Category Archives: Truck Safety

I Survived Because Of Stoughton: An improved rear underride guard saved this man from an underride death

Stoughton Trailers sent me a copy of their flyer which they will be sharing publicly over the next few months — announcing the wonderful news that Terry Rivet and his passenger, Mark Robinson, survived a truck crash, on March 2, 2017 in New York, because the improved rear underride guard on the new Stoughton trailer stopped their car from going under the trailer, thus preventing an underride tragedy!

At least 3 people injured in pileup on NYS Thruway in Warners, By Samantha House | shouse@syracuse.com on March 02, 2017 at 1:46 PM, updated March 02, 2017 at 4:38 PM

I Survived Because Of Stoughton

Would this truck tax savings cover cost of comprehensive underride protection for a Win/Win solution?

Congressman LaMalfa, a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, “. . . introduced a bill Tuesday to repeal a 12 percent federal excise tax on heavy trucks originally designed to help pay the cost of fighting World War I a century ago.”

Would this tax savings cover all of the costs of comprehensive underride protection? Just sayin’. . . a Win/Win solution.

A Republican congressman from California introduced a bill Tuesday to repeal a 12 percent federal excise tax on heavy trucks originally designed to help pay the cost of fighting World War I a century ago.

The bill by Rep. Doug LaMalfa, H.R. 2946, called the Heavy Truck, Tractor and Trailer Retail Federal Excise Tax Repeal Act of 2017, now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee for review.

The tax “adds tens of thousands of dollars to truck purchases and directly impacts the cost of food, consumer goods and other products Americans need,” LaMalfa said. “Even worse, truck owners large and small pay this tax whether a truck is driven 100,000 miles or never driven at all, forcing them to pay taxes on an investment that may not be generating any revenue.”  Bill Seeks to Repeal Federal Excise Tax on Heavy-Duty Trucks

Truck Underride 101: Part V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

Truck Underride 101: Part V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT? Because it is not necessarily always the collision of a passenger vehicle with a large truck which causes horrific deaths and injuries but rather the collision of the truck with the passenger occupant space in the SECOND COLLISION which occurs with truck underride. This is what we aim to end.

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.

It has actually been encouraging for Lois Durso and I to see the extent of interest from the trucking industry, NTSB, DOT, and Congressional leaders — including both the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee members and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee members. And our meetings and discussions have included both Republican and Democratic Offices.

We have appreciated the degree of engagement in discussion and the enlightenment taking place as we share detailed information about the underride problem and its promising solutions. We are excited to see the needle moving as we continue to push for bipartisan collaboration to get a stand-alone bill introduced and passed in order to end this decades-old public health problem.

V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

  1. Legislative Process and Discussion Handouts: Bipartisan Discussion RAMCUP Handouts FOR RAMCUP Draft 9 Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 (knowing that our draft will be fine-tuned to be the best legislative package to achieve our objective); See more information here: 2 Moms, Sick & Tired of Waiting, Draft Truck Underride Legislation 

  2. Non-negotiables for RAMCUP: 

    a. Keep it comprehensive; don’t divide it up into separate bills or amendments or rulemaking.

    b. Mandate the establishment of a committee to oversee underride protection (COUP) rulemaking (include at least two victim advocates).

    c. Specific deadlines for rulemaking timeline (due to The Glacial Pace of Truck Underride Improvements (along with countless other safety issues) )

    d. Research $ to determine the outer limits of underride protection.

    e. Strongly encourage the development of a voluntary truck safety certification program to include certification of underride protection (COUP).

