“Deadly side underride crashes can now be addressed”

Robert Martineau, President and CEO of Airflow Deflector, Inc., discusses the problem of side underride:

It’s one of the most devastating traffic accidents: A car slams into the side of a tractor-trailer and crashes underneath and where most of its many safety features like airbags and other sensors are rendered worthless. As a result, the top of the vehicle may be sheared off; in many cases, the occupants are fatally injured.

Read more here: Announcement: “Deadly side underride crashes can now be addressed”

Perry Ponder, inventor of the AngelWing side underride protective device, explains to Jerry Karth how his side guard is installed and does its life-saving work.

“Cameras along I-85 monitoring commercial vehicle safety”

Seems like a smart way to monitor large trucks to catch safety violations:

The cameras and scales along I-85 scan and weigh commercial vehicles, allowing troopers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

“Rather than a trooper just ride around burning fuel looking for violations he can come here use this technology that will track violations when one is headed his direction,” said Sgt. Jarrett.

It’s the newest technology available, the first in a high speed area.

“It takes a picture of their DOT number and the license plate and that’s where the light comes from and it researches the data base and puts that information in a database,” said Randy Braden, Assistant State Maintenance Engineer, ALDOT.

If there’s an infraction, the database will alert a nearby trooper, focusing on commercial vehicle safety and enforcement in real-time, in a time when doing more with less is the norm.

“We’re very, very shorthanded the most I’ve ever seen in my 19 year career so efficiency is key,” said Sgt. Jarrett.

ALDOT says they are in the process of getting the cameras certified and when that happens a sign will be put up explaining their purpose. Alabama transportation officials say they have funding set aside for another camera unit.

Officials say these devices are popping up all over the country due to their low operation cost in comparison to weigh stations.  A new weigh station would cost $10-15 million dollars to build while the virtual weigh station cost $300,000 to install.  Cameras along I-85 monitoring commercial vehicle safety

Sen. @CoryBooker gave me directions & carried my bag from Union Station to The Hill

So. . . I get off Amtrak at Union Station in D. C. ready to walk to the Hart Senate building to join Lois Durso in a meeting with Senate committee staff. I had a general idea of which way to head. But when I couldn’t figure out which crosswalk to cross at, I decided to ask a couple of men who were heading in the same direction.

They were very gracious when I asked them which street was Massachusetts and which was the Hart Building. Then I realized one of them was Senator Cory Booker and he confirmed it was so. He and his chief of staff each began pulling one of my bags.

I mentioned that I had met him at the truck safety Subcommittee hearing recently and had lost two daughters. He remembered. As we kept walking, he was periodically swamped by grateful constituents and I carried on a great conversation with his chief of staff about the underride protection bill which Lois and I had drafted in an attempt to solve this deadly problem once and for all.

An amazing start in this crusade to garner support for a very important piece of lifesaving legislation! I could hardly wait to tell Lois how Someone was continuing to go before us and guide our steps.

Lois and I talking with Senator Booker at the Senate hearing on March 14 — one day before we jumped on the idea of writing an underride protection bill and the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 was born.

RAM CUP

2 moms going back to DC. Ready to shed light on the problem of truck underride & the need for change.

2 moms going back to DC. Ready to shed light on the problem of truck underride & the need for change.

The Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 Information Packet

Informational brochure to pass out on The Hill:

2 moms full of energy & determination:

“Great Dane receives TOUGHGUARD award for under-ride safety guards”

Great Dane is one of the 5 trailer manufacturers which has voluntarily upgraded its rear underride guard: Great Dane receives TOUGHGUARD award for under-ride safety guards

The new guard is designed to help stop vehicles from sliding beneath a trailer in a rear-impact crash, and that can help prevent injuries, he said.

To ensure a higher level of safety for all Great Dane reefers, dry vans and platform trailers, Great Dane will include the new rear impact guard as standard equipment on all of its trailer models beginning later this year.

In addition, because of the new rear impact guard’s bolt-on design, Great Dane will offer a retrofit option to upgraded rear impact guards on 2007 and later models. The retrofit can be installed easily at any authorized Great Dane service center.

This is important because:

Here’s hoping that research will continue until we have discovered the outer limits of truck underride protection.

DOT Regulatory Priorities for 2017

This is what I found out today about DOT’s regulatory priorities for 2017. . .

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) priorities for 2017:

The statutory responsibilities of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relating to motor vehicles include reducing the number, and mitigating the effects, of motor vehicle crashes and related fatalities and injuries; providing safety performance information to aid prospective purchasers of vehicles, child restraints, and tires; and improving automotive fuel efficiency. NHTSA pursues policies that encourage the development of nonregulatory approaches when feasible in meeting its statutory mandates. It issues new standards and regulations or amendments to existing standards and regulations when appropriate. It ensures that regulatory alternatives reflect a careful assessment of the problem and a comprehensive analysis of the benefits, costs, and other impacts associated with the proposed regulatory action. Finally, it considers alternatives consistent with the Administration’s regulatory principles.

NHTSA plans to issue a final rule on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications in Fiscal Year 2017. V2V communications are currently perceived to become a foundational aspect of vehicle automation. NHTSA will publish a final rule on heavy vehicle speed limiters in response to petitions for rulemaking and recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board. In Fiscal Year 2017 NHTSA will also finalize rulemaking for Tire Fuel Efficiency in response to requirements of the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007. In response to requirements in MAP-21, NHTSA plans to continue work toward a final rule that would require automobile manufacturers to install a seat belt reminder system for the front passenger and rear designated seating positions in passenger vehicles. The seat belt reminder system is intended to increase belt usage and thereby improve the crash protection of vehicle occupants who would otherwise have been unbelted.

