Monthly Archives: January 2017

Please tell Marianne & Jerry that we believe in them:what they are doing can & WILL shape the industry.

I continue to be thankful and speechless at the response which we have received from G & P Trucking Company:

Please read this facebook post by Michelle Novak, a friend who lost her nephew in a truck crash:


I’m going to share this post by G&P Trucking Company so everyone can see the amazing difference that Marianne Waldron Karth , and her husband Jerry are making at the highest levels in the industry.

They responded to my comment of yesterday, and I want everyone in the TSC, and anyone who supports safer trucking, to read it. It made me cry to know that the heart of the man who runs this company has been touched so deeply by the Karths. This will save lives! People will be prevented from dying–and who knows how many?–by this kind of work the Karths tirelessly do! If you have any money, time or energy to give to the Karths as they crawl on pavement helping assemble under-ride guards that the industry will one day use, please offer it! These two are people who will persevere until they achieve a way to preserve life in memory of their daughters. I admit I’m not made of such stuff. But I do want to help.

If the comments don’t show up under the piece, please do go to their site, read it, leave a comment and sign up for their blog, which will be detailing their brand new safety effort. And do be sure to encourage the Karths as they labor to accomplish things i didn’t think were possible!

Michelle’s comments to her post:

  • Comment from Michelle Novak to the president of G & P Trucking: Mr. Clifton Parker, I’m sending a comment to thank you for your heartfelt and immediate response to a letter you received from a grieving parent who lost two daughters to a preventable under-ride crash. I’ll be following this up with an actual letter to express my gratitude in more detail, but wanted you to know how much what you’re doing means to those of us who have lost loved ones to companies that don’t focus on safety as number one. I have subscribed to your company’s blog and will follow what this company is doing to improve the safety of the industry as a whole.
  • Reply to Michelle from G & P Trucking: Ms. Michelle, thank you for your kind words! Mr. Parker was deeply affected by his conversation with Marianne. You should know, we had a safety meeting today detailing our goals to keep our equipment (and drivers) the safest on the road–and it stemmed from their conversation. In the following days, we will post more information about our plan in the company blog and social media outlets. Please tell Marianne and Jerry that we believe in them–what they are doing can AND WILL shape the industry.

Please Join Us In Thanking Other Trucking Companies For Their Voluntary Actions To Make Their Trucks Safer To Be Around:

  1. G & P Trucking Company: Online Contact Form
  2. Manac was the first trailer manufacturer to re-design their rear underride guard to protect against underride at the outer edges of the trailer. Online Questions & Comments Form
  3. Vanguard followed.
  4. Next came Wabash and JB Hunt who immediately ordered 4,000 new trailers with the improved guards from Wabash. Online Contact Form
  5. Stoughton was the fourth manufacturer to upgrade and was crash tested at the First Underride Roundtable at IIHS on May 5, 2016, three years after our crash. They have made the new guard standard on all new trailers and are offering it at no cost or weight penalty to their customers. Stoughton Contacts

Thank you 3

SAVE THE DATE for the Second Underride Roundtable: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

We will continue to discuss how to bring about


IIHS will once again co-host this event, with the Truck Safety Coalition and AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, at their Vehicle Research Center.

Trucking co. responds to dad’s plea to only use safe trucks: “Your request is not falling on deaf ears”

Today, I was taken by surprise when I got a phone call from Clifton Parker, President/CEO of G & P Trucking Company. He was responding to the letter which a bereaved dad (Jerry) sent to him — asking him to make sure that the trailers, which his company uses, have the strongest possible rear underride guards.

First of all, Mr. Parker told me how sorry he was about our loss of AnnaLeah and Mary. Then he told me several times how the letter had impacted him and how he wanted us to know that our appeal was not falling on deaf ears.

He then told me in great depth how in the last 24 hours since he received our letter, he had made the decision to send back the trailers which they had been renting from the companies which have not yet voluntarily stepped up and improved their rear underride guards. He had gone out in his yard and looked at the trailers and intends to follow-through and have his company figure out which trailers could be retrofitted to get stronger rear underride guards, including trailers with damaged guards — as well as making sure that new purchases have safer rear underride guards.

Jerry has written letters to trucking companies in the past with good results. Recently, he decided that it was time to contact some more companies. When we were traveling, we started making note of trailers produced by the four major manufacturers, who have not yet voluntarily stepped up to the challenge to offer better rear underride guards–Great Dane, Hyundai, Strick, and Utility. We would also write down the name of the trucking company (on the tractor) which was pulling that trailer and then we wrote them a letter.

