Tag Archives: President Obama

Barack Obama Op-Ed: “Self-driving, yes, but also safe” Would he be willing to discuss this with me?

President Obama wrote an Op-Ed about the role of government in overseeing the development of self-driving cars. I find one of his comments very interesting:

There are always those who argue that government should stay out of free enterprise entirely, but I think most Americans would agree we still need rules to keep our air and water clean, and our food and medicine safe. That’s the general principle here. What’s more, the quickest way to slam the brakes on innovation is for the public to lose confidence in the safety of new technologies.

Both government and industry have a responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen. And make no mistake: If a self-driving car isn’t safe, we have the authority to pull it off the road. We won’t hesitate to protect the American public’s safety.

See more herehttp://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2016/09/19/Barack-Obama-Self-driving-yes-but-also-safe/stories/201609200027

Well then, President Obama, I would like to discuss with you the unsafe trucks driving on the road which, at any moment, could kill an unsuspecting member of the American public  — as one did my two daughters, Mary and AnnaLeah — due to inadequate underride protection.  Are you ready to exercise that authority and take decisive action?

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  3. Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order to authorize the Department of Transportation to adopt a Vision Zero Rulemaking Policy.
  4. And then appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to advocate for the victims of vehicle violence, to protect the American public, and to mobilize citizens to act on their own behalf through a nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety Community Action Groups.

Let’s have a serious talk about this. I’ll be in DC next week. Give me a call.

Unsafe TrucksViolence

Obama (6/1/16): “We used to have really bad auto fatality rates. . .” And we don’t NOW?!

Dear President Obama,

I sat at my computer the other day and listened to you speak at a Town Hall on PBS News Hour (recorded June 1, 2016).

You said that crash fatalities were a major public health problem — as if they no longer are. You implied that we have already done, or are already doing, everything possible to prevent 33,000 people from dying on the roads of our country every year.

In fact, your attitude brushes off my daughters’ deaths as inevitable rather than potentially preventable.  It sounds like, to you, their deaths — their lives —  weren’t worth enough to put out the additional effort needed to decrease the fatality rate to the fullest extent possible. And not once have you acknowledged our petition for Vision Zero action.

Let me tell you, that makes me mad! Would you be any less so were your family in our shoes?! Would that change your tune about the acceptability of the current crash fatality rate? Would you suddenly speak out against the decades of political tug-of-war which delay — over and over — needed safety measures?

Would you go beyond talking about it and do what no one else can do: lead the way in setting our entire nation (and not just some programs in the USDOT or scattered efforts in states, cities, and communities) on a course of aggressively moving toward zero crash deaths & serious injuries?

Would you, in fact, make Traffic Safety a national priority–placing it on the list of important issues listed on whitehouse.gov and then do something about it, e.g.,:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal?
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force?
  3. Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order to allow Vision Zero Rulemaking?
  4. Get We the People involved in the action and the solution by promoting the development of a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero Community Groups?
  5. Appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman who would oversee all of this and be an  Advocate for vulnerable road users (which includes us all) —untainted by political pressures?

President, Obama, don’t be misled by DOT’s commitment to the TZD (Toward Zero Deaths) initiative. It is obviously not enough. I should know; I have spent endless hours engaged in a battle for safer trucking, and others have spent many more years doing so.

Take the bull by the horn, make use of the authority invested in you as the leader of this country, and end this public health travesty. And please, talk to me about this; show me that you are not ignoring our heartfelt, data-driven pleas.

On behalf of AnnaLeah & Mary (and countless others), who can no longer speak for themselves,

Marianne Karth

p.s. What is stopping you from taking this action which would benefit us all?

On the PBS News Hour, June 1, 2016, starting at 1:57 to about 3:05 on this video,  hear President Obama speak about the crash fatality rate:

https://www.facebook.com/newshour/videos/10154247237078675/

Obama: “We can’t accept this carnage” Let’s apply that sentiment toward preventable highway carnage.

CBA Victim Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

On D-Day, Monday, June 6, 2016, STARTING at NOON (EST), help me flood the media with this message in reply to President Obama (see the sharing links below):

Last night, Pres. Obama referred in the past tense to crash fatalities as a public health problem.

Apparently, President Obama is okay with the current state of traffic fatalities. Anyway it sounds as if he thinks that we have already done all we can to reduce crash deaths.

