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.

See it for yourself because Seeing Is Believing:

This one may be tough to watch:

The IIHS released the news today:

Note this quote from David Zuby, IIHS Chief Research Officer:
 

“Our tests and research show that side underride guards have the potential to save lives,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s executive vice president and chief research officer. “We think a mandate for side underride guards on large trucks has merit, especially as crash deaths continue to rise on our roads.”

The wheels on a tractor and trailer offer some underride protection if a passenger vehicle were to strike them. With no side underride guard, only 28 percent of a 53-foot trailer’s length would be protected from underride. With the AngelWing side underride guard in place, 62 percent of the trailer’s length would be protected. Side underride guards can be retrofitted to existing semitrailers.

The IIHS also released data from their recent in-depth analysis of NHTSA FARS truck crash fatality information:

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2-vehicle crashes with tractor-trailers, 2005-15

IIHS analysis of NHTSA FARS Data

Year

Passenger vehicle

strikes side

of tractor-trailer

Passenger vehicle

strikes rear

of tractor-trailer

All crashes

with tractor-trailers

2015

301

292

1,542

2014

308

220

1,409

2013

274

213

1,377

2012

306

216

1,376

2011

246

189

1,362

2010

319

181

1,417

2009

269

174

1,237

2008

290

180

1,526

2007

417

218

1,771

2006

394

260

1,853

2005

441

258

1,932

Per Matt Brumbelow and Eric Teoh, IIHS, May 10, 2017

March 30, 2017, AngelWing Crash Test: Lois Durso, John Lannen, Andy Young, Marianne Karth, Jerry Karth, Martin Fleury, Perry Ponder, Mariella Amoros, Robert Martineau

If this many people were dying from an automotive defect and we knew it and we knew how to fix it, would we stand by and let those deaths continue?! Maybe that is the wrong question to ask because those kinds of deadly defects have been neglected as well. But the point is,

What will we choose to do at this crossroads?

Continue to allow underride deaths?

OR

Act responsibly to prevent these tragedies?

This is not the first time we have witnessed successful prevention of deadly side underride:

Let’s mandate/install comprehensive underride protection — all around all large trucks — now! RAMCUP Draft 9 Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017

They fought the good fight, they finished the race. . .

” . . the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day; and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

 

Every Day’s A Holiday With Mary; Joyful Memories of Mary

It would be hard to think of anything but joy when I remember Mary.

AnnaLeah stages a photoshoot: What a pair! AnnaLeah directed a photoshoot of Mary “reading” a book.

Gremlins in the Basement: A short film about a little girl who has lost something and the gremlins that don’t want to give it back. Ever wonder what happens to those things that you just can’t find? Maybe the gremlins know. Starring Mary Lydia Karth

Amazing Grace Goodbye, AnnaLeah & Mary, With Love From Grandpa

AnnaLeah and Mary heard their Grandpa Waldron sing “Amazing Grace” many times throughout their lives. They sang along countless time themselves as he played one of the many dulcimers he had made.

And they knew their heavenly Father’s amazing grace. That thought holds comfort in this time of remembrance. But it broke my heart that I could not tell them goodbye.

Mary and AnnaLeah traveled to see their grandpa buried close by where we would bury them not quite two years later. And there we sang “Amazing Grace” once more, as we bade our fare thee well.

Until we meet again.  Fly away to Jesus!

(As we approached the anniversary of Mary’s passing early on May 8, 2013, I put together this video of AnnaLeah & Mary with the sweet music of their grandpa singing Amazing Grace, with his dulcimer.)

Truck Industry Leaders: “Clarity is probably the biggest need we have so we can plan accordingly.”

I just read with great interest Trucks.com report on the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo at the Long Beach, Calif.,  convention center this week , where “major industry players pledged to stay the course on advancements in fuel economy and alternative technologies despite regulatory uncertainty.”

Here’s hoping that they will do the same regarding advances in truck safety issues — in particular, underride protection. In fact, several of the comments which I read in that article indicate that our Comprehensive Underride Protection bill is right in line with industry thinking:

  • . . . if there’s a technological path to improve fuel economy, manufacturers are going to pursue it, because those with better fuel economy are going to have a better advantage in the economy,” said Steve Gilligan, vice president of product and vocational marketing of the North American business unit at Navistar International Corp.
  • . . . speakers returned repeatedly to the tangle of regulations governing emissions, innovations and infrastructure. . . “Ten years ago, things were pretty static, but now it’s almost like the automobile industry was back in 1900, when people didn’t know if the vehicles were going to run on steam, whale oil or something else,” said Brian Lindgren, research and development director at Kenworth Truck Co. “If you were a young engineer, this would be an exciting time to be in the truck industry.”
  • Panelists said that coordinating their vehicle development strategy across the various regulations is a priority.
  • Most panelists said they were pushing ahead anyway with fuel-efficient truck designs to satisfy customer demand.
  • But some said they would welcome some streamlining of more complicated, conflicting regulations – if the administration communicated its plans.

    “We’re trying to separate the noise from the facts – clarity is probably the biggest need we have so we can plan accordingly,” Gilligan said.

  • And as tests of platooning and driverless technologies progress and other breakthroughs loom, panelists urged the government to develop cohesive rules that apply nationwide, not just in a patchwork of states.

    “We can demonstrate that technology on the road, but we need a regulatory framework, testing validation and eventually deployment too,” Schaefer said.

Read more here: Trucking Leaders Plan to Stay Course on Phase 2 GHG RegsTIFFANY HSU EDITOR’S PICKS, REGULATION

That preference for a coordinated, comprehensive technological game plan is what was communicated by a trucking industry representative at the Underride Roundtable one year ago on May 5, 2016. And it is what we have worked tirelessly to develop since that time — leading up to the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 (RAMCUP).

We are giving them what they asked for — a comprehensive regulatory and technological framework for achieving SAFER trucks — a way to ensure that travelers will no longer be vulnerable victims of Death by Underride.

AnnaLeah Karth. May 15, 1995 – May 4, 2013. Death by Underride.

Remembering our AnnaLeah. . .

AnnaLeah Karth

May 15, 1995 – May 4, 2013. Death by Underride.

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.

That is why I am pounding the pavement in our nation’s capital to tell our story and bring attention to this deadly problem and its solution:

AnnaLeah & Mary, nothing will ever bring you back to us here, but

And someday, we will see you once again.

Visual Tools to Remind Congress: You have the authority to protect The People from Death by Underride.

As we prepare to go to The Hill next week to participate in a bipartisan discussion of the Comprehensive Underride Protection Bill (RAMCUP Act of 2017; RAM = Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary), I am preparing a video to share our message. One of the things I need to do is figure out if I can find a song or musical background which expresses what I am trying to say.

I want it to convey what we are setting out to do next week on The Hill. We are going to communicate the message that this country was founded on principles of governing that promote the welfare of the people. We are going to remind our legislators that the ball has been dropped for decades and our People have not been protected from Death by Violent Underride.

We are going to remind them that they have a responsibility to use their authority and position to act decisively to ensure that people are hereon out protected from such horrific and preventable tragedies. For the People. We the People are calling on them to do so.

This is not just about trying to get members of Congress to feel sad about our losses and give us their condolences, it is about motivating them to do the right thing — to do what only they can do and make Comprehensive Underride Protection the Law of the Land.

What song will convey that message?

This dilemma reminds me of how effective this form of communication can be. It made me remember the package which I got in the mail last year telling us that our story was going to be included in a law review article titled Visualizing Rulemaking.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter in that package:

We are law professors at the University of Washington in Seattle, and we are writing because we have been deeply moved by your website in memory of your daughters and inspired by your campaign to improve truck safety by mandating new underride protections. Between the two of us, we have five children, and we now never drive on the highway without thinking about your family’s accident and the need for increased safety measures.