  3. COUP/COUP: Upon reflection, it is my belief that the system for arriving at regulations has been working harder to protect the industry from liability than to protect road users from harm. Furthermore, this has led to a non-transparent process for arriving at appropriate and effective safety measures.
    In stark contrast, the crafting of this bill, the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017, was based upon extensive research and the gathering of experts and interested parties over the last four years,
    · first of all, at the Underride Roundtable at IIHS on May 5, 2016;
    · secondly, through a follow-up meeting at IIHS on June 24, 2016, to hammer out details of the Rear Underride Guard specifications then submitted to NHTSA on August 8, 2016, and IIHS Underride Test Protocol submitted to NHTSA on December 23, 2016;
    · and third, through a continued discussion among engineering experts which led to the Comprehensive Underride Consensus Petition presented to Secretary Foxx on September 23, 2016 (see attached) — upon which this Bill is based.
    These discussions involved trucking industry representatives, including Ted Scott, VP of Engineering for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and Gary Fenton, who is VP of Engineering for Stoughton Trailers and Chairman of the Engineering Committee for the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA). Participants also have included engineering experts from universities, international experts in truck underride, and two engineers who have designed side guards which have
    recently been successfully tested.
    In my humble opinion, the interests of this country would best be served if this group would be formally recognized and commissioned to work with NHTSA and to develop the specifications for the final comprehensive underride protection rule. Why re-invent the wheel? Why delay the process any longer than necessary? Wasted time translates into more unnecessary death and life-long grief.         AND
    The COUP truck safety certification program (modeled after the Transport for London FORS) could also be integrated into the comprehensive underride protection vision/scenario/strategy/bill:
    COUP (Certification Of Underride Protection). In order to get fully certified, a trucking company would have to get an award in each aspect of underride protection, including:
    1. Rear (Already introduced by the IIHS with their recent presentation of a ToughGuard award to five trailer manufacturers)
    2. Front
    3. Side
    4. Maintenance of underride devices (annual inspection and training in how to do pre-trip inspections of the devices)
    5. Training for drivers in what to do and not do in terms of parking and U-turns
    6. Other (whatever I am forgetting right now)
    This would be required for ALL trucks, including Single Unit Trucks (Straight, Box).
    I plan to add this aspect to the drafted bill, along with a mandate for establishment of a Committee of Experts to Oversee This.

  4. FORS Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme: It is my recommendation that this comprehensive underride protection mandate work hand in hand with a truck safety certification program and I am taking steps to help the ball get rolling on this.

Truck Underride 101: Discussion Topics

I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

Truck Underride 101: I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection? 

Truck Underride 101: II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?

III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

 Truck Underride 101: Part III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

IV. Win/Win

Truck Underride 101: Part IV Win/Win

V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

Truck Underride 101: Part V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

Truck Underride 101: Part IV Win/Win

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.

When you think about it, this should really be a win/win situation. Here is Truck Underride 101: Part IV Win/Win.

IV. Win/Win

  1. Job Creation Quite simply put, a mandate for comprehensive underride protection (which some members of the manufacturing industry have said would take the burden off of them to persuade their customers to install these safety features) would lead to a demand for equipment which would, in effect, create new jobs.

  2. Fuel Savings/Super Truck Project: 

  3. Underride Protection: RETROFIT 

  4. Second Collision: Crash Avoidance/Underride Protection: What is a “Second Collision”? Read about it here: Second Collision and Underride Protection

  5. BOTH/AND and opposing arguments: This post contains numerous links dealing with the issue of crash avoidance vs underride protection: Preventing deadly crashes doesn’t require Either crash avoidance Or underride guards but Both/And.

Truck Underride 101: Discussion Topics

I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

Truck Underride 101: I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection? 

Truck Underride 101: II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?

III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

 Truck Underride 101: Part III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

IV. Win/Win

V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

Truck Underride 101: Part III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

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.

The reason we are devoting our lives to pounding on this door and asking for change is that our daughters may have lost their lives due to the lack of a Vision Zero policy. A decision which concluded that recommended changes would not be cost effective—in other words, that it would supposedly cost more to implement safety measures than the lives saved would be worth—may have led to lax underride guard standards.

If the best possible protection had been pursued when the regulations were last updated (1996), the trucks on the road today (including the one on the road May 4, 2013) might be much safer to be driving around. Mary and AnnaLeah might even still be around.

So, here is Part III of Truck Underride 101.

