Monthly Archives: February 2017

Truck Side Underride Investigative Report to be aired on The Today Show, 2/7/17 at 7:40 a.m.

NBC News NY has extensively interviewed multiple individuals and organizations on the issue of deadly truck side underride — including a trip to North Carolina last month to film Aaron Kiefer’s side guard crash test. They are now ready to air the story on Tuesday, February 7, at 7:40 a.m. on The Today Show.


Why put rear underride protection on trailers but not Single Unit Trucks? Any underride is deadly.

I ran across a study on underride fatality crashes this morning. I’d read it before but took a lot at it again. +

Then, this afternoon, while in city traffic, I saw an almost-side underride-crash between a car and Single Unit Truck (SUT). And when I arrived at a parking lot later, I saw a wimpy rear underride guard on a SUT.

So, why do we put rear underride guards on trailers but don’t require them on SUTs? (Not even mentioning that the current rear guard requirement is ineffective as written.) And why don’t we require side underride guards on any large trucks?

Truck underride is deadly no matter the truck size or portion of the truck the smaller vehicle rides under.

Trip North May 2015 033underride guards trip to RDU 007

SUT Underride guard Great Dane trip 061

+ For SUTs, the study showed that, “Considering all degrees of underride, trucks with a guard suffered slightly more underride than trucks with no rear-end protection, 69.5% to 66.7%. . . This result is counter to what would be expected, although it may be due to small, sample sizes and a host of other complicating factors. The severity threshold of the TIFA file may serve to decrease variation in the amount of underride by rear-end structure, since a fatality must occur for the crash to be included in the file. It could be that many of the collisions are beyond the design limits of the guards, and so the guards have no effect.” Underride in rear-end fatal truck crashes, Submitted to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, prepared by Daniel Blower Kenneth L. Campbell, The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, October 1999

In other words, the wimpy guards aren’t effective anyway, so even if a SUT has one, the guard usually doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do — which is to prevent deadly underride.

Current rulemaking on underride protection for SUTs is in limbo at NHTSA: ANPRM Underride Protection of Single Unit Trucks

Do we prize mobility more than safety?

Vision Zero: The Swedish-Inspired Way American Cities Are Trying to End Pedestrian Deaths, As dozens of cities try to emulate Sweden’s success, they’re learning what works and what doesn’t.

What is clear to Pollack, based on her research and safety campaigns she’s helped design in Baltimore and New York City, is that education campaigns won’t be enough on their own. Long-lasting changes depend on changes to the physical roads. “Engineering strategies are really important, because those are sustainable,” she says. “If you educate somebody today, they might move away and then you have to worry about the new people coming in tomorrow. With engineering strategies, such as putting in traffic calming or putting in lights with delays so that pedestrians can cross, those are really sustainable and important.”. . .

“For so many years, mobility was the No. 1 concern for our roadways,” she says, “and safety was not even really even considered. So having that shift in culture, where we prioritize safety over mobility, is something that I’ve learned is going to take a long time to change.”  The Swedish-Inspired Way American Cities Are Trying to End Pedestrian Deaths

Does it really have to be either/or? Mobility or safety? I don’t think so.

mobility safety

What will end our indifference to preventable deaths? I know we can figure this out.

I will turn their mourning into joy.

Then the virgin shall rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning into joy,
And will comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow.
Jeremiah 31:13
Mary in Lake Michigan
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me–
To bring good news to the affliccted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives,
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the lord;
Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.
Was it not Thou who cut Rahab in pieces,
Who pierced the dragon?
Was it not Thou who dried up the sea,
The waters of the great deep;
Who made the depths of the sea a pathway
For the redeemed to cross over?
So the ransomed of the LORD will return,
And come with joyful shouting to Zion;
And everlasting joy will be on their heads.
They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 51:9-11

Because in our great sorrow we also have great hope for the everlasting joy yet to come, so then we carry on with boldness and strength to tackle the great challenges which lay before us.

Trump’s EO allows for regulations related to “health, safety, financial or national security matters”

I could be wrong, but if what I just read is true, then President Trump is leaving the way open for regulations which would make us safer on the road.

President Trump issued Friday an order to executive agencies directing them to freeze all new regulations pending further review by Trump and his team. It’s unclear, however, whether this rule will affect any coming trucking regulations, especially since the administration’s memo, circulated by Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, allows for regulations related to “health, safety, financial or national security matters” to continue.

Now all we need is for public health and safety to be given the consideration it needs by means of Vision Zero rulemaking.

Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles
Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles

Should safety be standard state to state? Does gov’t owe us protection from vehicle violence?

A recent truck crash in North Carolina has raised some important questions.

In the mountains, truck drivers can quickly find themselves in dangerous positions.

On Jan. 23, 2017, crews spent 15 hours cleaning up the wreckage of a tractor trailer ripped apart and on its side after the driver traveled left of center on the narrow, twisting Chunn’s Cove Road. . .

The trucking industry and drivers, including Terry Creech, are pushing the Trump administration and Republicans to roll back safety requirements.

“I’m hoping he’ll deregulate the industry,” Creech said.

Creech and the American Trucking Association want Congress to block state laws requiring additional rest breaks beyond federal rules.  Special Report: Trucking past inspections you?, how safe are

Fortunately, not everyone thinks that way.

As part of the investigation, News 13 also reached out to Trans Tech, a truck driving training school in Arden. It disagrees with the ATA and claim safety regulations do work. While it sees a need for mandatory rest breaks, it believes requirements should be standard state to state. Special Report: Trucking past inspections you?, how safe are

If a safety measure can help to create safer trucking and driving conditions for all users of the road (i.e, keep us all alive), then, in my mind, it is commonsense to have it be standard state to state.

In what universe would it make sense to put in place a proven safety measure in one region but not in another? Are we one country of united states or a continent of separate countries? Is that a logical federal function or not?

I did think that one of the functions of the federal government was to protect its citizens. Or am I wrong about that?

Do we have a right to expect that our government will act to protect us from vehicle violence?

Who has the power

We rescue, Jesus saves.

And the School Bus Seat Belt Debate Lives On. And On.

The question comes up often: If cars and trucks have seat belts, why not the buses carrying some tens of millions of kids each day? And the School Bus Seat Belt Debate Lives On

That headline tells it all: the Debate Lives On. And on. Endless tug-of-war over safety issues. Ad nauseum.

How is it that we can’t seem to get these life and death matters resolved? Cost/benefit analysis. There’s your answer.

Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles
Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles

My answer to end this stalemate:

Unfortunately, I know all too well from experience that raising questions and demanding action are mostly a wasted effort and won’t bring about needed change in time to save countless lives from joining the rank of those gone too soon — when perhaps such tragedies could have been avoided.

In my opinion, we aren’t going to see much progress in many areas of traffic safety until we as a country take vehicle violence seriously. That is why I continue to call for for a more effective and united strategy:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal — make traffic safety a priority; Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of preventable death.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force — it is a multifaceted problem, not just a transportation issue.
  3. Adopt Vision Zero Rulemaking.
  4. Appoint an independent National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to serve as a vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence.
  5. Mobilize citizens to be part of the solution through a nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety community action groups.

Wake up, America! The Crash Death Clock is ticking away. . .

So, why aren’t we making a bigger dent in tragic crashes? America, we can do better than this!

What will it take to make a significant reduction in the number of people who die on our roads?


Do it, President Trump, for We the People of this United States of America!  Don’t let endless arguing over Cost rob us of loved ones who will never come back.


Unimaginable Grief of Preventable Crash Deaths: advocates tackling a public health problem head on.

Late last year, Neal Pollack interviewed me. He asked about our crash story and our family’s advocacy efforts. Then he proceeded to interview other traffic safety advocates as well. This is what he recently wrote:

The Unimaginable Grief of Distracted Driving Deaths How road safety advocates are tackling a public health problem head on.  BY NEAL POLLACK JANUARY 19, 2017

IMG_4519WarsawINFilmPhotographer_MIMemoria_Film_063 cropped


Generate a Greater Sense of Urgency to End Preventable Crash Fatalities

Our crash was not an accident; there were many factors which led to the collision and others which made it more tragic — like in the over 35,000 crash deaths in 2015.

Many things can be done to improve this situation — but too often these proven safety measures are neglected by us.

Why is that so? And what can we do to generate a greater sense of urgency in the people and leaders of our nation to tackle this problem more collaboratively and effectively?

Sign this petition: End Preventable Crash Fatalities: Appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman

Mad Mary



A Walk Through the Woods; A photo story from Mary’s camera. It is well with my soul.

Tonight, I needed to remind myself of the smiles and joyful attitude of Mary and AnnaLeah. The photos and music says it all.

A Walk Through the Woods; A photo story from Mary’s camera. It is well with my soul.

Photography by Mary Lydia Karth (with a few by her mom as well)

When the grief is too heavy too bear, the memories and music lift my soul.