All posts by Marianne

Perfect Opportunity to Transform SuperTruck Into An ESV To Advance Underride Protection; DOT & DOE?

I learned this week about the money being poured into the SuperTruck project administered by DOE. I can’t get past amazement that they have not included safety goals in this project. Here is the perfect opportunity to transform the SuperTruck into an Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) — without having to do it as a totally new project.

Okay, I can get past it because I am not going to stop until I find answers to my questions and agreement to transform this into an interagency collaborative effort to save fuel/costs and, by the way, lives, too!

I will be in Washington, D.C., anyway on March 1 for a Road to Zero Coalition quarterly meeting. How about I find a way to instigate a joint meeting at that time between DOE, DOT, and someone from a Transportation Committee on The Hill? Like maybe Senator Thune?

This emphasizes the need for a White House Traffic Safety/Vision Task Force to facilitate better collaboration and communication on matters related to road safety, including establishing a position of Traffic Safety Ombudsman to be a vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence. Not to mention the better application of trucking industry money toward joint safety efforts in projects like this, including establishing and funding an Underride Specialist/Consultant/Researcher/Engineer to work full-time on these issues, with a budget to do safety testing at places like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Here is our chance to harness the resources of our government and creative minds in the trucking industry to advance comprehensive and effective underride protection on large trucks. What are we waiting for?

Haven’t we waited long enough already?

https://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-announces-137-million-investment-commercial-and-passenger-vehicle

Boost efficiency? What about saving lives?

Comments From Petition Signers On The Push To Get Side Guards On Large Trucks

Every signature on our Side Guard Petition helps us take the message to our country’s leaders that we want effective side underride protection on all trucks. They don’t need to add a comment. But I found it interesting, when I checked the petition this morning, to find quite a few comments added.

For example,

I am one of the lucky ones. In a Buffalo suburb, the semi in front of me rotated 90 degrees and was headed north on an east-west Interstate. I barely had time to think of my family, and Jayne Mansfield. Fortunately, I was able to aim my car at the “head end” of the rig. My Alfa Romeo and my seat belt protected me well while the rear end of the car (I was told later) left the ground on impact. Although it happened back in the late 1970s, I often recall that frightening moment when I pass a semi on a highway. I look under the side of the trailer and wonder why there are no side guards.

and,

My daughter which is 4 years old & I had a semi pull out in front of us from off the side of the shoulder on a roadway to do a “U-turn” & the semi driver obviously didn’t see my car & proceeded. Thank gosh my brakes worked really good cause if they didn’t we would’ve been the next victims. But driving now these days it always haunts me the vision I had that day of my daughter & I being killed because of the stupidity of that 1 semi driver! This law needs to be passed & I stand strongly on this issue!

and,

It is salient that this protection will save lives. It is also salient that the trucking industry contributes millions to politicians so they can save money on truck modifications. I got a message to the industry: Stop paying off politicians and channel that money into safety rails. And to the politicians: Represent us the people, not the trucking industry. We are watching you.

and,

I have two degrees in Driver and Traffic Safety and taught Driver Education for 30 years. I don’t care if it “would” or “could” save lives. Anything to help protect us is worth the effort and cost.

and,

simple safety feature that will save lives

See more here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/251/762/472/end-deadly-side-underride-crashes-mandate-side-guards-on-large-trucks/

Clearly, this safety measure makes sense to people. What do you think?

DOE pours millions into SuperTruck fuel savings research projects; $0 devoted to side underride protection?

How is it that the DOE and Volvo poured resources into research and development of SuperTrucks but did not bother to (as far as I can tell, though I am not done looking into this yet) include improved underride protection as a goal of this project?!

  1. http://www.truckinginfo.com/ channel/fuel-smarts/news/ story/2016/09/volvo-s- supertruck-exceeds-epa- freight-efficiency-goals.aspx
  2. I have not been able to get Wabash to return my communications. I am trying to find out if they did any crash testing with their full-length skirts or what material it is made out of: http://news. wabashnational.com/wabash- national-demonstrates- concepts-for-next-generation- aerodynamic-solutions-on- navistars-supertruck
  3. DOE’s Navistar : http://www.truckinginfo.com/ news/story/2016/09/navistar- supertruck-beats-doe- efficiency-goals-hits-13-mpg. aspx
  4. Aerodynamic improvements that reduce the trailer’s drag coefficient by more than 30%. The vehicle is part of the DOE’s SuperTruck program – a five-year research and development initiative aimed at improving freight efficiency, based in the measure of the payload carried while burning less fuel.