III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

  1. Public Comments on Underrride Rulemaking & Cost/Benefit Analysis: Public Comments Re: Cost/Benefit Analysis in NHTSA Proposed Underride Rulemaking on Rear Guards for Tractor-Trailers & for Single Unit Trucks and       Current NHTSA #Underride Rulemaking (Cost/Benefit Analysis): Summary of Public Comments and http://annaleahmary.com/2016/10/dot-omb-are-you-using-cea-or-cba-rulemaking-road-to-zero-requires-vision-zero-rulemaking/

  2. Jerry Karth’s Public Comments on Underride Rulemaking: Comments on the NPRM for Rear Underride Guards on Trailers and Reflections from a bereaved dad on the Underride Roundtable & what that means for rulemaking

  3. Underride Statistics 

  4. The Future of Trucking: Who pays for the costs of safer roads?

    I thought about all of this, on a recent trip “back home”, as I reflected on the plight of small trucking companies and independent owner-operator truck drivers. Are the costs of owning a company and the pressure to drive many miles creating a situation where they won’t be able to stay in business?

    Frequently, I hear that changes of one kind or another in the trucking industry–in order to improve safety (i.e., reduce crashes, injuries and deaths)–will result in increased costs for the trucking companies. I hear that it will put them out of business.

    Is this true? According to whom and based on what information? If it is true, then does something need to change in the trucking industry itself in order to allow for the beneficial work, which trucking provides, to continue but to also allow for truckers to make a decent living wage–without jeopardizing their health and the safety of travelers on the roads? . . .  Read more here: The Future of Trucking; Who pays for the costs of safer roads?

  5. Whose lives are you going to sacrifice? If decisive action is not taken to end these preventable deaths, then who should we hold responsible? Whose lives are we thereby choosing to sacrifice?

  6. TTMA: Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association Reminds NHTSA Why Side Guards Are Not Cost Effective, May 18, 2016 post:

    Yesterday morning, I checked my email and saw that there was a new Public Comment posted on the Federal Register regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Underride Guards.

    I quickly went to the site and saw that the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association had posted a comment (see their comments in the PDFs below). Apparently our Underride Roundtable two weeks ago at IIHS has spurred them to spell out the steps which have been taken over the years to squash side guards from being mandated and manufactured to prevent smaller passenger vehicles from riding under trucks upon collision with the side of the larger vehicle.

    TTMA_Side_Impact_Main_Comment_2016-05-13

    TTMA_Side_impact_Exhibits_A-D_2016-05-13

    Their rationale: Cost/Benefit Analysis shows that adding side guard to trucks is “not cost-effective”. From this post: Truck Trailer Manufacturers Ass’n “Reminds” NHTSA: Side Guards Are “Not Cost-Effective” Says Who? 

    I am encouraged by the closing paragraph of the TTMA letter to NHTSA:

    TTMA would support the implementation of side guards if they ever become justified and technologically feasible. We continue to support the NHTSA review of Petitioners’ requests and stand ready to partner in the development of justified and feasible designs if they possibly emerge. Jeff Simms, President

Truck Underride 101: Discussion Topics

I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride? Truck Underride 101: I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection? Truck Underride 101: II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?

III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

IV. Win/Win

V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

Truck Underride 101: II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?

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.

So, here is Part II of Truck Underride 101.

II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?

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.

RAM CUP: A DIFFERENT STRATEGY
TO ACHIEVE UNDERRIDE PROTECTION
For Such A Time As This

What can we discover from past attitudes or strategies to address underride deaths? Read more hereWhy COMPREHENSIVE Underride Protection Legislation?

  1. International Research and the Underride Roundtable: On May 5, 2016, over 65 representatives from the trucking industry, government, safety advocates, engineers, crash reconstructionists, attorneys, and media will be on hand at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Vehicle Research Center to discuss and demonstrate truck underride crashes.

    In order to prepare for that, I am going to highlight some past and current underride research papers and efforts here. It will, of course, not cover everything and others are welcome to send additional information my way, which I would be more than happy to add to the list.

    Although most of the research below will not appear as a presentation on the agenda, I am hopeful that the information will be considered by all as recommendations for underride protection are discussed and proposed.

