Category Archives: Safety Advocacy

Senators’ Concern About OSHA Change In Direction Points To Need For Vision Zero Rulemaking

According to a recent Fair Warning article, there has been a change in procedures at the OSHA which could result in diluted rulemaking and standards —  leading to more lax safety practices in the workplace:

In the four months since President Trump took office, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued four news releases announcing penalties for job safety violations.

By the end of May last year, it had issued 199.

The recent reticence has spurred six U.S. senators, all Democrats, to ask what’s up at OSHA. In a letter to OSHA’s parent agency, the Department of Labor, the six lawmakers are demanding a review of the agency’s “decision to cease public notification of major findings.”

Under previous Democratic and Republican administration, OSHA has used announcements of major enforcement actions, and the threat of bad publicity, to combat health and safety hazards. . . U.S. Senators Ask: What’s Up at OSHA?, Fair Warning, Paul Feldman, May 30, 2017

Should this concern us? Will this negatively impact the health and safety of American workplaces?

The Democratic lawmakers say in their letter that the spotlight on violators during the Obama administration rankled some employers, who viewed it as unfair public shaming. “Lobbyists for trade groups and large employers have opposed these disclosures, claiming that the data will be ‘distorted’ or ‘misconstrued,’” the senators wrote.

But, they added, “public communication regarding these findings is important for OSHA to fulfill its mission.’

Labor advocates say highlighting abuses is a crucial tool to deter bad employers because OSHA is so thinly staffed that, according to union researchers, it would take the agency 145 years working at its normal pace to inspect every workplace under its jurisdiction just once. . .

Is this one more example, along with traffic safety issues, of the need for Vision Zero Rulemaking?

Vision Zero Petition Book

President Trump: Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order which will make protecting life & health the highest priority by empowering all federal agencies to apply Vision Zero principles to rulemaking.

Save Lives Not Dollars: Urge DOT to Adopt a Vision Zero Policy

In Memory of loved ones who died in Wars in this country, including over 3.5 million in “Car Safety Wars”

This Memorial Day, I want us to remember the countless loved ones from this country who have died in wars — including the Car Safety Wars.

Review of Car Safety Wars: One Hundred Years of Technology, Politics, and Death

From that review: “Lemov reports that more than 3.5 million Americans have been killed and more than 300 million injured in motor vehicle accidents.” “More than all the combat deaths suffered in all our wars” (President Lyndon Johnson).

Remembering AnnaLeah & Mary Karth and their grandpa, James Waldron, a Navy Seabee in WWII, at Highland View Cemetery

SEEING IS BELIEVING: Unique Opportunity To Fund A Crash Test In Our Nation’s Capital

We are making progress on getting a bill introduced in Congress which would mandate Comprehensive Underride Protection on all large trucks. But we don’t want to take a chance that it would somehow get waylaid, defeated, or put on the back burner.

We need to convince every man and woman in the U.S. Congress to vote for the timely passing of the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017. And we think that we have the perfect plan to accomplish that lofty goal:

We are making plans for a Capitol Grounds Underride Crash Test Media Event; SEEING IS BELIEVING!

We have two major hurdles to overcome:

  1. Gaining permission to hold this event.
  2. Funding to pull it off.

We are in the process of completing the necessary paperwork to get approval for this event and hope to have backing from The Hill. Pray that this request would find favor.

The matter of funding is more elusive; thus I am posting this appeal in hopes that one or more persons will respond to this unique opportunity to change the course of history, to make a significant contribution in the push to end preventable underride tragedies. Pray for a timely and enthusiastic response to this financial need.

We have reached out to the engineers, who have been devoting their lives to designing side underride protection solutions. And we have come up with a budget to organize two crash tests, one into a trailer without a side guard and one into a trailer with a side guard:

  • Two trailers $15,000
  • Two crash cars (including transportation to the site and disposal) $3,000
  • Portable Safety Barriers $500
  • Tractors to bring the trailers to the site & to be hooked up to the trailers for crash test) $1,000
  • Engineer to run the test & insurance $3,000
  • Other costs of the Media Event $2,500
  • TOTAL CRASH TEST/EVENT Budget $25,000

 

IIHS Proves That Side Underride Crashes Are Deadly But Preventable: Seeing Is Believing

AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, dedicated to preventing vehicle violence. Donations accepted here.

