Monthly Archives: November 2017

Roya Christine Sadigh, you will always be missed. June 19, 1978 – November 24, 2004

Roya Christine Sadigh, beloved daughter of Lois Durso, I never knew you but I know that you will always be missed.
June 19, 1978 – November 24, 2004
 “Not having her here is unbearable.”

Retrofitting the millions of trucks on the road could mean people like this man would live to see another day.

Early in the day, as travelers made their way to Thanksgiving celebrations, WUSA9 reported that yet one more person has died due to a defective truck design.

One person is dead after a car ran off the road and then crashed into the back off a tractor trailer early Thursday morning in the Franconia area. 1 dead in Va. after car runs off road, crashes into tractor trailer

Retrofitting the millions of trucks on the road could mean people like this man would live to see another day.

A man has died after a car crash on the Capital Beltway early Thanksgiving morning, police say.

Christopher S. Padilla, 30, of Alexandria, was killed when his 2013 Honda Civil crashed into the back of a parked tractor-trailer in Franconia, Virginia, early Thursday, Virginia State Police said. 

The driver of the tractor-trailer had mechanical trouble early Thursday and pulled onto the right shoulder of I-495 just south of Exit 173/Van Dorn Avenue, police said. 

He inspected his vehicle and was about to drive away when he felt the impact of the crash. 

The front of Padilla’s car was forced under the rear of the tractor-trailer. Man Killed in Thanksgiving Day Crash on Beltway in Virginia

However, if the decision is made to not retrofit, many people will die as a result.

Yet one more family will dread the holidays because Death By Underride has been left unchecked.

I just learned about an underride crash in Nevada on Sunday. The photo in the news report tells the sad and senseless story.

The semi driver began braking and made an improper left turn into the dirt center median with signage marked “No U-Turn” and “Authorized Vehicles Only.” The driver of the Kia then struck the trailer of the semi causing the Kia to be partially pinned under the trailer.

A 3-year-old girl who was injured in Sunday’s crash on northbound Interstate 15 near Moapa has died.

The girl was airlifted to Sunrise Pediatrics with critical injuries and succumbed to the injuries sustained in the crash.

An 11-year-old boy who also was injured was taken by ambulance to UMC Trauma with serious but nonlife-threatening injuries. 3-year-old girl dies from injuries in crash on I-15 near Moapa

Also reported here: 3-year-old Utahn girl dies in crash involving semi on I-15

Yet one more family will dread the holidays because Death By Underride has been left unchecked. When will we act to end these senseless tragedies?

Why Has the Truck Underride Problem Been Left Unchecked for Decades?

Truck underride is what frequently happens when a passenger vehicle collides with a large truck. Because the truck was unfortunately defectively designed to be above the level of the crush zone of the smaller vehicle, the passenger vehicle goes under the truck and the crashworthy safety features of the car are not able to work. Or, to put it another way, the truck enters the occupant space of the passenger vehicle — too often resulting in horrific death and debilitating injuries.

Hundreds of people die this way every year — the victims of senseless, preventable death by underride.  Yet, for decades, this problem has been left unchecked. Little has been done to preserve the occupant space and make truck crashes more survivable. Why is that?

Basically, the government has waited for the trucking industry to prove that it could do something to prevent these deaths. The trucking industry, for its part, has been waiting for the government to tell it whether or not, and how, to address this problem — before devoting R & D resources to it in order to come up with solutions. Meanwhile, the unsuspecting traveling public is left vulnerable and precious blood continues to be needlessly spilled on our roads.

Stalemate. Catch 22. Limbo. Standstill. Impasse.

The STOP Underrides! Bill will break this deadlock and get the ball rolling so that creative engineers can put effective underride protection on every truck — resulting in more truck crash survivors who can live to see another day.

Find out more about underride at our Underride Guards Page.

I am a truck crash survivor & mom (of two who died) on a mission to make truck crashes more survivable!

I am the survivor of a terrible truck crash. I am the mom of two daughters who did not survive. The difference? Their part of the car went under the truck; mine did not.

In the aftermath, I found out that the rear underride guard could have been made stronger to withstand the crash so that AnnaLeah and Mary might — like me — have been survivors of a terrible truck crash. I learned that, if effective underride protection was installed on trucks, we could save hundreds of people who die every year when a truck enters their occupant space. So now, I am a mom on a mission to make truck crashes more survivable.

How did it come about? In October 2012, Jerry and I moved to North Carolina with the three youngest of our nine children. Four of the nine were going to college in Texas. When they all came home for Christmas break, we got the news that our oldest daughter, Rebekah, had just gotten engaged. We planned a big trip to Texas in May for the celebration of a wedding, four college graduations, and two family birthdays (AnnaLeah turning 18 & Vanessa turning 4).

Mary baked a seven-layer engagement cake to surprise Rebekah when she arrived for the holiday. Rebekah asked me to sew her wedding dress and we shopped for a pattern and material. In the ensuing months, Mary (13) served as a model for her sister’s wedding dress, and AnnaLeah sewed a little bride’s dress for a surprise birthday present for Vanessa.

On May 4, 2013, we packed our Crown Vic and headed for Texas. But the trip did not go as planned and it turned out to be AnnaLeah’s and Mary’s last journey they would make on this earth. We came upon slowed traffic on I-20 in Georgia (from a fatal crash two miles ahead, two hours earlier). We slowed down, but a truck driver did not — hitting our car and sending it into a spin so that the car went backward into the tractor-trailer ahead of us. The rear underride guard failed to withstand the crash and the back of the car went under the trailer.

AnnaLeah and Mary were in the backseat. AnnaLeah died at the scene and Mary a few days later from her very serious injuries.