    I had actually wanted to put together a packet of this kind of information to hand out to participants. Then I thought that it might be more useful to provide it to a wider audience by posting it on our website. So here it is. . .  Underride Roundtable To Consider Underride Research From Around the Globe

  2. Media Coverage of the first Truck Underride Roundtable held at IIHS on May 5, 2016You will find multiple links below reporting on the Underride Roundtable, which took place on May 5, 2016 at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville Center, co-hosted by them with the Truck Safety Coalition, and our family (AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety).Please note: If you are visiting this site for the first time, please be aware that the reason this Underride Roundtable was organized was because the CURRENT DOT/NHTSA underride standards are TOO WEAK. In way too many cases, even new trucks with underride guards meeting current rules (not just corroded ones) fail and allow underride by a passenger vehicle colliding with them. People die from these kinds of crashes and it has been proven that stronger guards (if required and manufactured) could stop this deadly underride!I know about this because my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), died because of this kind of crash on May 4, 2013. I was driving. A truck hit us–spinning us around so that we went backwards into the tractor-trailer ahead of us. AnnaLeah and Mary were in the back seat which went under the truck. They died. I did not. . .

    Knights of the Roundtable: 

  3. Rear Guard Consensus Specifications submitted to NHTSA: Underride Roundtable Led to Recommendations Submitted as a Consensus Public Comment to NHTSA, August 9, 2016

  4. Comprehensive Underride Consensus Petition Letter to Secretary Foxx: 

    In fact, the development of a COMPREHENSIVE approach to taking care of the truck underride problem was probably first planted in my mind at the Underride Roundtable on May 5, 2016, with the suggestion of a member of the trucking industry.

    Read about that here, including the subsequent actions that resulted in a Comprehensive Underride Consensus Petition which a group of us submitted to Secretary Foxx at DOT on September 23, 2016, and upon which the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 is based.

  5. The RAMCUP/Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 was based upon the months and years of research and collaboration preceding its development:

Truck Underride 101: I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

It’s past time for the industry, truck and trailer manufacturers and NHTSA to get together and establish tough standards for underride guards. We need guards that will withstand the impact of a spinning Crown Victoria like mine and prevent the deadly underride that killed my daughters.

There’s precedent for collaborative action. NHTSA and 20 automakers representing virtually every light vehicle sold in America reached an agreement to make life-saving automatic emergency braking a standard feature on new cars no later than late 2022. And that involves the implementation of advanced technology across tens of millions of vehicles.

The Underride Roundtable demonstrated that communication and collaboration are possible. IIHS has shown that manufacturers can make voluntary improvement, and J.B. Hunt has proved that trailer buyers are willing to purchase safer trucks.

Plenty of engineers say that installing robust underride protection on trucks would be easy. Read our latest petition to NHTSA. Let’s stop stalling on underride protection.

 See more here: https://www.trucks.com/2016/08/10/trucks-underride-hidden-danger/

  1. ToughGuard Award from IIHS for improved rear underride guards: https://www.trucks.com/2017/03/01/insurance-institute-safety-ranking-truck-trailers/

  2. Here’s hoping that research will continue until we have discovered the outer limits of truck underride protection (beyond the 35 mph which the improved guards have been tested at).
  3. DOT Regulatory Priorities for 2017 Despite being included on the list of long-term actions, underride protection for rear guards on trailers and underride protection on single unit trucks are not included as priorities for 2017.And, of course, there is absolutely no mention of underride protection on the sides of large trucks.Is it any wonder that we have taken upon ourselves the task of  doing something about it and  drafted comprehensive underride protection  legislation and are looking to Congress to mandate that DOT carry out effective underride protection rulemaking in a timely fashion?!
  4. What will it take to convince US that side underride kills/side guards save?http://annaleahmary.com/2016/12/what-will-it-take-to-convince-us-that-side-underride-kills-but-side-guards-save-lives/

  5. If people die from riding under SUTs, why aren’t they required to have underride protection?http://annaleahmary.com/2017/04/if-people-die-from-riding-under-single-unit-trucks-why-arent-they-required-to-have-underride-protection/ and http://annaleahmary.com/2017/02/why-put-rear-underride-protection-on-trailers-but-not-single-unit-trucks-any-underride-is-deadly/

  6. Front Underride Protectionhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXZnHq1PUPU and http://annaleahmary.com/2016/08/front-underrun-protection-systems-fups-research-so-why-does-europe-require-this-us-does-not/

