“Michael Bloomberg: Automakers, developing nations must commit to auto safety”

Michael Bloomberg calls on automakers to do their part to reduce crash deaths globally:

If car crashes were an infectious disease, like malaria or polio, governments, international aid organizations and foundations would pour money and energy into stopping it — as is only right.  If that kind of determination is brought to bear on road crashes, we can save millions of lives and prevent untold amounts of heartache and grief. 

Michael Bloomberg: Automakers, developing nations must commit to auto safety, June 4, 2017, Detroit Free Press

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?

FMCSA will withdraw rule to raise truck min. liability ins. Who is responsible & who will pay the price?

Please pray for us to have wisdom on how to respond to the upcoming action (on Monday, June 5, 2017) by the DOT/FMCSA to WITHDRAW RULEMAKING on trucking minimum liability insurance  — which has not been raised in over 30 years.

This issue is one of the three #trucksafety issues which we included in our 2014 AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition. FMCSA responded with rulemaking in November 2014. The 11,000+ petition signatures were added to the Public Comments for this Proposed Rule.

The AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/957/501/869/stand-up-for-truck-safety/

The signtures were posted on the Federal Register hereThe is a Comment on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Proposed Rule: Financial Responsibility for Motor Carriers, Freight Forwarders and Brokers: AnnaLeah and Mary Karth – Comments

Articles on this upcoming action:

  1. FMCSA Yanks Minimum Insurance Rulemaking, Heavy Duty Trucking, Truckinginfo.com, David Cullen, June 2, 2017
  2. FMCSA officially nixes rule on increasing minimum liability insurance required for carriers, Overdrive|June 02, 2017
  3. FMCSA Drops Plans to Study Raising Insurance Minimums for Motor Carriers, Brokers  This article even mentions that our 11,366 petition signatures were included in the Public Comments considered by FMCSA .
Who bears responsibility for this decades-long delay?
  1. The trucking industry for acting to delay progress on this important issue.
  2. FMCSA for not using their authority to subpoena the insurance industry to provide the necessary information for the required cost/benefit analysis.
  3. The insurance industry for not providing the requested information.
  4. The Secretary of Transportation for not using his/her authority to sign in an increase — as was originally intended.
  5. Congress for not acting to make sure that this issue is properly addressed.
  6. The President for not signing a Vision Zero Executive Order to ensure that safety rules are not delayed or diluted by cost/benefit analysis that does not give appropriate value to the preservation of human life and health.

See the April 2014 FMCSA Report on this issue: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Financial-Responsibility-Requirements-Report-Enclosure-FINAL-April%202014.pdf

Read more about this issue here:

Fortunately we plan on submitting a public comment to the upcoming FMCSA Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee public meeting on June 12 in D.C.

Despite our requests for Congress to hold a hearing to force the insurance industry to provide the necessary financial information, no one has been willing to do this. As Jerry says, it is a very one-sided situation: The FMCSA is apparently accepting the information that the rates will sky-rocket and trucking companies will go out of business  — although no one has been able to offer proof of this. At the same time, the FMCSA is apparently not accepting the proof that the current liability level is not adequate to cover the costs to society of these truck crashes.

Furthermore, this issue not only impacts the compensation for truck crash tragedies to the victims and the cost to society, but it also limits the ability of the market to ensure that trucking companies are held accountable for their safety practices.

 What will break through this roadblock?

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

Manufacturer of Side Guards Offers Incentive to City Truck Fleets In Response to Recent Pedestrian Fatality

I received the following email after a pedestrian died under the side of a garbage truck in NYC:

Hello, everyone.

Not sure if you saw this accident in NYC this week.  A very sad and preventable story.  http://nypost.com/2017/05/17/horrified-bystanders-watch-as-woman-is-killed-by-garbage-truck/

To this end and to help with the cause, Airflow Deflector will now be offering an additional shared credit of $500.00 towards the purchase and installation of our side guards before the end of June, 2017.   The credit is optional and each certified garage is optional.

In addition, Airflow Deflector is prepared to offer a finance package to those who want to install side guards on their fleet under this program.

Here is our post with more details   http://airflowdeflector.com/subvention_bic/

Thank you for sharing.

Robert Martineau

Toll-Free Line | 866-717-8737 extension 634

www.airflowdeflector.com

 

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

 

AnnaLeah, Colorful & Insightful Word-Weaver

My daughter-in-law posted the question on Facebook today, “What books do you think all kids should read?” That made me think, of course, about the Book Reading Lists which AnnaLeah had created. Incomplete and unfinished.

She had a 600-book collection herself  — mostly used — and would have acquired more, I’m sure. She loved to give books as gifts to her niece and nephew and read to them often.

Here are some of her lists:

The Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where we were living when the crash occurred, donated a book in the girls’ names. AnnaLeah , a booklover, would have appreciated that gesture.

And here is AnnaLeah’s Statement of Faith, which she wrote when she was 12:

Happy Birthday, AnnaLeah!

 

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:

  1. Sign our Side Guard Petition to let our government & trucking industry leaders know that you want them to act NOW to SAVE LIVES by putting Comprehensive Underride Protection on large trucks.
  2. Contact Your Federal Elected Officials and ask them to support the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection bill:President Donald Trump – Contact the President of the United States by filling out the online contact form or by calling the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 or the comments line at 202-456-1111 during business hours.
    Members of the U.S. Congress:
    U.S. Senators – Get contact information for your Senators in the U.S. Senate.
    U.S. Representatives – Find the website and contact information for your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  3. Let me know if you get any response from them, and I can invite them to join in the bipartisan discussions of this bill on The Hill.
  4. Join us in a March in DC to raise awareness & let Congress know that we want them to pass the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act — sooner rather than later. Stay tuned for details as they develop. Let us know if you are interested in joining us: marianne@annaleahmary.com.
  5. We are planning a Seeing Is Believing Media Event on the Capitol Grounds simultaneous with the March in DC.  We want Congress to be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that underride crashes are both tragic and preventable. This will require some additional resources to pull off — to cover the costs of either a crash test on site or a multimedia event with a large screen projection of the convincing IIHS side underride crash testing video footage. If you want to donate to this important project, you can do so at the AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety (501(c)(3) website.
  6. We will be sending letters to transportation companies alerting them to the IIHS research and asking them to buy trucks with comprehensive underride protection. If you would like to send some letters yourself, contact me at marianne@annaleahmary.com to find out how to do so.