How is it that I came to be a presenter at the Transportation Research Board’s First International Roadside Safety Conference, June 12-15, 2017, in San Francisco?
- Well, of course, first off I was in a horrific truck underride crash that took the lives of my two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) on May 4, 2013.
- Then, I learned that underride guards are terribly ineffective and all sorts of other unbelievable information about the state of safety on our roads.
- I also came in contact with many other people who are trying like me to improve underride protection in order to prevent other people from dying like my girls did.
- Then, my family and I gathered thousands of petition signatures calling for improvement and worked with other organizations to plan an Underride Roundtable on May 5, 2016, at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- So, then, in June 2016, after preparing an Underride Consensus document to present to DOT, I serendipitously found out about an upcoming roadside safety conference.
- I was copied (by mistake) on an email sent to some PhD students, reminding them of a deadline to submit an abstract to be considered for possible presentation at this conference.
- So, after checking with the email sender to see if underride was appropriate for this conference, I prepared an abstract and submitted it on June 28, 2016.
- I then got busy doing many other things including preparing a Comprehensive Underride Consensus Petition and forgot about the conference.
- Lo, and behold, I received another email on September 2, 2016, Dear Marianne, Congratulations!The Planning Group for TRB’s First International Roadside Safety Conference appreciates your submission of the abstract entitled Promising Research for Improved Heavy Vehicle Underride Prevention Structures and Data to Demonstrate Boundaries of Occupant Survivability in Collisions Between Large Trucks and Passenger Vehicles. We are pleased to inform you that we have selected your abstract for Presentation and Publication.
In order to proceed with the conference planning in a timely manner, the planning group asks that you upload your files no later than November 1, 2016.
- Well, I was amazed and not sure whether it made sense to proceed. It is not exactly the target audience to whom I would have imagined making a presentation. But if their focus is roadside safety, then I will take the opportunity to raise awareness about the underride problem and solutions.
- So, on November 1, 2016, I uploaded my revised abstract and underride research presentation paper.
- May the Lord bless this endeavor and work mightily to improve underride protection internationally.
- If He wills, San Francisco, here I come