Monthly Archives: November 2016

Wondering whether new Sec. of Transportation will have a genuine & effective safety focus

The current Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, was my first experience with the challenges of making SAFETY truly a priority. His words to us on September 12, 2013, “I promise you will see tangible progress on these issues in a short period of time,” was the springboard for our AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition delivered to Washington in May 2014 — one year after our tragic truck crash.


I wonder whether the next Secretary of Transportation will be motivated and allowed to have a genuine and effective SAFETY focus.


Will the next Secretary of Transportation be authorized to carry out Vision Zero Rulemaking?

“Powers of the Pen and Our Safety”; Presidential & Congressional Potential

Take heed. How might we best respond in this situation of political unrest to protect and advance safety?

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

The NY Times has two articles that raise the question of the pen being mightier than the sword.

The President’s Pen – Regulations
“Dozens of major regulations passed recently by the Obama administration — including far-reaching changes on health care, consumer protections and environmental safety — could be undone with the stroke of a pen by Donald J. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress starting in January, thanks to a little-used law that dates back to 1996.

And it comes with a scorched-earth kicker: If the law is used to strike down a rule, the federal agency that issued it is barred from enacting similar regulation again in the future.

The obscure law — called the Congressional Review Act — was passed 20 years ago at the behest of Newt Gingrich, then the House speaker and now a member of Mr. Trump’s transition team. It gives Congress 60 legislative days to review and override major regulations enacted by federal agencies. In the Senate, the vote would not be subject to filibuster.

The president can veto the rejection, which usually renders the law toothless. But when one party controls both the White House and Congress, it can be a powerful legislative weapon.

So far it has only been successfully used once: In 2001, a Republican Congress invoked it to eliminate workplace safety regulations adopted in the final months of President Clinton’s tenure. President George W. Bush signed the repeal two months after his inauguration, wiping out stricter ergonomics rules that had been 10 years in the making.

On Jan. 20, when Mr. Trump takes office with a Republican-controlled Congress — one that has indicated its zeal for undoing President Obama’s doings — more than 150 rules adopted since late May are potentially vulnerable to the ax, according to an analysis by the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center.

“It allows the election results to be applied almost retroactively, to snip off activity that happened at the end of the last administration,” said Adam Levitin, a law professor at Georgetown.”  See /16/business/with-trumps-signa ture-obamas-rules-could-fall. html?emc=edit_tnt_20161115& nlid=37926955&tntemail0=y&_r=0


The Corporate Executive Pens – Designs
After steady declines over the last four decades, highway fatalities last year recorded the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. And the numbers so far this year are even worse. In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  See statistics at gov/Api/Public/ ViewPublication/812332

“This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now,” Mark R. Rosekind, the head of the agency, said in an interview….

“Most new vehicles sold today have software that connects to a smartphone and allows drivers to place phone calls, dictate texts and use apps hands-free. Ford Motor has its Sync system, for example. Others, including Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz, offer their own interfaces as well as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.

Automakers say these systems enable customers to concentrate on driving even while interacting with their smartphones.

“The whole principle is to bring voice recognition to customers so they can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Alan Hall, a spokesman for Ford, which began installing Sync in cars in 2007….

But Deborah Hersman, president of the nonprofit National Safety Council and a former chairwoman of the federal National Transportation Safety Board, said it was not clear how much those various technologies reduced distraction — or, instead, encouraged people to use even more functions on their phones while driving. And freeing the drivers’ hands does not necessarily clear their heads.  “It’s the cognitive workload on your brain that’s the problem,” Ms. Hersman said….

“Insurance companies, which closely track auto accidents, are convinced that the increasing use of electronic devices while driving is the biggest cause of the rise in road fatalities, according to Robert Gordon, a senior vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“This is a serious public safety concern for the nation,”  See 11/16/business/tech- distractions-blamed-for-rise- in-traffic-fatalities.html


The Pens of the Press and The People – Our Safety

These two article in the NY Times show how we the people need the press to provide the public with the information to use our own pens to protect our safety and happiness. 