Moms Who Lost Daughters In Truck Underride Collisions Push for Greater Safety

Would you want to be in this car?

Day after day, I observe signs that it is easier to put time and money and power into preventing solutions to deadly underride than to seek tirelessly for developing solutions.

I mean, where would we be, in this day and age, if inventive and creative people had not developed the light bulb or airplane or telephone or morse code or television or typewriter or personal computer or cell phone or camera or indoor plumbing or automobile or internet or laptop or smartphone or . . . You get the idea.

So don’t give me any excuses or point the finger of blame at someone else.

We do not lack the skills or the resources to solve the underride problem. No, we lack the will to do so. We treasure the bottomline more than the human lives. At least that is what our actions show.

It is sickening actually. Sometimes the anger and the grief leave me spent.

And then I get up again and head back into the battle. Because that is how we are going to win this war for the best possible protection with Righteousness* & Truth as the weapons of our warfare.

*. . .the quality of being morally right & justifiable.

Would you want to be in this car?

The same holds true for other truck & traffic safety issues which end in Preventable Death by Vehicle Violence.

“. . . I will eliminate the beasts of the field from the land. . . and you will live securely.”  Ezekiel 34:25

2 Moms, Sick & Tired of Waiting, Draft Truck Underride Legislation

 

A running list of links to recent, significant posts on annaleahmary.com

It is encouraging that a lot of positive things are happening in recent months, especially related to underride protection. In order to keep that information readily accessible but not keep it at the top of the site as sticky posts, I am going to keep a running list of links to recent, significant posts:

    1. The Second Underride Roundtable was held at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia, on August 29, 2017. Read media reports of this successful gathering of various stakeholders to work together to improve comprehensive underride protection: Media Coverage of the Second Underride Roundtable
    2.  Senator Gillibrand Questions FHWA Nominee Paul Trombino about underride.
    3. WUSA9 recently began an extensive investigation into truck underride. The segments which have already aired are listed here. They plan to shed light on the problem until it is adequately addressed in this country.
    4. Just How Far Have We Come In The 50 Years Since Jayne Mansfield’s Death By Truck Underride?June 29 marked the 50th anniversary of Jayne Mansfield’s death by underride. The world knew in 1967 — if it didn’t know it before — about the terrible geometric mismatch between a car and a truck which allowed a car to ride under a truck upon collision.In those 50 years, how many technological problems have we solved? And yet why have we been unable to solve the problem of truck underride and stem the tide of preventable, horrific, and senseless underride tragedies? . . . NOTE: There are two posts almost exactly alike because of a technical glitch. I posted the first one and it couldn’t be shared correctly on facebook. So I posted the second one. Still a problem. So I got my computer geek consultant to work on the problem and, with a little (or a lot) of hard work, dedication, & creativity, the problem is now solved. See, what we can do if we put our mind to it!

    5. Becoming educated about underride was not a direction I had planned on going with my life and time. But I have gained a great deal of knowledge related to the fact that AnnaLeah’s and Mary’s deaths (and Roya’s, too, along with countless other individual loved ones) might have been prevented had adequate underride protection been on the truck, into which our sturdy Crown Vic crashed — along with the fact that many more countless, unknown individuals will die unless this country takes decisive action.This information, along with my unresolved grief due to the frustration of knowing that years have gone by without effective protection, fuels my efforts to work collaboratively to bring about widespread and significant change. It is now my aim to equip everyone with the same information — without the accompanying unwanted grief.
      1. Truck Underride 101: Overview of Contents
      2. Truck Underride 101: I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?
      3. Truck Underride 101: II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?
      4. Truck Underride 101: Part III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero (including Underride Statistics)
      5. Truck Underride 101: Part IV Win/Win
      6. Truck Underride 101: Part V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy
    6. Has FMCSA Done Due Diligence To Appropriately Address Trucking Minimum Liability Insurance Question?After a truck crash killed our daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) on May 4, 2013, we discovered that there were many problems with truck safety, including inadequate trucking liability insurance. In 1980, Congress set the level of liability insurance for trucking companies at a MINIMUM of $750,000. If that were adjusted for inflation, it would be $2,225,643 in 2017. Yet, DOT has not once raised that level in 37 years — thereby jeopardizing the safety of the traveling public.