At least that is what it sounds like to me from last night’s PBS News Hour video of President Obama speaking at a Town Hall (June 2, 2016):

“We used to have really bad auto fatality rates. The auto fatality rate has actually dropped precipitously, drastically since I was a kid. Why is that? We decided we had seat belt laws. We decided to have manufacturers put air bags in place. We decided to crack down on drunk driving and texting. We decided to redesign roads so that they were less likely to have a car bank.

“We studied what is causing these fatalities using science and data and evidence. And then we slowly treated it like the public health problem it was. And it got reduced.”

See President Obama talking about this, starting at 1:57 on this video:  https://www.facebook.com/newshour/videos/10154247237078675/

Interesting. This is what I noticed about what he said:

  1. He identified auto fatalities as a public health problem.
  2. He referred to it in the past tense.
  3. He did not acknowledge that there is still a long ways to go and that there are still way too many preventable crash deaths occurring every year.
  4. He did not mention that 33,000 people — like AnnaLeah and Mary, real people, whom someone will miss — are still dying every year and that we should make it a national priority to work on them.
  5. He also did not mention that more than 2 million people are seriously injured in crashes each year.
  6. He did not take that opportunity to say let’s set a national vision zero goal and work on this together.

President Obama, are you aware that over 20,000 people have asked you to set a Vision Zero Goal and to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order. We need a Vision Zero Task Force to address specific traffic safety issues and we need Vision Zero Rulemaking policies and we need a Traffic Safety Ombudsman to over see this ongoing public health problem–in ways that are not now being done.

Could we please sit down and talk about this so we can get on the same page?

Marianne

p.s. I, for one, daily face the loss of my two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13). And I know for a fact that more could have been done — but wasn’t — to prevent their deaths.

President Obama

I got an email from President Obama this week.

I received an email from President Obama this week in response to a message I sent to him in March on the whitehouse.gov Contact Form–asking him to read the Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition which we had delivered to him.  This is what he said:

Dear Marianne,

Thank you for writing. There are no words to ease the pain of losing a loved one, but I hope fond memories help temper the grief you must feel.
 
At this difficult time, please know I will keep fighting for people like you every single day I hold this office. You and your loved ones will be in my thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.
 
Thank you, again, for taking the time to write. I wish you all the best.
 
Sincerely,
Barack Obama

Email from Barack Obama White House.gov

On D-Day, Monday, June 6, 2016, STARTING at NOON (EST), help me flood the media with this message in reply to President Obama (see the sharing links below):

President Obama,

Thank you for your sympathy and kind words. But what I, and over 20,000 Vision Zero Petition signers, want is for you to do what no one else in this country can do: Make Traffic Safety a National Priority!

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal to move us toward zero crash deaths.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  3. Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order; and
  4. Appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to oversee our progress in making our  roads safer.

Looking forward to hearing from you again soon,

Marianne Karth

Please share this Traffic Safety Virtual Flash Mob Game Plan with others before Monday, June 6, D-Day:

  1. Read this post.
  2. Put this Virtual Event on your calendar.
  3. Share this blogpost with others who you think might want to help.
  4. On Monday, June 6, 2016, D-Day starting at noon EST, post this vital message –using every form of social media at your disposal:

 

On Monday, June 6, we will remember the sacrifice of the armed forces as they fought to bring an end to WWII.

On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”  https://www.army.mil/d-day/

President Obama, we will accept nothing less than a full-fledged, national effort to move toward zero crash deaths & serious injuries. Lead the way!

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Prayer on D-Day, June 6, 1944

Traffic Safety OmbudsmanPresident Obama Adopt Vision Zero

President Obama

In memory of AnnaLeah & Mary, precious ones whose lives were cut far too short:

Protected: Virtual Flash Mob to Flood the White House with Vision Zero Message to President Obama

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

If Sec. Foxx & DOT are embracing Vision Zero, why do we have to fight to get a strong Underride Rule?

Secretary Anthony Foxx talks here about DOT embracing Vision Zero:

We embrace the vision of Toward Zero Deaths; it provides an overarching and common vision that drives and focuses our efforts to achieve our shared goal to eliminate injuries and fatalities on our roadways. The U.S. Department of Transportation will do our part by aggressively using all tools at our disposal – research into new safety systems and technologies, campaigns to educate the public, investments in infrastructure and collaboration with all of our government partners to support strong laws and data-driven approaches to improve safety.
–U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

Is it just meaningless words or are there some teeth to that statement?

If that is really happening, then why do we have to fight so hard to get an Underride Rule which will be as safe as possible? When a preliminary cost/benefit analysis calls lives saved “not significant”, how is that embracing a vision of Toward Zero Deaths?