In addition to numerous programs that focus on the safe performance of motor vehicles, the Agency is engaged in a variety of programs to improve driver and occupant behavior. These programs emphasize the human aspects of motor vehicle safety and recognize the important role of the States in this common pursuit. NHTSA has identified two high-priority areas: Safety belt use and impaired driving. To address these issue areas, the Agency is focusing especially on three strategies-conducting highly visible, well-publicized enforcement; supporting prosecutors who handle impaired driving cases and expanding the use of DWI/Drug Courts, which hold offenders accountable for receiving and completing treatment for alcohol abuse and dependency; and adopting alcohol screening and brief intervention by medical and health care professionals. Other behavioral efforts encourage child safety-seat use; combat excessive speed, driver distraction, and aggressive driving; improve motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian safety; and provide consumer information to the public.

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.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) priorities for 2017:

The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial trucks and buses. A strong regulatory program is a cornerstone of FMCSA’s compliance and enforcement efforts to advance this safety mission. FMCSA develops new and more effective safety regulations based on three core priorities: Raising the safety bar for entry, maintaining high standards, and removing high-risk behavior. In addition to Agency-directed regulations, FMCSA develops regulations mandated by Congress, through legislation such as MAP-21. FMCSA regulations establish standards for motor carriers, commercial drivers, commercial motor vehicles, and State agencies receiving certain motor carrier safety grants and issuing commercial drivers’ licenses.

FMCSA’s regulatory plan for FY 2017 includes completion of a number of rulemakings that are high priorities for the Agency because they would have a positive impact on safety. Among the rulemakings included in the plan are: (1) Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (RIN 2126-AB11), (2) Entry Level Driver Training (RIN 2126-AB66), and (3) Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (RIN 2126-AB18).

Together, these priority rules could improve substantially commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety on our Nation’s highways by increasing FMCSA’s ability to provide safety oversight of motor carriers and commercial drivers.

In FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (RIN 2126-AB11) to establish a new safety fitness determination standard that will enable the Agency to prohibit “unfit” carriers from operating on the Nation’s highways and contribute to the Agency’s overall goal of decreasing CMV-related fatalities and injuries.

In FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on Entry Level Driver Training (RIN 2126-AB66). This rule would establish training requirements for individuals before they can obtain their CDL or certain endorsements. It will define curricula for training providers and establish requirements and procedures for the schools.

Also in FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (RIN 2126-AB18). The rule would establish a clearinghouse requiring employers and service agents to report information about current and prospective employees’ drug and alcohol test results. It would require employers and certain service agents to search the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees’ positive drug and alcohol test results as a condition of permitting those employees to perform safety-sensitive functions. This would provide FMCSA and employers the necessary tools to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before resuming safety-sensitive functions.

Despite being included on the list of long-term actions, acting on our petition to raise the minimum liability insurance for trucking companies from $750,000 (per incident) is not listed as a priority for 2017.

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?!

We are also trying to push for action on the minimum liability insurance issue — not raised since the early 1980s.

Note: In identifying our regulatory priorities for the next year, the Department considered its mission and goals and focused on a number of factors, including the following:

  • The relative risk being addressed
  • Requirements imposed by law
  • Actions on the National Transportation Safety Board “Most Wanted List”
  • The costs and benefits of the regulations
  • The advantages of nonregulatory alternatives
  • Opportunities for deregulatory action
  • The enforceability of any rule, including the effect on agency resourcesThis regulatory plan identifies the Department’s regulatory priorities-the 19 pending rulemakings chosen, from among the dozens of significant rulemakings listed in the Department’s broader regulatory agenda, that the Department believes will merit special attention in the upcoming year. The rules included in the regulatory plan embody the Department’s focus on our strategic goals.

 

“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

Australian Engineer Comments on U.S. Underride Protection

See a paper by Raphael Grzebieta and George Rechnitzer here: Proposed Australian/New Zealand AS/NZS 3845.2 Standard for Truck Underrun Barriers: Design, Testing and Performance Requirements

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

March Historically a Momentous Month for Truck Underride Safety Advocacy; Beware the Ides of March!

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.

Lois and I met after the February 7, 2017, airing of the Today Show investigative report on side underride. Ever since, we have been meeting with truck industry and government leaders to raise awareness on the problem of deadly truck underride and the solutions available to prevent these tragedies.

At the end of our time in Washington, D.C., last week, Lois and I decided that enough was enough! We were sick and tired of waiting for someone else to resolve this decades-old problem. So we took the bull by the horn and drafted comprehensive underride protection legislation. And, today, we introduced the country’s legislators to our proposal.

We are hoping to get widespread, bipartisan support. We welcome participation by citizens willing to contact their legislators — urging them to sponsor and vote for this life-saving bill, the RAM CUP Act of 2017.

If they have not heard of this bill yet, please send them to our website (annaleahmary.com) for further information:

Lois Durso and Marianne Karth getting ready to attend the Senate hearing on Continuing to Improve Truck Safety in Washington, DC, March 14, 2017
Beginning to draft the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act, at Union Station, March 15, 2017

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?