      In fact, on June 5, 2017, the FMCSA withdrew the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on the Appropriateness of the Current Financial Responsibility and Security Requirements for Motor Carriers, Brokers, and Freight Forwarders, which was intended to raise that minimum. The history of that rulemaking is summarized below. . .

      Sign a Petition Asking for Immediate Action: Protect Vulnerable Travelers: Demand Immediate Increase in Trucking Liability Insurance

    7. Hard-to-watch Video Footage of IIHS Side Underride Crash Testing, Watch the video footage of this historic IIHS side underride crash testing at 35 mph on March 30 and 31, 2017 — with and without a side guard. It speaks for itself. . .
    8. IIHS Proves That Side Underride Crashes Are Deadly But Preventable: Seeing Is Believing, On March 30, Jerry and I witnessed a crash test at 35 mph of a car into the side of a trailer  — with an AngelWing side guard installed — at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia. The guard was successful in stopping the car from riding under the trailer, i.e., passenger occupants would have survived.The next day, another car was crashed at 35 mph into the side of a trailer — with a side skirt but no side guard. The car went under the trailer. Occupants would not have survived. . .
    9. Sign our Side Guard Petition here to let our government & trucking industry leaders know that you want them to act NOW to SAVE LIVES by putting side guards on large trucks.
    10. How You Can Help Us Get Comprehensive Underride Protection On Trucks, I know that I can’t be the only person in this country (or the planet for that matter) who would like to see trucks made safer to drive around. So, for anyone else who would like to help get comprehensive underride protection on trucks in the U.S., here are some ideas. . .
    11. SAVE THE DATE for the Second Underride Roundtable: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at IIHS SAVE THE DATE for the Second Underride Roundtable: Tuesday, August 29, 2017: We will continue to discuss how to bring about the BEST POSSIBLE UNDERRIDE PROTECTION. IIHS will once again co-host this event, with the Truck Safety Coalition and AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, at their Vehicle Research Center. . .
    12. Question for the ATA: Is it necessary to choose EITHER crash avoidance OR occupant protection — not BOTH?, After the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released their news about side underride crash testing, I began searching online for media reports on the results of their dynamic crash testing of a collision into the side of a trailer with and without a guard.Among other things, I found —  in at least one article — explanations from the IIHS and a reaction from the American Trucking Associations (ATA). . .
    13. 2 Moms, Sick & Tired of Waiting, Draft Truck Underride Legislation, So, what did you do today? If someone were to ask me that question, I would have to admit that I spent hours emailing legislators in Washington, D.C. — asking them to sponsor and support the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017, otherwise known as RAM CUP Act of 2017.My partner in the process was Lois Durso, a mom who lost her 26 year-old daughter, Roya Sadigh, 12 years ago to a side underride crash. Still to this day, side guards are not required on the sides of large trucks — even though there were 1,534 reported side underride deaths from 1994-2014 in the U.S. . .
    14. Why COMPREHENSIVE Underride Protection Legislation?, Why, you might ask, would we write a piece of legislation calling for a comprehensive underride protection rule? Why not have separate bills for side underride and rear underride and front underride and Single Unit Trucks (SUTs), et cetera?I am convinced of the importance of this strategy and want to share some of my thoughts here about the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act. RAM CUP: A DIFFERENT STRATEGY TO ACHIEVE UNDERRIDE PROTECTION. . .
    15. Side Underride Problem & Solutions Featured on The Today Show, Ronan Farrow investigated the side underride problem and here is his report on The Today Show, February 7, 2017. . .
    16. How can we possibly justify allowing Death by Underride to continue when solutions exist to prevent it?, As I allow myself to remember the joy and laughter and love and creativity and grumpiness and irritability and silliness of my daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, I also remember why I am working tirelessly to bring an end to Death by Underride — which snatched AnnaLeah from this earthly life on May 4, 2013, and Mary on May 8, 2013. I was in that horrific truck crash four years ago today. I survived but they did not because of Death by Underride. . .
    17. Mandates take burden off manufacturers. Crash tests in labs better than crash tests occurring in real world., Lou Lombardo has written a thought-provoking opinion piece, Creating a Demand for Crash Testing (CTTI, September 2011). It holds great value in confirming the need for comprehensive underride protection legislation to be introduced and passed in a timely manner. . .
    18. They fought the good fight, they finished the race. . .
    19. Every Day’s A Holiday With Mary; Joyful Memories of Mary
    20. Amazing Grace Goodbye, AnnaLeah & Mary, With Love From Grandpa
    21. Truck Industry Leaders: “Clarity is probably the biggest need we have so we can plan accordingly.”
    22. AnnaLeah Karth. May 15, 1995 – May 4, 2013. Death by Underride.
    23. Car Dragged By Semi Due To Defective Truck Design
    24. If people die from riding under Single Unit Trucks, why aren’t they required to have underride protection?
    25. When Will We Tackle Underride? – The Hidden Dangers in Trucks (Trucks.com, August 10, 2016)When people learned of the recent fatal crash in Florida of a Tesla Model S running in its Autopilot mode, many started questioning the safety of autonomous driving features in the newest cars.While this is a legitimate topic of debate, for now autonomous driving presents little threat to those on the road. It comes on just a handful of expensive luxury models, and there’s only a small chance that the car driving next to you will have a robot at the controls.However, the tragic Tesla crash does highlight a real and present highway danger — cars sliding underneath large trucks when vehicles collide. Regardless of who was at fault in the Tesla crash, the driver might have lived if the truck had been required to have side guards that would have prevented the electric sports sedan from wedging underneath the trailer.I know just how dangerous collisions like this can be. My youngest daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, died in 2013 in a truck rear underride crash.