We found your website when we were researching and co-authoring a law review article titled “Visualizing Rulemaking,” which discusses the way that people are harnessing the power of visual images and social media to influence the federal administrative rulemaking process. We describe your rulemaking campaign as an excellent and powerful example of ordinary citizens using modern, highly visual tools to effect change in the regulatory realm. Kathryn Watts and Liz Porter

Here is their published article: VISUAL RULEMAKING ELIZABETH G. PORTER† & KATHRYN A. WATTS‡, NYU Law Review, Volume 91, Number 5

Our story is included on pages 41 and 42 (1223, 1224) and 64 (1246) of the pdf.

“Blind Spots in Police Reports Hamper Efforts to Curb Deadly Crashes, Study Says”

After our truck crash on May 4, 2013, we waited for months to receive the crash investigation report (SCRTE) from the state highway patrol. It was detailed but left out a lot of important information.

For example, there was no mention of underride in the report (or on the police crash form). Also, we were not able to find out any verification about the truck driver’s hours of service prior to the crash — except for his verbal report on when he had started out that day on his trip.

It is likely that this paucity of information has contributed to decades of delay in effectively solving the issues of truck underride and driver fatigue — among others.

Inadequate crash information is, in fact, the norm. What might we be able to discover and change were this situation to improve? The National Safety Council has raised this question:

The scope of deadly hazards such as texting and drug use by drivers may be underestimated and not adequately addressed because police aren’t collecting enough information at crash scenes, according to a new report.

The report, released today by the National Safety Council, also found that no state systematically records whether crashes involve vehicles with self-driving features, such as collision-avoidance systems.

The group said more attention must be focused on the problem with a shift from an “accident-report mentality” to crash investigation. It is important to know not just what happened, but why it happened, said Deborah Hersman, chief executive of the safety council, a nonprofit group.

“Better data enables us to make better decisions when it comes to our priorities, our investment and our technology,” she told FairWarning. . .

Safety researchers already conduct crash tests and computer simulations trying to determine how well a vehicle will protect its occupants. But detailed information from a crash is important to understand what happens in the real world, said Charles Farmer, the vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group funded by the insurance industry.

Researchers like Farmer have yearned for that information for at least three decades.

Since 1998, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that regulates traffic safety, has been working with the Governors Highway Safety Association trying to get police to collect more detailed and standardized information. Their recommended Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria has 110 items.

Every state uses that form “to some degree and most states use most of the data elements,” said Barbara Harsha, former GHSA executive director.

Despite NHTSA and GHSA working on the issue for almost two decades, the safety council report concluded that “no state is adequately capturing the crash data we need to understand why crashes are rising, and form an effective path forward.”

Fair Warning, Blind Spots in Police Reports Hamper Efforts to Curb Deadly Crashes, Study Says By Christopher Jensen on April 25, 2017

Are we truly a country of united states? Can we work together more effectively to solve this issue or do we have such a high need to act independently to take care of it ourselves? Lives are at stake.

National Safety Council important report: Undercounted Is Underinvested; HOW INCOMPLETE CRASH REPORTS IMPACT EFFORTS TO SAVE LIVES

Why on earth don’t we establish National Traffic Safety Standards & require them to be adopted by States?

 

Could comprehensive truck underride protection have prevented 2 underride deaths in Michigan yesterday?

At this time of year (who am I kidding, all year long), I think about how if there had been comprehensive and effective underride protection on trucks, then  AnnaLeah and Mary might have still been here today. They could have gone with me to the zoo on Friday when I went there with my grandson.

How many deaths and catastrophic injuries could be prevented by comprehensive underride protection on all trucks? Might these two deaths in Michigan yesterday have been prevented?

Two people died and a third was critically hurt today in a multiple-vehicle crash involving a semi that shut down southbound U.S. 23 in Livingston County for hours.

One of the people killed, a 51-year-old man from Milford, was in a Ford Focus that went underneath the semi, according to a release from the Green Oak Charter Township Police Department. Also in that car was a 26-year-old woman that taken to University of Michigan Hospitals with life-threatening injuries. The other man killed was a 52-year-old from Davison who was in a Chevrolet Sonic rear-ended by the semi.

Read more here: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/04/23/semi-crash-us-23-green-oak-livingston/100822330/