The Naming of an Underride Bill; Out of the Mouths of Babes

Ever since we began sharing about our crash so that we could help to make trucks safer, people have been touched by the story of AnnaLeah and Mary. They tell us how they can’t drive down the highway and see trucks without thinking about them. It clearly touches their heads & hearts. They get what rear underride is.

The same is true when Lois Durso shares the story of her daughter Roya’s crash. People suddenly understand what a side underride crash is and why we are working to prevent these kinds of tragedies. Tears come to their eyes.

So that is why — when we saw that no one was doing anything to mandate side guards, front guards, and stronger rear guards on new trucks, including single unit [box] trucks, as well as retrofit existing trucks with the same life-saving protection and making sure that they were properly maintained — we decided to draft comprehensive underride protection legislation ourselves.

And, when we were figuring out what to call the bill, we naturally named it for what was so very precious to us — our beloved daughters, who were no more. We wrote it in memory of the countless loved ones whose lives had been forever changed — each of whom are very precious to the loved ones they left behind.

It has become our calling card: the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 (RAMCUP). And we are concerned that we are being asked to take the girls’ names off of the bill title (so that other underride victims will not feel left out) — not because we think that they are more important than anyone else, but rather because we believe that their stories have been what have helped to bring national attention to this issue and better understanding of the problem, along with a willingness to do whatever it takes to end it. We would like to keep that momentum going until this bill gets passed.

In fact, it would never be possible to include a list of names in a bill which would honor all the victims of underride. There are thousands of them and, furthermore, because it is a hidden problem, many people might not even realize that underride was involved in their loved one’s death.

But it is our hope that we will be able to plan significant ways to honor those who have been injured or lost their lives through an underride crash, such as a Remembrance Ceremony in D.C. or an underride personal crash story interactive map and a webpage on the DOT website — giving family members a positive way to be involved in the effort to get effective underride protection on all trucks and to remember their loved ones in a special way. Hey, they could even get a shirt printed with their loved one’s picture and name on it!

December 13, 2017, UPDATE: We now have an Interactive Underride Crash Story Map. We have only just begun to add links to the countless underride tragedy stories. If you have information on an underride crash, or would like to add more details about the people touched by these tragedies, email us at underridemap@gmail.com. Here is the map.

Just recently, Lois texted me with this encouragement:

The Lord is speaking to my heart — do not worry, all is well. He is my praise, hope, and strength.

Then she shared this story which made my heart hurt:

Today, my daughter-in-law was wearing her RAMCUP shirt. My 20 month-old granddaughter, Miriam Roya, pointed to and said the names of Roya, AnnaLeah and Mary. . . Even a baby can remember our beautiful daughters.

Miriam Roya, who will never know her Aunt Roya

Miriam’s daddy, Cyrus, with his sister Roya

We’re with you, Miriam. . . we will always remember this very important bill as the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 — because it is our great love for those three girls, and our sense of urgency that no one else should undergo this kind of preventable loss, which has fueled our efforts to make sure that this major public health problem gets properly taken care of.

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