Our pens can and must need be the mightiest – especially in this new world of connected citizenry.

Here’s hope for a safer future for all.

Lou Lombardo

Lou Lombardo

Who has the power

“Crash Analysis of Front UnderRun Protection Device using Finite Element Analysis” research from India

Truck Front Underrun Protection Research from India:

Crash Analysis of Front under Run Protection Device using Finite Element Analysis, IOSR Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (IOSR-JMCE) e-ISSN: 2278-1684,p-ISSN: 2320-334X, Volume 9, Issue 1 (Sep. – Oct. 2013), PP 49-56, Santosh Pandimukkula.,Venkata Narayana Yenugula 1 (Mechanical Departmen,Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology/JNTUH, INDIA) 2 (Mechanical Departmen,Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology/JNTUH, INDIA)


In head-on collisions of bonnet-type cars (sedans, wagons, hatchbacks, etc., here after 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. FUPD 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. . .

IV. Conclusion

1. Head on collision contribute significant amount of serious accidents due to lack of FUPD in heavy trucks.

2. As per Indian standard IS 14812:2005 regulation the Front Under-run Protection Device is designed using Nx8.0 software and analysed by commercial finite element software and found satisfactory results.

3. The maximum displacement, Von mises stresses and strains under impact load of FUPD bar in different cases are studied to meet the requirements as per IS 14812:2005, and this results are to be compared with experimental results.

4. With the above used CAE tools we can reduce the time and increase the productivity of the design and avoid the costly experimental testing.

5. As per above three results second model is safe, strength and low weight model.

6. We can suggest to automobile industries to keep this type of FUPD to car, gypsy, truck, busses…Etc. which saves the life of passenger with less injury.

Best Protection

Tribute to Clarence Ditlow. . . long-time car safety advocate to whom we owe our gratitude

Fair Warning has provided us with yet another tribute to Clarence Ditlow. . . long-time car safety advocate to whom we owe our gratitude.

The Loss of a Consumer Champion, November 15, 2016

I had very little contact with Clarence. But I did have some correspondence with him this year as I was preparing for the Underride Roundtable and also for the Consensus Document which came out of that.  He shared that he was unable to take on that battle due to some major health issues which he was dealing with at that time.

I received this email from Clarence in June:

We are cleaning  up old NHTSA  rulemaking dockets for which we have paper files. At some point in time after 1995, became the official repository for federal agency rulemaking dockets including NHTSA’s.   We are taking a sample of dockets each year from 1996 going forward until we are sure we have the point in time at which became 100% reliable & we can throw away our paper files from that point.

We stumbled across this docket in our sample & sent it to you & Ben as a courtesy to people with a greater interest in and ability to pursue truck underride than the Center.

I have the belief that if I come across something that may be of interest to others, I send it to them.


I replied:

Thank you for carrying out your belief.


Thank you, Clarence. For everything.

Thank you

If amber signals are noticed before red ones & could prevent more crashes, why aren’t they standard?

A trucker friend posted on facebook that he is trying to figure out ways to increase the visibility on his truck’s turn signals. He mentioned that studies show that people see the amber lights before the red ones.

So he and his wife (a trucker team) are having the shop install custom Amber strobes hooked into the turn signals. Thank you, Jeff and Linda, for going way beyond compliance to make the roads safer!

How many are doing this? Would it help? If so, why isn’t it standard? Because this simple safety measure, if mandated, could SAVE LIVES.

Read the commentaries below on this issue and then tell me why you think Vision Zero Rulemaking and a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman are not really important to make sure that things like this get addressed in a timely fashion and thus ensure that SAFETY is really the priority!

There has been support for amber signals in America since the 1960s; indeed, in 1963, amber frontturn signals were adopted, replacing white signals, because amber is quickly discerned from the white headlights and reflections of sunlight off chrome. But automakers rejected amber rear signals as “not cost effective.” Preventing crashes with amber turn signals

Imagine that!