Here is the letter which we sent to Clifton Parker earlier this week), Letter to G & P Trucking 2017 ,

including this excerpt:

We have been told that the initial correspondence which we sent, in early 2014, to the major trailer manufacturers, as well as to transport companies like Crete Carrier, has spurred three of the eight major trailer manufacturers—Wabash, Vanguard, and Stoughton—to design a new underride guard which surpasses the present U.S. and Canadian standards. A fourth, Manac, had already improved their guard a short time before our fatal underride crash. . .

We have observed that G & P Trucking is utilizing 1,500 trailers – at least some of them from Utility, who has not yet stepped up to the new de facto standards that are now in existence for the underride guard. This leaves your company in the position of having a liability exposure due to the trailers which you are presently utilizing. We are writing to encourage you to consider replacing your fleet of trailers from one of the four companies, who have voluntarily upgraded their trailers to safer standards.

Along with the letter, we included a hard copy of the IIHS Status Report which reported on our crash and on the weakness which IIHS had found in the current federal regulations for rear underride guards.

I cannot adequately describe to you what it meant to me to have Mr. Parker express his reaction and resulting actions upon reading the letter from our family — and to take the time to call us. He encouraged us to keep doing what we were doing, to keep making the industry safe.

If you would like to do join us in thanking Clifton Parker, you can write him at this address:

Clifton Parker, President
G & P Trucking
126 Access Road
Gaston, South Carolina 29053


And you can help us inform other trucking companies in the same way — because raising awareness seems to be making a big difference. Simply write down the manufacturer name on trailers which you see — like Great Dane, Hyundai, Strick, and Utility — and the name of the trucking company as marked on the tractor. Send that information to us at, or write to them yourself.

Roads Safer


“Traffic deaths surged in first 9 months of 2016”

Washington — Traffic deaths surged about 8 percent in the first nine months of last year, continuing an alarming upward spiral that began in late 2014, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates released Friday. . .

Read more here: Traffic deaths surged in first 9 months of 2016Joan Lowy, Associated Press, Published 11:16 a.m. ET Jan. 13, 2017

The NHTSA Report with the statistics (but not the tears) is at

Thus the Obama Administration is on track to record more than 250,000 deaths due to vehicle violence during 8 years in office. Lou Lombardo, Care for Crash Victims

Vehicle violence

Do it, President Obama, for We the People of this United States of America! #VisionZero

“GM Tells NHTSA Some Takata Airbag Safety Risks are Inconsequential”; Send your comment to NHTSA

The Takata airbag inflator saga continues as GM tells NHTSA some Takata airbag safety risks are inconsequential. As surprising as that may seem, the company asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to relieve it of any notification and remedy obligations pertaining to some passenger-side airbag inflators in its GMT900 vehicle platform. If granted, GM will not have to tell vehicle owners and lessors about the defects in these airbag inflators, much less replace them.

Takata filed a Defect Information Report (DIR) with NHTSA in May of 2016 when it discovered a defect in some of its passenger-side airbag inflators. When a DIR is filed by an automotive supplier, it then becomes the vehicle manufacturers’ responsibility to file a DIR of its own regarding the affected models. GM filed two DIRs on May 27, 2016. However, GM’s DIRs came with an attachment in which the company called the recalls “preliminary” as it didn’t agree that a defect actually existed in the inflators used in the GMT900 platform. GM’s statement included its expectations of providing NHTSA with “additional test data, analysis or other relevant and appropriate evidence in support of our belief that our vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety.” Despite that stance, the company added that it “will conduct a recall of its airbag inflators covered by the May 2016 Takata DIRs, unless GM is able to prove to NHTSA’s satisfaction that the inflators in its vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety.”

The company followed up in November 2016 with a petition to NHTSA asking to be absolved of its obligations to inform owners/lessors of the defect and to replace the defective parts.

GM Tells NHTSA Some Takata Airbag Safety Risks are Inconsequential

Read this article and submit comments to NHTSA by September 14, 2017.

Life & Death


AngelWing Side Guard Crash Test A Success!

Great progress is being made in underride protection on the sides of large trucks in the month of January 2017. While Aaron Kiefer is preparing for a crash test of his innovative TrailerSafe System side/rear guard on January 20 in North Carolina, Airflow Deflector tested Perry Ponder’s Angel Wing side guard design in New York.


The Angel Wing crash test was declared a success: the side guard prevented the side of the trailer from going past the windshield thus promising protection from Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI). In other words, it is likely that, due to the side guard in combination with the crashworthiness of the car, no one would have been killed or seriously injured by the collision between the side of this truck and a smaller passenger vehicle.

Side underride is not a new problem. For too long, nothing has been done about it. Yet here are two unique and innovative solutions to protect us from deadly side underride. Two Life-Savers.

I count myself privileged to be cheering these innovative and compassionate engineers on in their important work which will save countless lives. Now, here’s to getting these marvelous inventions onto the trucks we all drive around each day. . .