  7. IIHS news release on side underridehttp://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/iihs-tests-show-benefits-of-side-underride-guards-for-semitrailers and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrL7AUMT4To

  8. Move Heaven & Earth: Now, it is understandable, amid the multitude of demands and the tyranny of the urgent, that—without a ready solution, in fact, one which would require time and money to develop—this problem has not been given much attention. But, if those who bear responsibility for making sure that this problem gets solved (one way or another) had lost two of their beloved children—or any other loved one—I can guarantee you that they would have moved heaven and earth to find a way to prevent underride.

    What makes it even more distressing is that there are many individuals and organizations, who truly seem concerned about safety, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the trailer manufacturers. Yet, from what I can see, very little communication has taken place to move this problem forward from point A (guards that fail and result in death and/or horrific injuries) to Point B (coming up with a better design that will provide the best protection possible). . .  Is cost truly not a factor? Is safety really a priority and not a competitive matter? Is it possible to improve the communication necessary to prevent more unnecessary deaths? Can we “sit down at the table together” and work this out?

    posted by Marianne Karth, June 26, 2014 http://annaleahmary.com/2014/06/underride-guards-can-we-sit-down-at-the-table-together-and-work-this-out/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY6mp3PWKTA

  9. And that is why I acted, with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety & the Truck Safety Coalition, to catalyze the coming together of 100 people at the Underride Roundtable at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center on May 5, 2016, 3 years after AnnaLeah & Mary were killed in a truck underride crash and am working with others to get the Second Underride Roundtable underway on August 29, 2017 — encouraging us all to work together collaboratively to solve this tragic but preventable  public health problem.

Truck Underride 101

After our horrific truck crash on May 4, 2013, I learned about truck rear underride guards; I had not heard of them before. Since that time, I have learned many more things about deadly underride and how to prevent it.

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.

In the coming days, I will be emailing pieces of information — one at a time (see chart below) — about truck underride to Congress and trucking industry associations. I will also be posting it. Some of it you may already know; some of it may be new to you.

As I have stated before, it is my hope that, now that we have become aware of the tragic but preventable truck underride problem, we will work together swiftly to take decisive action to make sure that trucks are equipped with effective equipment to protect vulnerable road users –pedestrians, bicyclists, and passenger vehicles — from going under the trucks.

My vision is that people will be able to someday drive the roads of this country no longer fearful of riding under a truck, should we be so unfortunate as to collide with one, because they will all be equipped with the best possible underride protection.

Truck Underride 101: Discussion Topics

Underride Discussion Topic/Title

SENT

I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

  1. ToughGuard Award from IIHS

  2. What will it take to convince US that side underride kills/side guards save?

  3. If people die from riding under SUTs, why aren’t they required to have underride protection?

  4. Front Underride Protection

  5. IIHS news release on side underride

  6. Move Heaven & Earth

II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?

  1. International Research and the Underride Roundtable

  2. Knights of the Roundtable

  3. Rear Guard Consensus Specifications submitted to NHTSA

  4. Comprehensive Underride Consensus Petition Letter to Secretary Foxx

III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

  1. Public Comments on Underrride Rulemaking & Cost/Benefit Analysis

  2. Jerry Karth’s Public Comments on Underride Rulemaking

  3. Underride Statistics

  4. The Future of Trucking: Who pays for the costs of safer roads?

  5. Whose lives are you going to sacrifice?

  6. TTMA: Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association Reminds NHTSA Why Side Guards Are Not Cost Effective

IV. Win/Win

  1. Job Creation

  2. Fuel Savings/Super Truck Project

  3. Underride Protection: RETROFIT

  4. Second Collision: Crash Avoidance/Underride Protection

  5. BOTH/AND and opposing arguments

V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

  1. Discussion Handouts

  2. Non-negotiables for RAMCUP

  3. COUP/COUP

  4. FORS Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme

Youtube videos

Memes

RAMCUP Capitol Hill Briefing, June 15, 9-noon: Be Part of the Solution to STOP Truck Underride Tragedies

2 Moms are returning to DC with a week full of meetings on The Hill — including meetings with 13 House Transportation Committee Member Offices. Then, on Thursday, June 15, Lois Durso and I will be hosting a Capitol Hill Briefing on the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 (RAMCUP) from 9 a.m. to noon. Our goal is to get Congress on board with the importance of this doable plan to end preventable truck underride tragedies.