Its objective is to develop and demonstrate a 50% improvement in overall freight efficiency on a Class 8 tractor-trailer vehicle as measured in ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel.

Could they not have combined resources with DOT to accomplish such a thing?

Again, cost-savings over life-savings.

Can we use the potential fuel efficiency cost-savings of side guards advantageously to win the cost/benefit analysis battle?

Super Truck II is announced! Let’s get DOT to be involved with this project! $20,000 fuel savings/year could go to safety research!!!!!!!!!!!!

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was present for the unveiling of Volvo’s SuperTruck concept/demo rig in Washington, D.C. Here’s what he had to say about reaching the DOE’s next step in the fuel economy/freight efficiency project: SuperTruck II. http://www.truckinginfo. com/video/detail/2016/09/on- the-spot-reaching-for- supertruck-ii-video.aspx

More information on this SuperTruck project and random frustrated reactions:

$20 million in federal funding for the Super Truck II project and we can’t get diddly for side guard research?!?!?!!?!

http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fuel-smarts/news/story/2016/08/volvo-group-outlines-supertruck-ii-plans.aspx  Volvo Group has outlined how it plans to use $20 million in federal funding to further the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty trucks as part of the SuperTruck II initiative.

Volvo Group said its team of researchers and engineers will use alternative engine designs and an integrated system approach to build a lightweight tractor-trailer concept that will exceed the freight efficiency goal of 100% improvement on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis compared to a 2009 baseline. The team is also tasked with demonstrating powertrain capable of 55% brake thermal efficiency. Volvo Group and its partners will match the development funds dollar-for-dollar.

To achieve these goals, the company plans to leverage its experience in vehicle development along with established partnerships with advanced technology and trailer equipment vendors.

Those partners include Michelin Americas Research Company for tires, Wabash National for trailers, Metalso for lightweight frames, Johnson-Matthey for exhaust aftertreatment systems, and Peloton Technology for platooning and connected vehicle tech. . .

Daimler Trucks North America will develop and demonstrate a tractor-trailer combination using a suite of technologies including active aerodynamics, cylinder deactivation, hybridization, and the electrification of accessories. . .

For more information on the DOE’s alternative fuel technology investment, click herehttps://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/vehicle-technologies-office

Related: DOE Commits $137M to Advance Fuel-Efficient Tech  http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fuel-smarts/news/story/2016/08/doe-commits-137-million-to-advance-fuel-efficient-tech.aspx

Yet more disturbing information:

This gives links to multiple articles on the SuperTruck project: http://www.truckinginfo.com/list/tag/supertruck.aspx

Trailer aerodynamics have become increasingly important in recent years as truck operators see that they can save fuel money. They’re so important that the federal government is paying several teams of truck and trailer makers to design concept rigs that show what’s possible in this area of science.

As far back as the 1980s I’ve written about various types of trailer aero fairings, from Nose Cones to TrailerTails and many brands of skirts and other appendages in between.

Here’s one I don’t recall writing about, at least not lately: the UnderTray and other products from SmartTruck. The company has posted a YouTube video depicting a tractor-trailer moving through the air at highway speed, with streamlines showing how the devices smooth air flow over the vehicle. Check it out here

Also note the Diffuser, SmartTruck’s device mounted ahead of the rear underride guard that redirects air away from its vertical and horizontal members. These otherwise grab at the air and create drag. (Old timers still call this the “ICC bumper” because the old Interstate Commerce Commission required them, something I definitely don’t recall being a fact, but it’s part of trucking vocabulary.)

The trailer portion of Freightliner’s SuperTruck of course got large panels that improve air flow around corners, deep skirts to keep air away from the Strick van’s undercarriage and tandem, and a boat tail similar to a Trailer Tail, but home-made. One would expect all of those.

What?!?!?!?!?!?! All of this government money going into research & development for fuel savings but not a word or project related to underride protection/SAFETY?!

See recent Public Comments to NHTSA. You, too, can speak up to end preventable truck underride.

You, too, can let NHTSA know what you want them to do about the problem of preventable truck side underride. In addition to signing the Side Guard Petition which we have launched online, you can also post a comment directly to NHTSA on the Federal Register.

Although the official Public Comment period is closed, comments will still be posted and taken into consideration by NHTSA, as they have not yet put together a Final Rule on truck underride protection.