In the four years following that day, we have been working hard to turn tragedy into advocacy — including the drafting of the STOP Underrides! Bill soon to be introduced in the U.S. Congress to mandate the installation of technology to end these preventable tragedies.

In memory of Roya, AnnaLeah, and Mary (and countless others!), let’s pass comprehensive underride protection legislation in order to STOP every kind of Underride tragedy!

More memories of Roya, AnnaLeah, & Mary — our precious ones, gone too soon: The Naming of an Underride Bill; Out of the Mouths of Babes

Stay tuned to HOW YOU CAN HELP get this bill passed once it is introduced in the near future (within three weeks).

How many votes will be needed for the STOP Underrides! Bill to pass?

My daughter, Rebekah Karth Chojnacki, is an Instructor for a First-Year Experience class at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her students were required to do a community service project as part of the class. They chose to work on our underride prevention advocacy efforts.

First they gave us some feedback on our various social media sites. Then they divided up into three groups and did some research to determine just how many votes we would need to get in order to pass the STOP Underrides! Bill — especially those hard-to-get Republican votes.

Here are the results:

Making progress toward better underride protection is a team effort involving many, many people; and I am thankful for the students’ practical assistance.  I hadn’t looked at the numbers previously and, when Rebekah shared the results of their class project, I thought, “Maybe this won’t be so hard to win after all!”

But wait. . .  Republicans chair the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Once the bill is introduced, we will definitely need these committees to take a lead and team up with us to end these preventable deaths  — because they play a key role in getting the bill to the floor for a vote.

Surely they don’t want people to die, do they?

 

Harvard Law Record: Preventing Death By Underride

Harvard Law Record, digital copy posted on November 14, 2017 in “Opinion”
Preventing Death by Underride

I met Ralph Nader in September 2016 at his Breaking Through Power Conference in DC. In June 2017, he asked me to write an Op-Ed on our efforts to bring about improved regulations for underride prevention.

Why would manufacturers & engineers not collaborate on underride research?

So, why would the various engineers & inventors & manufacturers choose to not collaborate? Seriously, I cannot think of any other reason than that they hope to get the competitive edge with their underride prevention technology. Make a higher profit. I’m willing to listen to other possible answers to my question.

Just think what that means. . . one more way that the value of human health and life is taking a back seat to economic gain.

But really, who is gaining and who is losing? I know that this is a simplistic look at the matter, but we shouldn’t forget the fact that Research & Development of technology to stop cars from going under trucks (or trucks from going inside cars) is not inexpensive. Crash testing is costly — the crash cars and crash trailers and crash dummies and cameras and analytical tools, not to mention the crash team.

So why on earth would we want multiple manufacturers and engineers to reinvent the wheel — wasting precious resources, time, money and ultimately human lives because of the delay?

Back in 2014, we were told by one manufacturer that, “we are not competitive about safety.” It is imprinted in my brain. Frankly, I’m not so sure I believe it, and the whole thing makes me very frustrated and angry and makes the grief all the more painful. Let’s pull our resources together and act like we truly want to solve this preventable problem.

Previous post on this: Grateful for commitment to Underride Prevention R & D, but is it enough?

Grateful for commitment to Underride Prevention R & D, but is it enough?

I am very grateful for the seemingly sincere commitment to research and development of underride prevention technology on the part of engineers whom I have met in these last four years. I often thank them personally. And, as I participate in crash testing and discuss the outcome of the testing with them, I gain an appreciation of the complexity of the problem.

But I have to ask myself if it is enough, if it is made the priority that solutions to save lives could and should be given. How much faster could we start making truck crashes more survivable if we put our mind to it?

I was reflecting last night on the three crash tests which I viewed in the last week in three different states. They involved the testing of underride prevention technology designed by three different engineering teams. All of a sudden, the question popped into my head, “How much faster would we be able to get effective underride solutions available to install on trucks if everybody that is working on the problem — or even thinking about it — would truly be collaborating?”

It is totally ridiculous that we allow marketplace competition to inhibit communication and slow down the process. Isn’t it, or is it just me? How many more lives could be saved if we more effectively put our heads together?

That was the original idea when we conceived of the Underride Roundtable.  Are we willing to do it like it’s never been done before and make this a joint effort?

Let’s follow the lead of medical researchers:

One of the most important ways the CMTA accelerates the research process is by putting together teams of top scientists recruited from an international body of scientific and clinical Key Opinion Leaders in CMT. The STAR program’s unique character stems from the willingness of the scientists to come together to advance CMT research collaboratively, sharing and communicating ideas, discoveries and research findings.

The CMTA’s funding and operations focus is on translational research that will lead as directly as possible to therapeutic treatments of CMT.  Truck Industry Could Take a Cue From Collaborative Medical Research Strategy

People are counting on it — whether they know it or not — because every day we delay is costly . . .

Afterthought: Why would manufacturers & engineers not collaborate on underride research?

 

Imagine if engineers collaborated to create effective underride solutions!

I was reflecting tonight on the three crash tests which I viewed in less than seven days in three different states with underride prevention technology designed by three different engineering teams. All of a sudden, the question popped into my head, “How much faster would we be able to get effective underride solutions available to install on trucks if everybody that is working on the problem — or even thinking about it — would truly be collaborating?”

It is totally ridiculous that we allow marketplace competition to inhibit communication and slow down the process. How many more lives could be saved if we more effectively put our heads together?

That was the original idea when we conceived of the Underride Roundtable.  Are we willing to do it like it’s never been done before and make this a joint effort?

Previous post on a similar topic: Urgent Underride Discussion of Deceleration Forces/High Speeds. Don’t Dawdle.