And why does the deadly problem of tired truckers get left to the mercy of a political tug-of-war? If we truly had Vision Zero as a NATIONAL goal, these things would get addressed more effectively.

After our truck underride crash, as I engaged in safety advocacy efforts — calling, emailing, and meeting with legislators — I quickly realized that all too-often it was 2 steps forward 3 steps backward. I began to ask, “Why is it so difficult to get anything done to save lives?”and “Why isn’t the best possible protection being adopted?”

I learned that one of the biggest obstacles was that public policy and more specifically DOT rulemaking is impacted by a requirement for cost/benefit analysis which tips the scale in the favor of industry lobby and the almighty dollar and makes a mockery out of the word safety. Human life becomes devalued in the process when a safety measure is rejected because it “may not have significant safety consequence.”

This is illustrated in the history of Federal rulemaking on truck underride guards outlined by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, where it was indicated that in

1974: US Secretary of Transportation says deaths in cars that underride trucks would have to quadruple before underride protection would be considered cost beneficial.

I determined to battle such an inconceivable, incomprehensible, and unconscionable attitude and determined to find a better way to protect travelers on the road. After talking with numerous engineers who either were convinced that safer underride guards could be made or had already designed ones, I also discovered a global movement that calls for the reduction of crash deaths and serious injuries: Vision Zero – An ethical approach to safety and mobility.

That is when we launched the Vision Zero Petition to call for a paradigm shift in this country’s approach to traffic safety. Yes, there are cities and communities and organizations here and there across the country working on Vision Zero. But I am calling for us to unite as a nation and make it a priority to work together in a collaborative effort to reduce crash deaths.

Do it, President Obama, for We the People of this United States of America! #VisionZero

Here is our book with over 20,000 signatures which we delivered–in print–to President Obama in March. Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition And he still has not responded to our petition.

Adopt a Vision Zero Policy 047

Adopt a Vision Zero goal and sign an Executive Order to Save Lives Not Dollars

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

Somebody, please get me an audience with President Obama to respond to my Vision Zero Petition!

As I was contemplating whether to go next week to Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power: A Historic Civic MobilizationI checked my email and saw that there was a new Public Comment posted on the Federal Register regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Underride Guards.

I quickly went to the site and saw that the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association had posted a comment (see their comments in the PDFs below). Apparently our Underride Roundtable two weeks ago at IIHS has spurred them to spell out the steps which have been taken over the years to squash side underride guards from being mandated and manufactured.

TTMA_Side_impact_Exhibits_A-D_2016-05-13

TTMA_Side_Impact_Main_Comment_2016-05-13

The rationale: Cost/Benefit Analysis shows that adding side guard protection from underride of trucks by passenger vehicles is not cost-effective.

“In its 1991 Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation of proposed guards for rear underride, NHTSA’s Plans and Policy Office of Regulatory Analysis stated: “Combination truck side underride counter-measures have been determined not to be cost-effective.” [Docket I-11; Notice 9; Comment 002, page 15 (emphasis added) {by TTMA}].”

Translate that: If this attitude and rulemaking policy is allowed to continue unabated, then innocent, unsuspecting travelers on our road will continue to experience preventable underride crashes and receive a Sentence of Death by Preventable Underride. And no one will be held responsible for that!!!

And, yes, TTMA is repeating the oft-heard industry argument that the solution is to concentrate on Crash Avoidance Technology instead–as if it were an either/or not a both/and question!

Meanwhile, people will continue to needlessly die — like AnnaLeah and Mary — and people like me will undergo tremendously traumatic  grief multiplied exponentially by the anger and frustration of knowing that it might well have been prevented were it not for the endless opposition to implementing solutions which are readily available.

And, no, I cannot imagine that it would have to weigh the 750 pounds which they claim it will (which the NHTSA cost/benefit analysis is based upon, by the way). I helped roll up the side guard designed by Aaron Kiefer last month and it did not weigh that much. I just talked to Aaron and he estimates that his side guard, once in mass production, might weigh about 175 pounds. Currently, his  prototype, when combining the weight of it on both sides of the truck, weighs in at 204 pounds.

And, by the way, look at this crash test of Aaron’s side guard, which I witnessed in North Carolina less than a month ago:

Somebody, please get me an audience with President Obama next week (now I have to go to that conference). I need him to tell me to my face that it is not a matter of life & death for him to adopt a National Vision Zero Goal, to establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force, and to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order which will pave the way for Vision Zero Rulemaking at DOT.

