into account the whole picture — are:
- Hours of Service (Have truckers been asked what they think would work best?) and
- Speed Limiters (What will truckers do when they need to speed up to get around someone but their speed limiter technology will not allow it? And speed limiters will not change situations where drivers cause crashes because they are driving “too fast for conditions.”)
One trucker, Jeff Halling, recently said to me (regarding speed limiters),
“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.”
Both of these situations — in my mind — need someone to facilitate rulemaking who has only safety in mind. Such as a Traffic Safety Ombudsman.
And, one more thing. . . the pervasive idea in this country has to be confronted that it is an inevitable and acceptable risk you take when you drive on the roads, instead of understanding that there are so many things which could be done to prevent crash deaths.