Studies show that amber turn signals reduce accidents, yet most signal lamps on the rear ends of North American automobiles, trucks and trailers are red. Why? Because amber’s not legally required, and it’s simpler and cheaper to use red for all rear-facing lamps.

Stern, the automotive writer, is perplexed that NHTSA doesn’t require amber rear turn signals. Amber Rear Turn Signals Are Safer Than Red, But Few Use Them

Both And

Hopeful news despite post-election blues: Working together to make a difference despite differences

The day after the election, I participated in a conference call to plan the Second Underride Roundtable. You see the election results have not stopped a group of people who care about making trucks safer. We are moving forward to again bring together another diverse set of people and organizations in a politics-free attempt to provide better underride protection on trucks.

Of course, that does not mean that we are all on the exact same page with precisely the same goals. But the fact remains that we will be gathering together around the table to discuss real problems and tangible solutions.

And then the day after that, I had the privilege of joining my daughter, Rebekah Chojnacki, via webcam as we presented our family’s crash story and safety advocacy efforts to an undergraduate class at the University of Texas in Arlington. They are learning about what public health is and, on Thursday, they were introduced to a real-life public health problem — truck underride injuries and horrific deaths — and a public health strategy to prevent such tragedies. And along with that, we talked about the public health problem of driver fatigue as well as the stressful life of a truck driver.

I don’t know if this group of students will catch the vision of becoming a pilot project Vision Zero/Traffic Safety community action/advocacy group which could serve as a model for students and citizens nationwide becoming active together in a positive way to make a difference and work to move us toward zero crash deaths and serious injuries.

And I don’t know if UTA will become my host facility to help me organize a Tired Trucker Roundtable. But they might be. Or this might be the inspiration for some other city or university or student or citizen group to take on these goals.

But I do know that my daughter told me that many of them were crying because our story touched them in a deep way. And I do know that many of them asked very relevant and appropriate questions. They got it and after only a simple half-hour presentation.

And if only our country will learn to work with one another — not simply waiting around for someone else to solve the problems — we could make a significant impact.

Here is what I shared with that class: presentation-to-uta-public-health-class

Roads Safer

Well, that felt good to tell about those hopeful things. It became a positive channel of the anger and frustration which I have been feeling increasingly of late toward those who did not take responsibility in a way that could have prevented my daughters’ deaths and, even more, who continue to point the finger of blame at someone else or simply shrug off their part in this quest to prevent ever more unnecessary tragedies.

How To Maneuver Around A Truck Safely; Tips from prof’l truck drivers via FMCSA

Check out these tips for how to maneuver around a truck safely:

How to Maneuver Around a Truck Safely

10.52 a.m. Crown Vic May 4 2013

New rear underride guard is std. at one trailer manufacturer; 4 manufacturers have passed IIHS test

Four trailer manufacturers have passed the IIHS offset crash test with their new rear underride guard designs. Here is a recent article about one of those manufacturers who has made it standard on their newly-manufactured trailers:

Stoughton engineers were challenged to design a guard based on the recommendations of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The challenge was met without adding weight, without negatively affecting aerodynamics, and without reducing the robustness of the undercarriage and rear structure. Better yet, the guard is one of only three on the market to pass the difficult 30-degree offset crash test.

Read more here: New under-ride guard is standard

Roads Safer

Read more here:

“Clarence Ditlow’s long, hard & great work for safety for more more than 4 decades made us all safer.”

I never met Clarence Ditlow but have heard so much about all that he did for auto safety. I am sad to have to pass along the news of his recent death. . .

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

I am beyond sad to pass along this announcement of a tragic loss for humanity.  Clarence’s long, hard and great work for safety for more more than 4 decades made us all safer.
“November 11, 2016

Clarence M. Ditlow, III, the Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety since 1976, died on November 10 at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington. He was 72 years old.

Spanning four decades, his work forced the auto industry to make vast improvements in the safety, reliability and fuel efficiency of the vehicles on which Americans depend daily.

His accomplishments included safety recalls of tens of millions of vehicles that saved untold thousands of lives, and lemon laws in all 50 states.  Since the center was founded in 1970, the death rate on America’s roads has dropped dramatically, from 5.2 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 1969 to 1.1 per 100 million vehicle miles in 2010. Ralph Nader and Consumers Union established the Center to provide consumers a voice for auto safety and quality in Washington and to help owners of “lemon” vehicles fight back across the country.

Under Mr. Ditlow, the Center played a major role in these recalls, among others: 6.7 million Chevrolets for defective engine mounts, 15 million Firestone 500 tires, 1.5 million Ford Pintos for exploding gas tanks, and 3 million Evenflo child seats for defective latches.

In the past seven years alone, the Center was the primary force behind the recalls of 7 million Toyotas for sudden acceleration, 2 million Jeeps for fuel tank fires, 11 million GM vehicles for defective ignition switches, and more than 60 million faulty Takata airbag inflators.”

Time magazine’s cover of October 17, 2016 has a centuries old quote of wisdom and insight: “Whoever saves one life, saves all of humanity”.

Clarence’s work has saved and continues to save countless lives.

See tribute to this safety leader at [with video at ].

Lou Lombardo

Never forgotten

Lifelong Republican questions party support of industry profit vs bipartisan solutions to save lives

As a lifelong Republican and mom of two who were the innocent victims of Vehicle Safety Wars, I have observed the “Republican” support of Industry Profit rather than Preservation of Human Life.

Republicans generally oppose government involvement and regulation. The problem I have with that is the reality which I have painfully discovered that “safety is not an accident” — it doesn’t just happen by itself. Without rules and regulations and enforcement and justice and requirements, chaos and injury and death are more likely to occur.

I have previously written posts on this topic. . .

Face-to-face with our congressman, George Holding, to discuss truck safety concerns :

I shared with Congressman Holding that I had grown up as a Republican and was quite surprised after our crash to find out that, in general, the Republican party line related to truck safety legislation consistently appeared to be pro-trucking industry and anti-safety. I am puzzled why there cannot be bipartisan solutions to these issues. [I would have to say that I prefer smaller government. But I do think that protecting its citizens is one of the basic purposes of government. “Truck safety” is, for the most part, about protecting travelers on the road. It is a public health problem and should get bipartisan support.]

His response — a typical one — was that Republicans generally oppose government involvement and regulation. The problem I have with that is the reality which I have painfully discovered that “safety is not an accident” — it doesn’t just happen by itself. Without rules and regulations and enforcement and justice and requirements, chaos and injury and death are more likely to occur.

At least I have not seen a better alternative. Have you? . . 

Delivery of a Vision Zero Petition to Washington; What I have learned in our battle for safer roads:

Due to the complexity of the issue, no one is currently held accountable, responsible, or liable for preventing these deaths which occur upon collision of a passenger vehicle with a larger commercial motor vehicle. Remember, we are not talking here about who was to blame for the collision occurring in the first place.

Can we possibly find our way to work together in our great nation through the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of our government–in a cooperative, concerted effort with private industry, research engineers, safety advocates, and the insurance industry– to bring about the best possible protection for We the People?

Can we agree to share the costs of what the solution will require so that the burden of the problem is shifted from the victims, who experience life needlessly cut short or devastatingly changed by horrific injuries, and their families who are faced with unexpected, traumatic, too-often-bitter, and unending grief?

Right this minute, I must admit, I am discouraged right along with the many others who have tried to bring about change for decades. Nonetheless, I choose to remain hopeful that this is not insurmountable and that we are well on our way to victory as we continue to shed light on traffic safety problems and call for truth, justice, and mercy to prevail. . .

1a85etUnsafe Trucks