     

“Death by Rental Car: How the Houck Case Changed the Law”

The Power of People to Protect People is the message conveyed in the book Death by Rental Car: How the Houck Case Changed the Law, by Ben Kelley. People and lawyers need to know about ways that they can work together to protect others from harm. This is especially true when we are in an era of unbridled power of corporations to cause harm to people with too little protection by captive regulatory agencies of government. This book by Ben Kelley is an unfinished success story that too few people know about.

In the foreword, Ralph Nader describes this book as a “gripping story of two young women – sisters aged 24 and 20 – whose promising lives were snuffed out in a fiery, traumatic instant collision by their Chrysler PT Cruiser…and the tenacious effort by their parents and attorneys to hold accountable the rental car company that ignored a government recall for a lethal defect and the manufacturer that made the car.

“You’ll read what a difference dedicated, persistent personal injury attorneys, on contingent fees, can make…

“Finally, you’ll be so impressed, I believe, by Carol Houck’s mission, which is to obtain state and federal legislation that requires rental car companies to fix recalled vehicles before renting them out. She says ‘the mom in me knew there were going to be other kids, and, by golly, I wasn’t going to let Raechel & Jackie die in vain.’”

Read more here: Death by Rental Car: How the Houck Case Changed the Law

 

“Gridlock on Anti-Lock Brakes Baffles Motorcycle Safety Advocates”

Just started reading a Fair Warning article on motorcycles and find it echoes what we have found with truck underride: cost/benefit analysis practices are going to continue to prevent the saving of countless lives and nobody is heeding my call for revamping the rulemaking to reflect Vision Zero principles. Until we do, there will be senseless roadblocks on the Road to Zero.
After a long downward trend, U.S. traffic deaths are on the rise again, and a key factor is the stubbornly high fatality toll among some of the most exposed people on the road: motorcyclists.