I have received notifications the last few days regarding new postings to the Federal Register of Public Comments from people asking DOT/NHTSA to mandate side guards! I am assuming that this is in response to my request for people to do so to help bring about change. 🙂 See the recent Public Comments here:

You can do it, too! SUBMIT a Public Comment to DOT/NHTSA here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NHTSA-2015-0118 After you get to this site, click on the COMMENT NOW button.

Don’t forget to sign the Side Guard PETITION

Center for Auto Safety seeks Exec. Dir. to replace the late Clarence Ditlow’s work in auto safety advocacy.

The Center for Auto Safety is seeking an individual to replace the late Clarence Ditlow’s important work in auto safety advocacy.

Safety leaders gathered in January to honor the more than 40 years of work by Clarence M. Ditlow III in saving millions of Americans from death and injuries from vehicle violence. Joan Claybrook announced a goal of raising $5 million to continue Clarence’s work at the Center for Auto Safety (CAS).1

In a brief video Clarence, introduced by Ralph Nader, summarized his successful strategy to advance safety and consumer protection by establishing legal rights and remedies for the people and the legal profession. . . 

The Center for Auto Safety is seeking an Executive Director

The job description reveals some of what Clarence did and what it took to accomplish.

Clarence is irreplaceable, but his work leaves a legacy of what to do to defend the American people against future vehicle violence. His pioneering work points to how to achieve further advances in safety and justice.

Doing Our Part

The American people need us to help grow a network of lawyers, crash victims (past, present, and future) and survivors, and consumer advocates to help fund and advance Clarence’s work. The stories of crash victims and their families need to be heard and heeded. To be heeded our voices need to be organized for effectiveness.

Think of a network of people who join together to continue Clarence’s work to stop the currently endless tragedies. We can help organize to build a more just and safer America.4

Send checks payable to the Ditlow Fund for Auto Safety using the Pledge form. Suggested donations: $35 to $5,000.

Center for Auto Safety’s Ditlow Fund Networking to Save Lives, by Lou Lombardo, Legal Reader, February 13, 2017

Cover of Car Safety Wars by Michael Lemov

The battles are not finished; the work for safer roads must continue.

Electronic Log Books Not The Whole Answer; A Tired Trucker Roundtable Is Vital

Source: https://www.facebook.com/twistedtruckers/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/494507530713925/permalink/795767523921256/

I am convinced that we need to bring together multiple stakeholders around the table to discuss Tired Truckers. We need to work together to tackle this problem.

 

The murderous potential of vehicles & apparent normalisation of life-threatening recklessness on our roads

When searching for Tweets with the hashtag #roadsafety — which by the way seems to be more commonly mentioned outside of the U.S. — I ran across some interesting articles:

  • The rules of the road exist to keep us safe. Why aren’t we enforcing them? by  A motorway collision with a lorry showed me how easy it is for disaster to strike – and raised my fear that excessive risk has been normalised. . . So, while you could argue that its road safety record allows the UK to coast awhile, you might also think about the two recent court cases and whether we pay due regard to the murderous potential of our vehicles. And then you might reasonably ask whether, with more rigorous enforcement, not only those serious accidents that have made the news could have been avoided, but also the many more minor ones such as ours. And who is best served by the apparent normalisation of life-threatening recklessness on our roads.
  • These Two Women Designed A 3D Zebra Crossing In Gujarat And It’s One Of A Kind! by  SOUVIK RAY Artists Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya from Ahmedabad designed something innovative that not only serves an artistic purpose but ensures road safety for pedestrians. The motto was to increase the attention of drivers through new flat patterns of Zebra Crossings.

“EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements”

EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements, February 10, 2017, European Transport Safety Council

Eight EU transport ministers have called on the European Commission to ‘speed up’ plans to upgrade vehicle safety standards saying road safety should be ‘top priority’.

In a letter to the European Commissioner for industry Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the transport ministers of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands said ‘ambitious’ new vehicle safety standards are needed ‘to help Member States halve the number of road deaths by 2020’. . .

In December 2016, the European Commission published a list of 19 lifesaving safety technologies that could be made mandatory on new vehicles in proposals expected later in 2017.  At the time, the European Transport Safety Council said several critical areas for action are missing, and the proposed timescale is far too long considering that most of the technologies are already available today.

What about the United States?

Imagine an Executive Order propelling us toward zero crash deaths. What are we waiting for?

The refusal of the federal government (White House and legislators) to respond to my requests for Vision Zero Rulemaking is negligent and indicative of a less-than-wholehearted commitment to a Vision of Moving Toward Zero Crash Deaths and Serious Injuries.