How You Can Help: We will be providing refreshments to those attending the Briefing and would appreciate donations (not tax deductible) to help us cover the costs. If you can help in this way, please email me at marianne@annaleahmary.com or PM me.

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.

Prior to that ANPRM, the FMCSA issued a Report in April 2014 , as required (actually one year late). They are required by Congress to issue reports every four years, which means another report should have been completed by April 4, 2017 (or thereabouts). “Section 32104 of MAP-21. . . directed the Secretary [of Transportation] to determine the appropriateness of these requirements every 4 years beginning April 4, 2013.”

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 initially established the minimum level of financial responsibility for motor carriers:

The legislative history of the MCA shows that Congress included section 30 because “the issue of financial responsibility…is inextricably bound to the entry provisions of the legislation that directly concern the ‘fitness’ of the carrier to operate in interstate commerce.”11 Further, the legislative history of the MCA indicates that the purpose of section 30 was “to create additional incentives to carriers to maintain and operate their trucks in a safe manner as well as to assure that carriers maintain an appropriate level of financial responsibility.”12

The legislative history of section 30 indicates that setting minimum levels of financial responsibility would address two concerns. First, the minimum levels would “assure that public safety is not jeopardized” in connection with the increased entry to the industry due to deregulation.13 Second, the minimum levels would ease concerns that the largely deregulated industry would put pressure on safe operators to cut costs to meet the prices of their competitors, “some of which may cut costs by operating in violation of minimum safety standards.”14

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Financial-Responsibility-Requirements-Report-Enclosure-FINAL-April%202014.pdf

Clearly, Congress intended for the insurance industry to be the gatekeeper of the motor carrier industry to ensure the safety of the American public.

MAP-21 continued the process to ensure that appropriate increases would be put in place. A summary of the April 2014 FMCSA Report, from the Executive Summary on page 1, sheds light on the matter:

On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141). Section 32104 of MAP-21 directed the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a report to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives on the appropriateness of the current minimum financial responsibility requirements for motor carriers of property and passengers, and the current bond and insurance requirements for freight forwarders and brokers.

Section 32104 also directed the Secretary to issue a report on the appropriateness of these requirements every 4 years starting April 1, 2013. The Secretary delegated the responsibility for this report to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Interstate motor carriers and transportation intermediaries, as well as certain intrastate hazardous materials carriers, are required by law to maintain minimum levels of financial responsibility. 2 This report explains the history of these requirements, examines the current minimum insurance levels for the different sectors, provides background on the motor carrier industry, and summarizes the findings of a recent FMCSA-sponsored study on the adequacy of the Agency’s current required minimum levels of financial responsibility, as well as findings from other reports on minimums. The report does not examine the current bond and insurance requirements for freight forwarders and brokers since MAP-21 mandated these requirements to be $75,000 effective October 1, 2013, and the Agency will report on the appropriateness of these levels after it has had the opportunity to observe their impacts.

The legislative history of minimum insurance requirements for commercial motor vehicles (CMV) indicates that Congress recognized that crash costs would change over time and that DOT would periodically examine the levels and make adjustments as necessary. A variety of recent studies indicate that inflation has greatly increased medical claims costs and related expenses. In conclusion, FMCSA has determined that the current financial responsibility minimums are due for re-evaluation. The Agency has formed a rulemaking team to further evaluate the appropriate level of financial responsibility for the motor carrier industry and has placed this rulemaking among the Agency’s high priority rules. The FMCSA will continue to meet with the stakeholders, including impacted industries, safety advocacy groups, and private citizens, as it moves forward with developing a proposed rule.

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Financial-Responsibility-Requirements-Report-Enclosure-FINAL-April%202014.pdf

Although the Secretary delegated the responsibility for this report to the FMCSA, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) stated to us in person on August 12, 2013 – three months after our tragic truck crash – that the Secretary of Transportation has the authority to act administratively to increase the minimum financial responsibility levels.