Unexpected adventure: mom rustles up a truck part to repair a damaged underride guard!

When the used trailer got delivered to Aaron Kiefer for his crash test, he noticed that the rear underride guard was damaged. As soon as he told me that, and that after the test he might rent the trailer out to drivers, I said, “I don’t want that trailer out on the road unless the guard is repaired!” No way do I want to knowingly put someone at risk!

Of course, that meant that I was about to embark that morning on an unexpected adventure. . .

Never in a million years did I expect to be 61 years old and driving around Raleigh to a truck parts store where, for $125, I purchased a “bumper tube” — they didn’t know what I meant when I asked for a horizontal bar for a rear underride guard for a trailer. I guess, many in the industry (like the driving public) don’t realize that the “bumper” on the back of a semi-trailer isn’t just to protect the truck from bumping into loading docks.

No, that replacement tube/bar has a label which clearly says:

Failure to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act Standards FMVSS 223/224 (US) or FMVSS 223 (Canada) could result in injury to occupants of another vehicle in the event of a rear end collision with the trailer which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.



Yet, how many trailers are out on the road with rear underride guards in a state of disrepair — like this one was — and not adhering to the FMVSS requirement to keep the guard in a like-new condition so that it is not weakened and lead to an untimely death or life-altering injury?

Enforcement of Proper Maintenance of Truck Underride Guards.pdf

And, by the way, why on earth doesn’t the replacement bar come with the reflective tape on it which they are required by law to have on the guard (so that other vehicles have a better chance of noticing them)?

Here’s the damaged guard:

KIMG0012KIMG0010 KIMG0009 KIMG0008

Here it is after Aaron replaced the horizontal bar with the new bumper tube which I picked up in my Yukon and delivered to where the crash test trailer is awaiting the installation of a side guard for its January 20, 2017, crash test:

KIMG0016KIMG0017KIMG0022KIMG0023KIMG0025Repaired Rear Guard

As it is, the current federal rear underride guard federal standard only requires a weaker-than-technologically-possible protective device. Couldn’t the industry at least maintain the existing guards in the best possible condition?

And, if they would please — when they do repair their guards — take the time to add Aaron’s newly-developed rear attachment to the outer edges to make their existing guard as strong as possible, I would really appreciate it!


Partner With Us To Protect Vulnerable Victims of Underride Crashes Partner with us to bring about a crash test of Aaron Kiefer’s life-saving and innovative truck side/rear guard on January 20, 2017. We have thought of a way that you could participate in the production & testing of his latest professional-grade prototype.

Amid ongoing debate over role of speed: “Michigan Approves Higher Speed Limits” Who is right?

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation which:

. . . authorizes a 75 mph speed limit on 600 miles of freeways and a 65 mph limit on 900 miles of non-freeway roads. The bill also raises the maximum speed limit for trucks from 60 to 65 mph.

. . . the goal is to raise speed limits where 85 percent of drivers are already traveling at higher speeds and will protect motorists from being unnecessarily ticketed in “speed traps.”

It is also thought that less people exceeding the legal speed limit will allow law enforcement to focus on impaired, distracted or careless driving. . .

The bill will go into effect within one year if the study says it is safe. Michigan Approves Higher Speed Limits, Go By Truck Global News, Updated: January 10, 2017

Another article provides further insight:

“Ensuring that all Michiganders are safe while operating vehicles on our state’s roadways is critically important, and these bills allow for appropriately increased speed limits on certain roadways after safety studies are conducted,” Snyder said.

The main bill requires the Michigan Department of Transportation and Department of State Police to raise speed limits to 75 miles per hour on 600 miles of rural, limited-access freeways if a safety and engineering study deems it safe.

The bills also allow for speed limit changes in other areas, including:

  • Speed limits on gravel roads in counties with populations over 1 million would decrease to 45 miles per hour.
  • Up to 900 miles of rural state trunk line highways would see hikes to 65 miles per hour. 75-mph speed limits officially coming to Michigan, By Emily Lawler |
    on January 05, 2017 at 11:47 AM, updated January 05, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Reading the comments to this article reminds me of my goal to revolutionize traffic safety advocacy by mobilizing the citizens of our country to get to the bottom of traffic safety issues and come up with solutions which show more concern for keeping people safe than saving corporate profit or protecting individual rights or relying solely on common sense and a sense of personal responsibility.

And I wonder what will happen when this engineering study is completed. What will Michigan do with the results? What will the rest of the states (and the cities therein) and the federal government do with the results? How will it be compared to traffic fatality statistics which show that speed is a factor in way too many crashes? Will we learn to intentionally design our roadways safer and set speed limits accordingly? Will this impact decision-making on truck speed limiters?

Is it possible that we could become a culture suitably enlightened and motivated to truly make safety a priority? Would a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman work to make sure that this was so?