Nevertheless, federal regulators have balked at requiring a safety measure that, many experts say, could save hundreds of bikers’ lives every year.

Anti-lock brake systems, a standard feature on lots of passenger vehicles since the 1990s, have been touted for years as a potentially powerful tool to cut motorcycle deaths. The technology, known as ABS, works by preventing the wheels from locking up during hard braking and improving control amid emergencies or slippery road conditions.

In the U.S., major law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol and the New York City Police Department, require that all motorcycles in their fleets have ABS. Around the world, ABS-equipped motorcycles are fast becoming standard. All new large bikes sold in Europe must now have ABS. On a phased-in schedule, Japan, India and Brazil are following suit.

“It is hard to come up with something else that has the potential to be as important for motorcycle safety,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which estimates that nearly one-third of all fatal crashes from motorcycling every year, and many injuries, could be prevented by a federal ABS mandate.

Federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the officials who would be in a position to do something, have been criticized for taking an ambiguous, even mysterious stance. . . 

The bottom line was that officials decided that there was insufficient proof that the benefits, measured by lives saved and injuries avoided, would outweigh costs to manufacturers.

I still am hoping to organize and empower survivor advocates to ask for a meeting with the White House to demand a National Vision Zero Goal, a White House Vision Zero Task Force, and an Executive Order to Authorize Vision Zero Rulemaking.

Some links for further research:
Antilock braking systems make riding safer.

Irresponsible advice on motorcycle ABS

ABS Motorcycles vs Non ABS Motorcycles – Do You Need Motorcycle ABS?

How ABS Work In Bike To Save The Rider

Survey results show NC motorcycle riders focus on safety

Sudden Unintended Acceleration: Are you prepared for it?

If Sudden Unintended Acceleration — like my son had to face — is a possibility for any car or driver, then we need to be better prepared for such an eventuality.

Some links to consider:

Here is a 2016 patent for a Throttle valve for preventing sudden unintended acceleration https://www.google.com/patents/US9322338

Are automotive companies making use of such a thing? Should they be?

Public Health Supplement: Global Road Safety; Monitoring Risks and Evaluating Programs

A source of articles related to road safety and public health issues: Supplement: Global Road Safety: Monitoring Risks and Evaluating Programs, Public Health, March 2017
Volume 144, Supplement, S1-S70, Edited by David Bishai, Adnan A. Hyder

2 Moms Share Their Safer Truck Message in Hallways & Hearings on The Hill

I’m not sure that Washington, DC, was ready to be invaded by 2 moms prepared to do battle for safer trucks in memory of their daughters. So much happened in three days that I’ll simply summarize it here:

  • Monday, March 13, we met at DOT with nine staff members from the NHTSA and FMCSA. We were thankful to be able to share our stories and recommendations for underride protection. But the lack of transparency and ability for them to discuss their rulemaking (or not) activities was once-again frustrating. We did find out that side underride has become a topic of discussion there recently. What that will mean, I do not know.
  • Tuesday, March 14, the streets of Washington, DC, were covered with snow and government offices had a three-hour delay. We had originally planned to drop by some senate offices before an afternoon meeting. We got a late start with that but were actually able to arrange a meeting with Commerce Committee staff from the office of Senator Nelson (FL). We talked about both the need for trucking minimum liability insurance to be raised from its 1980’s level and the need for improved truck underride protection.
  • We also stopped by Senator Marco Rubio’s office and arranged for a meeting with his staff the next morning.
  • Then, we attended a Senate Hearing at 2:30: Continuing to Improve Truck Safety on our Nation’s Highways, U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, will convene a subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. titled “Continuing to Improve Truck Safety on our Nation’s Highways.” The hearing will examine truck safety advancements in the bipartisan Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that passed last Congress and potential reforms moving forward. The hearing will also hear from a range of perspectives on the implementation of safety programs and other opportunities and challenges facing truck safety
  • Witnesses:– The Honorable Christopher A. Hart, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board
    – Captain Chris Turner, Kansas Highway Patrol and Vice President of Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
    – Dr. Paul P. Jovanis, Professor Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University; Chair, Transportation Research Board Committee
    – Mr. Jerry Moyes, Chairman Emeritus, Swift Transportation
    – Dr. Adrian Lund, President, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Other than Dr. Lund’s announcement of the IIHS Toughguard Award for trailer manufacturers, I’m not sure that there was a whole lot of new information shared. Same old, same old. I could hardly stand not being able to share about the need for side underride protection.
  • Fortunately, afterward, I was able to speak with Lane Kidd director of The Trucking Alliance, say hello to Dr. Lund who is retiring (I found out from Senator Booker), and speak enthusiastically with Jerry Moyes who founded Swift Transportation and who, with a Swift VP, seemed very interested in the pieces of Aaron Kiefer’s side guard invention which I had brought along with me (polyester webbing & side skirt plastic).
  • Lois Durso and I also had a chance to speak briefly with Senator Cory Booker (who had made important mention of the minimum liability insurance issue).
  • Then, at 5:00 p.m., we were able to meet with Commerce Committee staff from Senator John Thune’s office. That seemed to go well.
  • The next day, we had a 9:00 a.m. meeting with Senator Marco Rubio’s staff to enlighten them especially on the side underride problem.
  • Then, we discussed what other offices we could stop in at. We had a binder full of almost 10,000 Side Guard Petition signatures. When I woke up, I thought, “To whom shall we give the signatures?” After considering several options, I thought, “They should go to Senator Thune, since he is one of the ones it is directed to and we would be on The Hill where his office is located.” But his staff had told us that we would not be able to meet with him.
  • We also had some information packets which we wanted to give to Senator Richard Burr and Senator Cory Booker. We could not meet with their staff, but we dropped off the information at their offices.
  • In the midst of going to and fro in a maze of Senate office buildings (Dirksen, Hart, and Russell), getting lost and making spontaneous decisions about where to go next, we passed by a meeting room where there had been a “Sunrise Breakfast” — must have been kind of a meet & greet affair. Senator Thune’s name was included on the sign. We asked staff at a table outside the door if Senator Thune was still there. They didn’t know. I said, “Could you please check.” They figured he probably had some other meeting he needed to be at.
  • Then, all of a sudden, I looked up and he was walking out of the door and starting down the hall. I quickly went over to him, he introduced himself, and we shook hands. By that time, Lois was there, too. I don’t know what all we had time to tell him. It happened so fast. But Lois said to me, “Give him the book.” And his assistant took it. The book being the binder with the 10,000 signatures* which we told him we got after the Today Show broadcast on side underride for which he had been interviewed.
  • Senator Thune had seen the video and we showed him the pieces of the guard and he actually appeared genuinely interested. After that short and unexpected meeting, we parted ways. Lois and I continued down the hall. We kept looking at each other and grinning! And grinning.
  • Clearly, though we had tried for several weeks to get a meeting with Senator Thune (Chair of the Transportation Committee) to no avail, the task was not too hard for the Lord, who had no trouble arranging that serendipitous meeting in the Capitol halls.
  • Man makes plans and the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
  • *The Petition shows less than 10,000 signatures (9,577 signatures as of 3/17/17), but I had started another side guard petition last summer (which has 9,071 signatures), so two petitions for side guards are online. Some people have actually signed both, but together the two petitions actually have more than 10,000 people calling for better underride protection. I have to get my tech people (my family) to help me do an analysis of how many signatures we actually have to date! In any case, Senator Thune is now fully aware of the support this issue is receiving.
  • Before we left our country’s capital to go back to our respective homes, Lois and I plotted to take further action, which I began as soon as I got to Union Station and waited to board Amtrak. Stay tuned for exciting news about the Roya, AnnaLeah and Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act!