In fact, FMCSA, subsequent to publishing their initial report in April 2014, issued an ANPRM on November 28, 2014, to continue study of this issue. Following that, FMCSA took these actions:

  1. The Agency formed a rulemaking team to evaluate the appropriate level of financial responsibility for the motor carrier industry and placed this rulemaking amontgthe Agency’s high priority rules.

  2. This study was discussed at the FMCSA Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC).

  3. FMCSA asked for Public Comments.

  4. FMCSA reportedly did not receive the substantive information — through the Public Comment process – which they have stated is necessary for them to do the required cost benefit analysis (according to their interpretation of EO 12866) in order to move the rulemaking process forward (for signature by the Secretary and approval by the OMB/OIRA).

  5. FMCSA asked for voluntary compliance from the insurance industry. However, there has been no information provided from the insurance industry to verify the claim that the insurance premiums for trucking companies would skyrocket to $20,000/year when the minimum liability levels are raised (as reported to independent owner-operators by the OOIDA, who is in fact an insurer for many OOIDA members http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=29050 ) and that “the only winners would be trial attorneys and large motor carriers.” This allegation has never been substantiated.

  6. The next step by FMCSA, according to an email which we received on June 11, 2015, from an administrator in the FMCSA, was to try another tactic to get the information from the insurance industry:

    FMCSA does not have information to estimate the increase in insurance premiums if the Agency increased the current $750,000 limit (for property carriers transporting general freight) to $4.2 million. As part of the rulemaking process, the Agency would need to gather this thpe of information to determine the costs of requiring carriers to increase their coverage. We just published a rulemaking on “Confidential Business Information” to help encourage insurance companies to share some of their proprietary information with the Agency for our use in the rulemaking process, without disclosing to the general public the confidential information. Hopefully, the new rules on confidential information will help us get the data we need.        

  1. The final step was taken by the FMCSA to formally withdraw the ANPRM on June 5, 2017.

It should be noted that, if the Secretary of Transportation merely raised the minimum level to adjust for inflation, the $750,000 set in 1980, using the latest U.S. Government CPI data (http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/), would be equivalent to $2,225,643.20 in 2017. Additionally, the Value of Statistical Life set by the Department of Transportation is currently listed as $9.6 million as of August 8, 2016.

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/2016%20Revised%20Value%20of%20a%20Statistical%20Life%20Guidance.pdf

It must therefore be asked, Has the FMCSA done due diligence to obtain the required information to do the study mandated by Congress? In fact, could they have gone a step further, as we have been told by a former DOT administrator, and issued a subpoena to the insurance industry to obtain this information? Could FMCSA even have requested Congress to hold a formal hearing – as we have requested numerous times — to obtain information from the insurance industry?

Where do we go from here? What are the options at this point for resolving this issue? Given that it has been over 30 years since the current level was set, and that the FMCSA has had adequate time to act and report on this supposedly priority rulemaking, it now seems prudent to:

  1. Call upon Elaine Chao, as the Secretary of Transportation, to do what no other Secretary since 1980 has done and act upon her authority to set a new minimum level of financial responsibility for the motor carrier industry and immediately raise it from $750,000 to $2,225,000.

  2. Following that decisive action, FMCSA should then:

  • Ask Congress to hold a public hearing to obtain the necessary information from the insurance industry;  OR

  • Subpoena the insurance industry to provide the required information.

  • Then immediately proceed with NPRM rulemaking – setting it as a top priority to determine future actions which should be taken to raise the minimum levels according to other calculations besides adjustment for inflation, both now and in the future as mandated by Congress.

If we do nothing to address this problem, then we will continue to expose the traveling public to greater risk of truck crash tragedies. Who should we hold responsible for the resulting deaths? And who will bear the economic burden of this negligence?

Jerry and Marianne Karth

June 4, 2017

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

Demand for Due Diligence Action by FMCSA.pdf

Further Information on this issue: FMCSA will withdraw rule to raise truck min. liability ins. Who is responsible & who will pay the price?