To what lengths would you go to protect your loved ones?

Sometimes it seems like it is just too much to tackle — trying to do everything we can to protect our loved ones. But there is so much which can be done to prevent unnecessary tragedies — especially if we all pull together to do so. How could we walk away and leave anything undone?

Please pray for a multitude of details to come together to bring about Aaron Kiefer’s SIDE GUARD Crash Test on January 20, 2017. It seems like an insurmountable mountain and a shortage of time & resources. Time to speak to that mountain. . .

Specific Need: If anyone knows a truck owner, who would be interested in helping out with his/her tractor on January 20, please point ’em in my direction!

Partner With Us To Protect Vulnerable Victims of Underride Crashes

Partner with us to bring about a crash test of Aaron Kiefer’s life-saving truck side guard on January 20, 2017. We have thought of a way that you could participate in the production & testing of his latest professional-grade prototype.

We want to know if you would like to receive a specially-designed T-shirt — with Mary & AnnaLeah in mind — for a donation to this UNDERRIDE RESEARCH PROJECT/Crash Test:

  • You would receive a shirt like this for a minimum $20 donation:

    IJK Interactive
  • You would receive a shirt like this for a minimum $25 donation:

    IJK Interactive

We are trying to figure out if we should move ahead with this T-shirt project. Another upcoming T-shirt design will be Christopher. Please let us know if you might like to have one of these shirts to support our underride research efforts in memory of AnnaLeah & Mary.


Aaron Kiefer is making great progress on the development of his innovative side/rear guard for large trucks. Recently, he asked me if I would like to create a logo for the rear aluminum attachment piece of it which will attach to existing rear underride guards — thus strengthening them to better be able to prevent rear underride — and to which the side guard portion attaches.

So I sat down with my family to brainstorm ideas for a logo. A couple of years ago, we had done the same thing to come up with a name and logo for our non-profit organization:

LOGO AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety
design by Isaac Karth, IJK Interactive

Aaron already calls his invention — which uniquely provides continuous protection around the side and rear of trailers — the TrailerGuard System.

In our brainstorming, we decided that we could call the side portion of his life-saving invention the Christopher Guard for the patron saint/advocate of travelers — keeping in mind AnnaLeah’s dragon and calling it Christopher, who would guard against sure death (my idea).


And we could call the rear attachment portion — which is designed to attach to the existing rear guard (making it more likely to prevent the guillotine effect of truck underride) — the Bono Guard for the patron saint, Beuno or Bono (Latin, bonus = good), known for the protection of children  — using the image of Mary’s St. Bernard Gertie (my idea).


Aaron’s invention:

underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-012 underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-016 underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-054 underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-060

See a crash test of Aaron’s original version of his TrailerSafe System in the Spring of 2016:


More information about Aaron’s invention:

Wonderful memories of Mary and her St. Bernard, Gertie (the inspiration for Bono):

Mary’s Life With Gertie; Her Best Friend to the End

NHTSA Seeks Comments on Import of Ferrari With Questionable Side Airbags; Yes or No?

I don’t have the answer to this technical question; I hope someone figures it out before it is too late for someone else.

NHTSA has extended Public Comment Period to February 16, 2017 on the question of whether nonconforming model year (MY) 2013 and 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta passenger cars (PCs) are eligible for importation into the United States.

On December 7, 2016, NHTSA published a notice (at 81 FR 88318) that it had received a petition to decide that nonconforming model year (MY) 2013 and 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta passenger cars (PCs) are eligible for importation into the United States. The notice solicited public comments on the petition and stated that the closing date for comments is January 6, 2017.

This is to notify the public that NHTSA is extending the comment period on this petition, and allowing it to run until February 6, 2017. This extension is based on a request dated December 21, 2016, from Ferrari North America, Inc., and Ferrari SpA, (collectively “Ferrari”) the vehicle’s manufacturer. Ferrari stated that in its view an extension was needed because a portion of the comment period will be lost due to the holidays (during which time Ferrari SpA’s facilities will be closed), and because of the complexity of the technical analysis necessary to evaluate the petition and prepare any comments. Ferrari requests this extension especially with regard to FMVSS No. 208 conformance—in particular, the passenger-side airbag weight sensing system.

Ferrari also stated its view that an extension of the comment period will not prejudice the parties or cause undue delay, but will afford Ferrari the opportunity to fully evaluate the petition in order to determine the appropriate content of any Ferrari comments.

NHTSA has granted Ferrari’s request. All comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated above will be considered, and will be available for examination in the docket at the above address both before and after that date. To the extent possible, comments filed after the closing date will also be considered. Notice of final action on the petition will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

Make a Public Comment on the Federal Register before February 6, 2017: