Tag Archives: motor vehicle crash fatalities

Particularly poignant photos of 3 young girls who lost their lives 6 short years later

Last night, as I often do, I was looking for some photos or video to create a Youtube and soothe the ache of missing AnnaLeah and Mary. I found a particularly poignant photo of AnnaLeah and another young girl, Bethany, in Michigan on July 30, 2007.

Along with our other kids, they were having some simple water balloon fun. What made it heart-wrenching was that, within 6 short years, they–along with Mary–would lose their lives in crashes.

I put together continuously-snapped photos into a fast-moving slideshow. Laughing & weeping at the result.

Short Version (27 seconds):

Longer Version (6 minutes):

Bethany’s Untimely End February 23, 2012: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20120224/NEWS/302249856 & http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/02/hamilton_teen_hit_killed_in_cr.html

AnnaLeah’s & Mary’s Untimely End in May 2013:  http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/05/obituaries_today_annaleah_and.html & http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/05/in_mourning_former_grand_rapid.html & https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=174784632666076&story_fbid=258980320913173

Because we want to do everything we can to prevent others from such heartache, we launched our Vision Zero Petition online:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

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

Does a vehicle manufacturer bear responsibility for death and injury caused by a safety defect in their product?

After writing a post yesterday,  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/07/who-should-bear-the-responsibility-for-deaths-injuries-due-to-known-safety-defects/,  I have been wrestling with this question:

Does a vehicle manufacturer bear responsibility for death and injury caused by a safety defect in their product:

  • ever?
  • and, especially do they do so when it is publicly known (in the engineering realm) that there is a solution to the problem which could — if implemented — prevent death and horrific injury?

Or, are they protected by following the letter of the law — which likewise might have been negligent to require the best possible protection?

Furthermore, if they do bear responsibility, then what price should they pay for negligence to act on that knowledge in a timely fashion?

I have been trying to look at it every which way and not merely as the mother of two daughters, AnnaLeah (forever 17) and Mary (forever 13), who happened to get killed by a truck underride crash in which the underride guard met current federal standards, and possibly even the Canadian standards, but did not make use of safer known technology and did not withstand the crash.

Before & After PhotosI am plagued by so many questions:

  • Did the manufacturer’s act of omission contribute to Mary’s and AnnaLeah’s deaths? (omission: http://tinyurl.com/o2z6meb )
  • If so, why are they not being held responsible for such a heinous action? (heinous: http://tinyurl.com/ncak6o2 )
  • What consequences should they pay for their negligence?
  • Can it be considered criminal negligence? (criminal: http://tinyurl.com/p5syqnl )
  • Can a charge of manslaughter be applied? (manslaughter: http://tinyurl.com/nl6ms8l )
  • Is the manufacturer excused from responsibility for their deaths because it was not technically illegal (they abided by the letter of the law)?
  • If current and future research shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that safer underride prevention systems can, in fact, be put in place on trucks, can truck manufacturers be freed from responsibility to implement such technology due to supposed “unreasonable” costs? (A frequent reason for less-than-adequate rules to be issued — if issued at all.)
  • Do informed regulators who do not write into law the safest possible technology bear any responsibility?
  • Do informed truck purchasers who do not buy trucks with the safest possible technology (even if not required by law) bear responsibility?
  • I even have to ask myself if I am taking the chance of sabotaging our goal of seeking stronger federal standards by raising these controversial, potentially-inflammatory questions.

So you see, I am not struggling with easy questions. But you have to admit, don’t you, that they are questions with life & death implications.



This question of manufacturer criminal liability is addressed in a New York Times editorial today (July 21, 2015):

“The Senate bill also falls well short of addressing important issues raised by recent scandals involving defects in General Motors’ ignition switches and Takata airbags. While it would raise the maximum fine that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can levy against automakers that do not promptly disclose defects to $70 million from $35 million, that increase is a pittance for companies that make billions in profits. And by not proposing criminal liability for executives who knowingly hide the life-threatening dangers of their products, the bill simply sidesteps the issue of individual accountability.”


From my morning reading: “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The Law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” Psalm 37:30-31