It’s a simple conclusion to arrive at: the lack of Vision Zero Rulemaking is responsible for the blocking and delay of many safety measures. If those safety measures had been implemented in a timely and compassionate fashion, countless lives would have been saved.

Who should we hold responsible?

Some posts related to that life & death question:

  1. Who should bear the responsibility for deaths & injuries due to known safety defects?
  2. Does a vehicle manufacturer bear responsibility for death and injury caused by a safety defect in their product?
  3. Each time a layer of apparent deception is peeled away, I am incensed at what seems like betrayal.
  4. What IS the government’s Vision Zero policy? Zero Deaths or Zero Jail Time?
  5. When will we figure out that somebody’s getting away with murder?
  6. Will the Road to Zero (Crash Deaths) include significant criminal penalties for corporate negligence?
  7. “Anton Yelchin’s Death Highlights a Known Issue With Jeeps”. . . NY Times & Care for Crash Victims
  8. Actor’s Death is Latest Example of Need for a National Vision Zero Goal & Traffic Safety Ombudsman
  9. “Power of Presidents to Protect People” (Legal Reader)
  10. Political Record on Vehicle Violence; #RepublicanConvention Theme: Make America Safe Again. Really?
  11. As Ralph Nader is inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, are cars “still unsafe at any speed”?
  12. “Power of People to Protect People” Lou Lombardo, Legal Reader
  13. “Money At Root of Takata’s Tragic History”
  14. Draft Dem. Platform: “Ensure Health & Safety…Gun Violence Prevention” But NOT Vehicle Violence
  15. Party Platforms Strangely Silent: Gun violence gets attention, though toll lower than vehicle violence
  16. Careless Attitudes Can Contribute to Unnecessary Deaths
  17. Is Cost/Benefit Analysis Appropriate for Life & Death Matters? Were their lives worth saving?
  18. Somebody, please get me an audience with President Obama to respond to my Vision Zero Petition!
  19. Truck Trailer Manufacturers Ass’n “Reminds” NHTSA: Side Guards Are “Not Cost-Effective” Says Who?
  20. What if trucking industry campaign contributions went toward safety research & implementation instead?
  21. Side Underride Deaths Need To Be Addressed Now; To do otherwise would be negligent & unconscionable.
  22. Imagine an Executive Order propelling us toward zero crash deaths. What are we waiting for?

Imagine an Executive Order propelling us toward zero crash deaths. What are we waiting for?

Side Underride Deaths Need To Be Addressed Now; To do otherwise would be negligent & unconscionable.

Would the current freeze on federal rulemaking mean that there could be no action taken to initiate side underride protection [side guards] rulemaking? It is my understanding that rulemaking related to health and safety is allowable. And, in fact, side guards have already been included in multiple communications related to current rulemaking on underride guards for commercial motor vehicles:

  1. The underride rulemaking on rear guards on trailers is still open, not completed. They have previously told me that, even though the official Public Comment is closed, they will take into consideration other comments which they receive after that period.
  2. It fits under President Trump’s category of not-new rulemaking.
  3. They have already received our petition on May 5, 2014, which included a request for side guardshttps://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2014/07/10/2014-16018/federal-motor-vehicle-safety-standards-rear-impact-guards-rear-impact-protection ” NHTSA is still evaluating the Petitioners’ request to improve side guards and front override guards and will issue a separate decision on those aspects of the petition at a later date.”
  4. Other people have mentioned side guards in their Public Comment when the ANPRM and NPRM on underride guards were issued in July 2014 and December 2015, respectively. https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0013 and https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0035
  5. We have, in fact, submitted a Comprehensive Consensus Underride Petition to NHTSA via this Public Comment process. So they know that we want side guards addressed as well: http://annaleahmary.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Comprehensive-Underride-Consensus-Petition-Letter-to-DOT.pdf
  6. Here is the Clarification of the requests in that Comprehensive Underride Petition: http://annaleahmary.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Clarification-of-the-Comprehensive-Underride-Consensus-Petition.pdf IT INCLUDES SIDE GUARDS.
  7. I personally submitted a comment specifically about side guards: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0039
  8. NHTSA, as far as I know, can re-write the current rulemaking —  based upon feedback which they receive —  to produce a Final Rule.

I don’t know if additional comments submitted at this time would get posted to the Federal Register online, but it is my understanding that NHTSA would receive them.

Besides which, this conversation was well underway as far back as 1969, and the victims of side underride crashes — past, present, and future — deserve to have this issue addressed here and now. To do otherwise would be negligent and unconscionable.

Oh, wait! What does that say about what we have already allowed to happen?