Tag Archives: highway safety

“Little has been done at the nat’l level to educate drivers how to merge safely & efficiently” Why not?

Interesting read on the history and theories of merging and its impact on traffic bottlenecks. . . Recurring Traffic Bottlenecks: A Primer Focus on Low-Cost Operational Improvements

Including such things as:

  • What Exactly is a “Traffic Bottleneck”?
  • “Good News” and “Bad News” About Fixing Bottlenecks
  • Understanding Merging at Recurring Bottlenecks
  • The Difference in Merging for Recurring and Nonrecurring Conditions
  • Which is Best? “Early” or “Late” Merging?
  • What Instruction is Given to Motorists?
  • Early Attempts to Direct Motorists How to Merge
  • Merge Principles
  • Principle #1: “Go Slow to Go Fast”
  • Principle #2: Keep Sufficient Gaps
  • Principle #3: Zippering
  • Is Murphy Right? Does the Other Lane “Always Move Faster”?
  • Principles Put Into Practice: Variable Speed Limits and Speed Harmonization

“Excepting for some basic, generic instruction in states’ drivers manuals (“wait for a safe gap in traffic” – typ.) little has been done at the national level to educate drivers how to merge safely and efficiently, as compared to other national education efforts promoting seat belt compliance, school zone safety, traveler information, or pedestrian rights and practices. The perceived reason for this may simply be the expectation that there will always be drivers who feel they know best how and when to merge in a queue, irrespective of any instruction to the contrary.”

Sounds to me like a project which should be added to a National Vision Zero Action Plan.


Vehicle violence

Importance of uniform legislative standards in reducing accidents cannot be overestimated, July 31, 1934

I can’t get this out of my head: why are we waiting for states to adopt their own traffic safety standards instead of establishing National Traffic Safety Standards which states are required to adopt? What is this–the Wild, Wild West? We are the united states of America–are we not?

Why on earth don’t we establish National Traffic Safety Standards & require them to be adopted by States? (Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety held a press conference which I watched live-stream. They released their 13th Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws–outlining the 319 proven safety laws which many states have not adopted, including such things as seat belt usage, motorcycle helmet laws, impaired driving, child passenger safety, teen graduated licensing laws, and distracted driving.)

Should not proven safety standards be applied universally?

Note this statement from the 1934 National Conference on Highway Safety:

The importance of uniform legislative standards in reducing accidents and facilitating the movement of traffic cannot be over estimated, and the adoption of these standards by all States and municipalities is earnestly recommended.

Daniel C. Roper, Secretary of Commerce, Chairman, National Conference on Highway Safety, Washington, DC, July 31, 1934  ACT III – UNIFORM MOTOR VEHICLE CIVIL LIABILITY ACT

Later, Uniform Gudelines for State Highway Safety Programs were released by NHTSA. Where are we with that? Have we moved away from mandating states to adopt specific traffic safety standards? Is it optional? What is working and what is not working at this point?

National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act

Highway Safety Program Guidelines:
Section 402 of title 23 of the United States Code requires the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate uniform guidelines for State highway safety programs. These guidelines offer direction to States in formulating their highway safety plans for highway safety efforts that are supported with section 402 and other grant funds. The guidelines provide a framework for developing a balanced highway safety program and serve as a tool with which States can assess the effectiveness of their own programs. NHTSA encourages States to use these guidelines and build upon them to optimize the effectiveness of highway safety programs conducted at the State and local levels.

  1. Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection
  2. Motor Vehicle Registration
  3. Motorcycle Safety | PDF version for print
  4. Driver Education
  5. Non-Commercial Driver Licensing
  6. Codes and Laws
  7. Judicial and Court Services
  8. Impaired Driving (updated)| PDF version for print
  9. [Reserved]
  10. Traffic Records
  11. Emergency Medical Services
  12. Prosecutor Training
  13. Older Driver Safety
  14. Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety(updated) | PDF version for print
  15. Traffic Enforcement Service (updated) | PDF version for print
  16. Management of Highway Incidents
  17. Pupil Transportation Safety
  18. Crash Investigation and Incident Reporting
  19. Speed Management(updated) | PDF version for print
  20. Occupant Protection(updated) | PDF version for print
  21. Roadway Safety

Is this still operative today?  If so, why are there 319 traffic safety laws which have not been adopted by states? Is it the duty of the federal government to protect its citizens from crash deaths & serious injuries?

NOTE the connection with federal funds to states: 


The Secretary may waive the requirement of paragraph (1)(C), in whole or in part, for a fiscal year for any State whenever the Secretary determines that there is an insufficient number of local highway safety programs to justify the expenditure in the State of such percentage of Federal funds during the fiscal year.

(c)Use of Funds.—

(1)In general.—

Funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section shall be used to aid the States to conduct the highway safety programs approved in accordance with subsection (a), including development and implementation of manpower training programs, and of demonstration programs that the Secretary determines will contribute directly to the reduction of accidents, and deaths and injuries resulting therefrom. Title 23 › Chapter 4 › § 402 23 U.S. Code § 402 – Highway safety programs


Delayed adoption and implementation of proven safety standards inevitably results in unnecessary, preventable deaths.

gertie 2947

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

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to watch a live-stream press conference yesterday from the comfort of my home. As a result, I was enlightened about the STATE OF SAFETY in our country. We are acting like the individually-united states are just that–individual. Acting like they need to have control over decisions about what SAFETY measures should be required in their individual states.

In disregard of the abundantly-available wonders of modern safety technology, what we are really doing is increasing the likelihood that INDIVIDUALS in their states will experience DEATH BY MOTOR VEHICLE!

Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety held a press conference yesterday at which they released their 13th annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws–outlining the 319 proven safety laws which many states have not adopted, including such things as seat belt usage, motorcycle helmet laws, impaired driving, child passenger safety, teen graduated licensing laws, and distracted driving.

I was alerted to the upcoming event by Lou Lombardo of Care for Crash Victims. He sent out this notice:

Report to be released tomorrow from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety titled “Missing”.

Missing refers to State Safety Laws missing in each State.

Buried in the State summaries are statistics on the number of people who died of crash injuries in each State for the past 10 years. Add them up and we find that 362,532 Americans are “missing” i.e., lost their lives due to vehicle violence over the 10 year period.

Using NHTSA figures of estimated injuries nearly 1.5 million additional people suffered serious injuries in America over the 10 year period. These people are also “missing” – i.e., not counted.

Using DOT values of $9 million in comprehensive costs per fatality, America “missing” losses would be valued by DOT to be about $3 trillion.

Roadmap reports

Why would we think that proven safety measures should be left up to the individual states to determine whether or not to require their use? Is this a matter of personal freedom? Do we think that we are trampling on citizens’ individual rights? Do we think that we need to give them CHOICE in this matter?

Do we need to let individuals become informed and make their own decisions on what would or would not be a good idea for them? Would their choice impact only them and them alone? Is that really what we think and how we choose to govern our country?

Is it the duty of the federal government to protect its citizens from crash deaths & serious injuries? I happen to think so: http://annaleahmary.com/2016/01/is-it-the-duty-of-the-federal-government-to-protect-its-citizens-from-crash-deaths-serious-injuries/.

And if that is, in fact, the case, then why not establish national safety standards and require them to be adopted by states? I know, from the aftermath of our crash, that there are already certain federal highway safety standards which states are required to adopt as is.

For an example of this, see FMCSA’s COMPATIBILITY OF STATE LAWS AND REGULATIONS AFFECTING INTERSTATE MOTOR CARRIER OPERATIONS  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/part/355.

Why not do the same for all of those 319 proven SAFETY LAWS alluded to by Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety? Mandate that all states adopt them as well. Why have each state struggle to re-invent the wheel and wade through all of the research (or try to do the research themselves) when we could gather all of the resources needed to design SAFETY Laws at the national level?

See how we are doing that kind of collaborative effort to obtain the best possible truck underride protection:

To not do so is to cause untold delays in bringing about SAFER travel on our roads. In my estimation, to continue to travel down this road of Individual State Safety Laws, is to knowingly sentence to DEATH BY MOTOR VEHICLE countless members of our families and communities today and in all the days to come.  That is plain and simple criminal negligence.

Reckless Driving & Criminal Injustice: One More Grief For Victims to Bear

And, on top of what I have already said, I would like to add that once safety measures are mandated, then I think that there should be criminal penalties for not adhering to those laws. There should be fines for violation of traffic safety laws. And, if breaking those laws leads to death or serious injury, then the lawbreaker should be held accountable, charged with RECKLESS criminal action, and receive appropriate consequences.

I am no legal expert and cannot begin to delineate exactly how it should be  handled. But when I looked up the word reckless, I found reference to the term reckless endangerment , which has been described like this:

In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Reckless Endangerment if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person:

  1. Recklessly engaged in conduct;
  2. That placed or may have placed a person;
  3. In imminent danger of death;
  4. Or serious bodily injury.

The term reckless, as it is used here, means that a person was aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his conduct would place another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. 


Just yesterday, I saw an example of car owners choosing to not use a safety measure–lane departure warning devices, which apparently can be quite annoying (a glitch which could quite probably be remedied). If use of this safety technology becomes mandated, then those who choose to disregard the law should be charged with any resulting DEATH BY MOTOR VEHICLE.

And, while we are at it, let’s inform and train our citizens from an early age that a vehicle is not a toy and that their driving behavior impacts those around them big time:  https://www.facebook.com/EndDistractedDrving/photos/a.316429631751037.73716.141583792568956/994168863977107/?type=3&fref=nf. We should take a clue from a Jimmy Stewart-narrated 1954 driver safety film:

This, of course, brings up the need to have automakers provide safety devices as standard not optional equipment–at an affordable price for all. And for older vehicles, offer discounts for retrofitting them where possible:

Why am I being so vocal about this issue? Because I do not want thousands upon thousands of family members to receive death certificates in the mail for loved ones whose deaths could have been prevented by this country acting in a timely and morally responsible manner.

certificates and pens 010

This issue of mandating national traffic safety standards to be adopted by states adds one more practical application to my recommendations for a National Vision Zero Goal and Vision Zero Executive Order.

Check out the details of our Vision Zero Petitions here: http://annaleahmary.com/2016/01/adopt-a-national-vision-zero-goal-save-lives-not-dollars/

Maybe I need to get going and launch a new petition calling for federal safety laws to be adopted by all states–including proven means for moving Towards Zero Crash Deaths & Serious Injuries and in a timely manner.  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/350.107 & http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/after-deadly-traffic-year-austin-to-join-national-/nqCgq/

To do so would be honoring the memory of not only our daughters, AnnaLeah (forever 17) and Mary (13) who died due to a potentially-preventable truck underride crash, but also my ancestor, Resolved Waldron, who came to New Amsterdam in 1654, established a home on Broadway near Wall Street http://tinyurl.com/hlpu2mx, and “His conscientious exactness in performing his duties [as deputy sheriff] made him a favorite with Governor Stuyvesant.”  http://www.eroots.net/docs/Waldron%20public.pdf May we always be a nation diligent to protect our citizens.

Facing Grief as a Whole Person

Participating in a webinar last night about Essential Oils and Grief got me thinking further about some of my struggles in grieving the traumatic loss of my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) in a truck underride crash on May 4, 2013.

It has been such a complicated grief. I know that writing about it along the way has helped me tremendously (not sure what shape I would be in otherwise):

But beyond that, I would like to say that it makes sense to me that approaching grief in a way that addresses the needs of the whole person is most likely to bring about wholeness. That includes taking into account the ways that our spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs impact one another.

A book by Dr. Caroline Leaf outlines the ways that our very memories are neurologically impacted by our emotions and that there is an impact of stress on the health of the whole person. Not only that, but she also gives suggestions for how to “detox” and move toward a more healthy lifestyle.

As a part of that webinar I mentioned, I made the comment that I am thankful for the sensory experience which I have known during my grieving by embracing quiet moments of peace in times outside as I breathe in the fresh air and sometimes the fragrance of pine trees or blossoms and become calmer listening to the sounds of the birds or the wind rustling leaves all around. Walking gives me a time away from responsibilities and reminders of the loss–or at least, if I cannot escape reminders entirely I am able to freely express my weeping heart or angry thoughts in the stillness of nature.

And it also makes sense that essential oils could be made a part of the process of promoting whole person healing.

In terms of how I am dealing with the grief spiritually, I know that God allowed their deaths to occur. I also know that He can work to bring good out of their deaths. I have been an obsessive participant in the process as a highway safety advocate because I have observed that God generally does not intervene to protect people from the impact of collisions and that it makes sense that He has given us the brains to figure out what we can do to make people safer.  I also know that nothing I do, or help to bring about, will ever bring them back.

Perhaps it is anger at what has not been done compared to what could be done to protect people from preventable crash fatalities that puts me in a position of helpless frustration. When I think of all the things which could have resulted in a different outcome, it leaves me with a roaring rage at the senselessness of their deaths. How can that ever lead to lasting peace?

Just yesterday, I was on an errand and took a different route than usual–because a major year-long construction project had just finished. As a result, I passed by a house which we had considered renting when we first moved to this city. The thought came to me that if we had rented that house, instead of the one we were living in on May 4, 2013, then we probably would not have been at that exact spot in our journey when the truck driver made the fatal mistake of hitting a car. If only. . .

Of course, I understand that there are so many things out of my control and that no one is guaranteed a long life. Nonetheless, I am quite certain that if we had left the restaurant 5 minutes earlier, AnnaLeah and Mary might be with us still today. Or if underride guards had been made stronger or the driver had been paying better attention (no matter what the reason was that he wasn’t). . .


Perhaps that line of thinking won’t get me any closer to accepting their deaths and being okay with their loss and mine. But it gives me an ongoing purpose of promoting safer roads through Vision Zero advocacy efforts to prevent loss and grief for others, as well as devoting my efforts to preserving the memories of two girls who knew how to love and laugh.

AnnaLeah and Mary


AnnaLeah & Mary left “unfinished business”; Congress, Finish your business: Make sure HR22 leads to Safer Roads

Unfinished Business

On one of our road trips North, AnnaLeah used a motel note pad to sketch her feelings about Mary’s stealing the blanket at night and exposing her feet:

“Beware the giggling Mary, your feet she wishes to freeze!”

Now, whenever we stop at a LaQuinta, I see those blank note pads–thinking of that silly memory and feeling sorrow at the unfinished business which AnnaLeah & Mary left behind–all that they would have done that they will now never do–because of a truck crash on May 4, 2013.

Here’s hoping that Congress will not leave the Highway Bill (HR 22) with Unfinished Business–but rather make every effort to shape it so that the result is Safer Roads and not increased Highway Carnage.

JFK: The Passing of the Torch; Spontaneous combustion ignited by a petition signed by UM students

This morning, I was reminded of my early beginnings as an advocate for nursing home patients. My first job out of college was as the Chapter Director of a local advocate organization for nursing home patients. The position was as a VISTA Volunteer–a stateside version of the Peace Corps.

I have thought many times how that role prepared me to speak up on behalf of the defenseless–victims who could not speak for themselves. It taught me to be tough and diligent and thorough. It paved the way for me to be an advocate for crash victims.

Then, I read my email and found the latest edition of the University of Michigan digital newsletter, Michigan Today, which I receive as an alumni. One particular article caught my attention: the early beginnings of the Peace Corps which took place in October 1960 at the University of Michigan. I read it with great interest.


The birth of a movement
Over the next two weeks, events moved fast. [Alan and Judy Guskin] were contacted by Samuel Hayes, the professor who had written the position paper on a youth corps for Kennedy. Together, they called a mass meeting. Some 250 students came out to sign a petition saying they would volunteer. Hundreds more signers followed within days. . .

On Sunday, Nov. 6, two days before the election, Kennedy was expected at the Toledo airport. Three carloads of U-M students, including the Guskins, drove down to show him the petitions. “He took them in his hands and started looking through the names,” Judy Guskin recalled later. “He was very interested.”

Alan asked: “Are you really serious about the Peace Corps?”

“Until Tuesday we’ll worry about this nation,” Kennedy said. “After Tuesday, the world.”

Two days later, Kennedy defeated Nixon by some 120,000 votes, one of the slimmest margins in U.S. history. Some argue the Peace Corps proposal may have swayed enough votes to make the difference.

“It might still be just an idea but for the affirmative response of those Michigan students and faculty,” wrote Sargent Shriver, JFK’s brother-in-law and the Peace Corps’ first director, in his memoir. “Possibly Kennedy would have tried it once more on some other occasion, but without a strong popular response he would have concluded the idea was impractical or premature. That probably would have ended it then and there. Instead, it was almost a case of spontaneous combustion.

I pray that our Vision Zero Petition and our truck safety advocacy efforts will likewise garner countless signatures and sway the hearts and minds of those who have the authority to make the difference in ways that will mean many saved lives for years to come.

Please sign & share our petitionhttp://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

I was additionally intrigued by the mention of Kennedy’s campaign trip through Michigan because one of my vivid childhood memories was when he came through Grand Rapids when I was 5 on a train and went by at a spot which was a 10-minute walk from my home.

Senator John F. Kennedy’s motorcade rolled into Ann Arbor very early on the morning of Friday, Oct. 14, 1960. The election was three and a half weeks away. The Democratic nominee for president and his staff had just flown into Willow Run Airport. A few hours earlier, in New York, Kennedy had fought Vice President Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee, in the third of their four nationally televised debates. The race was extremely close, and Michigan was up for grabs. Kennedy’s schedule called for a few hours of sleep, then a one-day whistle-stop train tour across the state.

My family still talks about it because his train was delayed and so we were gone from home longer than expected. My mother had put a batch of bread in the oven and it ended up being overbaked so that it had a very thick & dark crust. In the future, whenever bread got overdone, we called it “Kennedy Bread.”

Petition Photo Bags at DOT, best

Comments from Signers of the Vision Zero Petition

We are thankful for everyone who has signed the Vision Zero Petition. And certainly your signature is enough, but I wanted to share the comments which I have found on The Petition Site from those who have signed our petition:

  1. Michelle Novak, NY Another family member whose deceased 22 year-old nephew’s life was weighed against a load of cookies and found lacking. We have had enough. You can stop this. But your political will seems to always lose to the monetary will of those executives and shareholders in the industry. Oh, if you could feel shame…..or empathy.
  2. David M. Dunn, MI
    Seriously? Putting profit before human life is short term thinking and, by the way, immoral.
  3. Ed Slattery, MD
    My wife was killed and two sons seriously injured, one permanently, when a trucker fell asleep at the wheel and pushed their car under the rear end of another semi in front of them while coming into a construction zone.
  4. Sonya Silver, NC
    Everyone’s life is priceless. So is the unconditional love that we express to our loved ones. So we need to make a change and to anyone denying us to do so need to ask themselves how much is their families worth?
  5. Ryan McMahan, NC
    I work in the accident reconstruction industry and see countless underride accidents each year, many ending in serious injury or death. The severity of injury in these types of crashes could be significantly reduced with the simple implementation of additional bracing on the trailers that travel our roadways.
  6. Brie Handgraaf, NC
    The bottom line should NEVER outweigh the cost of a human life. The status quo needs to be changed before anyone else suffers such a tragedy as the Karths.
  7. Rebekah Black, TX
    Please adopt stronger safety rules so that more lives can be saved. My sisters AnnaLeah and Mary Lydia are gone forever due to a truck collision, and no other family should have to go through this. Save lives.
  8. Name not displayed, IL
    I worry every day about my children’s safety.
  9. Marianne Karth, NC
    There is no one that this does not potentially impact in some way. We are asking for bold and decisive action to reduce tragic, preventable crash fatalities. Don’t wait until it touches you personally to move heaven & earth to identify and require the best possible protection. Once a loved one becomes a motor vehicle crash statistic, it will be too late–they will not come back to you.
  10. Janet Watson, NC
    I have good friends who lost 2 beautiful daughters in a horrific truck underride accident that could have been prevented with tougher trucking laws. Please sign this petition to help make a change in regulations that will help prevent more deaths on the road.
  11. Name not displayed, IL
    I always want to avert my eyes when I see the highway billboards that announce the number of traffic death to date in Illinois, but I make myself look to remind myself and my kids to drive safely and defensively. The numbers are staggering and devastating.
  12. Sherri Gillespie, CA
    OMB & DOT 1. Adopt rational Vision Zero Safety strategy. 2. Apply Vision Zero principles initiating rulemaking to require forward collision avoidance.
  13. Lana Briscoe, NY
    Secretary Foxx, it is avoidable and inexcusable that about 40,000 Americans die in vehicular crashes every year. Stop the cost/benefit analysis bean counting. The lives of Americans are at stake.
  14. Lucy Schneider, NJ
    This is a horrific tragedy that could have been prevented. I urge the Department of Transportation to adopt a VISION ZERO Policy!
  15. Jeanette Naumann, TX
    I was with members of this family when they suffered the tragic loss of their sisters and daughters. No parent should have to go through this when it can be prevented.
  16. Keith C Schnip, WA
    Big trucks, i.e. 18 wheelers, etc. should be banned from the nation’s Interstate Highway System. They cannot coexist safely with regular automotive traffic, i.e. cars. The roads simply are not big enough or safe enough.
  17. Name not displayed, CA
    Bring back freight trains! Lessen roadway and highway long hauls by bring back freight trains.
  18. Todd Freese, TX
    These dear friends lost their daughters due to a needless crash. Would you please join me as I join them in their quest for safer roads. God Bless You.
  19. Charlie Gray, NC
    Driver training and qualification standards must be heightened
  20. Darla Creel, TX
    I knew this family. What was sad is that these lives were lost going to a weekend of three graduations and a wedding. We need to support change for lives.
  21. Road Crash, United Kingdom
    Best wishes Marianne not far to 6,000
  22. Isaac Karth, NC
    Three years ago, I was sitting in my apartment, working on my class projects, when I got a phone call that turned my world upside down. My family’s car had been hit by a truck, and I was the first person that the hospital was able to reach. There was a lot of confusion; no one knew where my two sisters who had been in the back seat of the car had been taken. I had a pair of dice in my pocket that day, the same pair of dice that I had when my father called me later that evening with the news that my sister had died in the crash. Humans are bad at estimating probabilities. A one-in-a-million chance sounds rare, but that’s close to the odds the NWS reports for being struck by lightning, and 330 Americans are injured that way every year. It’s rare, but it happens. In probability theory, it’s called the law of large numbers. If you roll the dice often enough, or for enough people, the dice are going to come up as ones at a predictable, measurable rate. The IIHS reported that in 2013, there were 10.3 deaths from motor vehicle crashes per 100,000 people. That’s about one-in-ten-thousand, way more likely than one-in-a-million. And, unlike other leading causes of death, this is an entirely human-created problem, one that didn’t exist two hundred years ago. Automotive safety has been improving over time. But it is still one of the leading causes of death in America. Curing cancer, one of the other leading causes, is expensive and difficult, requiring research just to figure out if it is even possible. In contrast, for motor vehicle deaths there are many cases where we already know simple ways to reduce motor vehicle fatalities, such as effective underride guards, and we have promising research for even more. We shouldn’t settle for one-in-ten thousand, or even one-in-a-hundred-thousand. We should strive to be better than that. Human lives shouldn’t be a nickel and dime proposition. Even low chances of death are still too high. I shouldn’t have to roll the dice every time I need to leave my house. I shouldn’t have to wonder, every time my family is out on the road, if today is going to be the day that they roll too many ones again.
  23. Catherine Memmer, MI
    You could put signs way ahead!!! This is senseless. What if it was your kids that were killed!! Don’t be so cheap!!!!
  24.  Donna Profeta, NY Our families’ lives are worth more than the cost in dollars.

    Sign The Vision Petition:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

    Petition screenshot 001

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

On average, 40,000 people die each year in crashes.  Currently, the Department of Transportation makes highway safety rules based upon how much safety measures will cost. We are hoping to change that and promote a Vision Zero safety strategy model with goals of Zero Deaths, Zero Injuries, Zero Fear of Traffic.


One of the biggest challenges to making change is the cost/benefit analysis. On the one side there are lives to be saved and on the other side there are companies working to make money. The trick is to try and meet everyone’s needs. The solution has to be effective in saving lives while still being affordable for companies so that they can make the changes necessary without a lot of struggle.

The problem comes in when human life and health get the short end of the stick. The result is that many safety measures are stopped because they would cost more to implement than the “worth” of the “small” number of human lives which would be saved. That’s just not right.

After losing two daughters in a truck underride crash on May 4, 2013, our family made a positive impact one year later by taking over 11,000 signatures on our AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Care2 Petition to DOT in Washington, DC. And we have set up a non-profit to promote highway safety research and federal regulations to protect motorists, pedestrians, & cyclists.

Sign our new petition to let DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx know that we want him to:

1. Change rulemaking policy to move away from an economic-rationalist cost/benefit model and adopt a more humanistic, rational Vision Zero safety strategy model. “Vision Zero states that the loss of human life and health is unacceptable and therefore the road transport system should be designed in a way that such events do not occur.” http://tinyurl.com/9uhzyux

2. Apply Vision Zero principles by requiring crash test-based performance standards for truck underride guards rather than force-based design standards along with success at higher speeds—to include rear (both centered and offset) and side guards for both Single Unit Trucks and trailers.

3. Apply Vision Zero principles by requiring NHTSA to initiate rulemaking to require forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking (F-CAM) systems on all new large trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs. or more.

Please sign & share this petition in memory of AnnaLeah & Mary
and make the roads safer for us all:   http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

For more information: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

Underride Guards for Single Unit Trucks: More Comments Posted on the Federal Register

The Public Comments period has closed for the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Underride Protection on Single Unit Trucks. But there were 21 last-minute comments which have now been added to the Federal Register today.

Read them here:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR+PR+N+O+SR;rpp=10;po=0;D=NHTSA-2015-0070

Newly-listed commenters include:

  1. Seven Hills Engineering (Perry Ponder),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0046
  2. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, (Scott Schmidt),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0032
  3. Boston Public Health Commission BPHC (Lisa Conley),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0048
  4. Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization, Inc. MASCO Area Planning and Development (Paul Nelson),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0043
  5. National Transportation Safety Board (Christopher Hart),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0030
  6.  3M Traffic & Safety Security Division (Daniel Hickey),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0022
  7. National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) ( ),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0026
  8. International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Sam Loesche),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0047
  9. ORAFOL Americas Inc. (Chris Gaudette),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0033
  10. Avery Dennison (a leading designer and manufacturer of retroreflective safety materials), http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0037
  11. Transportation Safety Equipment Institute (Christopher Grigorian),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0044
  12. Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) (Timothy Blubaugh),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0031
  13. General Motors, LLC (Brian Latouf, Director),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0034
  14. Meehan Boyle Black & Bogdanow, PC,  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0041
  15. Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association (Kelley Green),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0038
  16. Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association, Inc. (Dennis Findley),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=25;dct=PS;D=NHTSA-2015-0070
  17. National Asphalt Pavement Association (Howard Marks),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0036
  18. National Cotton Ginners’ Association (W. Harrison Ashley),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0040
  19. City of Palo Alto-Planning & Community Environment (Joshuah Mello),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0035
  20. National Waste & Recycling Association (John Haudenshield),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0042
  21. Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety (Shaun Kildare),  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0039

Note: Previously-posted Public Comments on this issue can be accessed here:  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/09/truck-industry-engineers-safety-advocates-comment-on-truck-underride-protection-for-motorists-pedestrians-cyclists/

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It is this “conspiracy of silence” surrounding death as it relates to crash fatalities that I would like to shatter.

Some time ago, I wrote a lengthy post. Very lengthy. With the thought in mind that some might not have read to the end, I am reposting it in a different fashion: the end comes first:

“I will be eternally grateful that Mary and AnnaLeah were ready when death knocked at their door on a day when they did not suspect it. I am comforted by a letter we found after their funeral which Mary had written to herself (meant to be read ten years later) a few weeks before our crash. One of the things she said–and which I will never forget–was that she hoped that she was living every day as if it were her last.

The Bible says that, Death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.(Ecclesiastes 7:2) Why is it that Too Often we do not do so? Why do we live and think and act as if we were invincible and invulnerable?

According to Rod Lensch, ‘One good explanation is that death is like the law of gravity. We recognize its reality but rarely think about it. People generally tend to walk into life with hope and confidence but back into death with uncertainty and fear. So the conspiracy of silence surrounding death continues unabated.’

And, it is this “conspiracy of silence” surrounding death as it relates to crash fatalities that I would like to shatter. I would like to shine a spotlight on these countless unnecessary and preventable deaths and call for change–for safety to become much more than a word that is flippantly tossed around without any real and lasting impact.

Let’s be bold and decisive and circumspectly do the sensible and compassionate thing. Let’s do our part–each one of us–to protect those around us from all harm and danger that they might love and laugh and live their life fully.

This morning, as I was taking a shower, I began singing Amy Grant’s song, Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feethttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs-aiQ9NZ1g

Normally, that song is an encouragement to me. But as I got to the phrase, ‘Please be near me to the end,’ I ‘lost it’ as the memory returned of my girls’ abrupt and premature end to their lives. At one and the same time, it was a comfort that He was indeed near them ‘to the end’ and a great sorrow that their ending had to come in such a way and at such a time–so unnecessarily for me to see and bear in my own lifetime, and for them to miss out on so much more of life, not to mention all the lives now bereft of the love and gifts they so freely shared.

It is at such moments that I cry out, ‘May there be an end to Too Often, Too Little, Too Late. And may it come quickly.’”

25 AnnaLeah Jesus Loves Me 052Rebekah photo of crash

Who are no more with photo

You may read the rest of that post here: http://annaleahmary.com/2015/03/too-often-too-little-too-late-a-conspiracy-of-silence/