Of course, what I would really like to have happen is to speak with him, have him catch the vision and promise me that he will actually take those actions. Wouldn’t that be exciting!

However, if President Obama does not do so, TTMA has clearly shown us that nothing will be any different and any new underride rule issued will likely continue to be weak and ineffective.  When it is Technologically Unnecessary for that to be so. And then who will be ethically responsible for the continued carnage on the highways of this great country?!

That’s what I want to know.

IMG_4465Vision Zero Petition screenshot 001

Underride Roundtable To Consider Underride Research From Around the Globe

Bernie Sanders: Champion the Cause/Set a National Vision Zero Goal to End Preventable Crash Deaths!

As I sit and wait for Washington to respond to our Vision Zero Petition with its 20,000 signatures, I wish that the multitude of traffic safety advocates–both individuals and organizations–would truly come together with a united front to push for a National Vision Zero Goal, a White House Vision Zero Task Force, and a Vision Zero Executive Order to lay the ground rules for Vision Zero rulemaking.

Though there is perhaps the need to focus separately on overcoming specific problem areas — e.g., improving truck underride guards — our efforts are probably fragmented more than they should be to enable us to speak with one voice and clamor for fundamental change in traffic safety.  Let us take a cue from Nehemiah when he rallied the the people of God to rebuild the wall:

And I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people. “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” Nehemiah 4:19-20

And so I am sounding the trumpet and calling for us to rally together to become more effective and to make greater, swifter progress in moving Toward Zero crash deaths and serious injuries.

If President Obama will not act upon our petition, then let’s call upon Bernie Sanders to champion the cause for a National Vision Zero Goal. Contact him here and ask him to do so. I just did! Connect with Bernie Sanders

(See lyrics and more at this postFight then, wherever you may be, to protect us all from the end-that-shouldn’t-be.)

Please read the news report by our local reporter, Brie Handgraaf, about our recent delivery of 20,000+ Vision Zero Petitions to Washington: Family continues fight for trucking safety. The story is also told by Care 2: Mom Continues to Fight for Truck Safety After Daughters’ Tragic Death.

If you have not already signed the petition, it will remain open until a Vision Zero Rulemaking Policy is adopted. So sign here: Save Lives Not Dollars: Urge DOT to Adopt a Vision Zero Policy. Then share the petition with someone who has not yet heard about it.

Then, contact President Obama online and ask him to read the Vision Zero Petition Book, which was delivered to him at the White House yesterday.

(Note: When the Contact Form asks you for a Subject, click on Transportation.)

Letter to President Obama from the Karth Family

Vision Zero Book by Marianne Karth for President Obama

Thank you for your support!

Vision Zero Petition screenshot 001

Letter from Vice President Biden on Traffic Safety Advocacy

This week, I received a letter from Vice President Joe Biden in response to my December 9, 2015, letter to him asking that he champion our efforts to reduce the traffic safety tragedies in our country. I asked him to back our petition to President Obama requesting a Vision Zero Executive Order.

I truly appreciate his heartfelt letter expressing compassion for the loss of our daughters in a truck crash, and his promise to keep us in their prayers. He also mentioned that my commitment to the issue is inspiring.

Please pray that he is inspired to the extent of actively promoting our petition requests with the powers that be in Washington.

Vision Zero Letter from Vice President Biden

Letter from Vice President Joe Biden

Letter to Vice President Biden Vision Zero Executive Order

My letter to Vice-President Biden

Joe Biden letter with Dad photo 007

Letter From One Father to Another

Tell Obama you are standing with us in this: “Family Continues Fight for Trucking Safety”

Tell Obama you are standing with us in this: “Family Continues Fight for Trucking Safety”

Please read the news report by our local reporter, Brie Handgraaf, about our recent delivery of 20,000+ Vision Zero Petitions to Washington: Family continues fight for trucking safety. The story is also told by Care 2: Mom Continues to Fight for Truck Safety After Daughters’ Tragic Death.

If you have not already signed the petition, it will remain open until a Vision Zero Rulemaking Policy is adopted. So sign here: Save Lives Not Dollars: Urge DOT to Adopt a Vision Zero Policy. Then share the petition with someone who has not yet heard about it.

Then, contact President Obama online and ask him to read the Vision Zero Petition Book, which was delivered to him at the White House yesterday.

(Note: When the Contact Form asks you for a Subject, click on Transportation.)

Letter to President Obama from the Karth Family

Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition

Thank you for your support!

Jerry, Marianne, and Isaac in front of DOT
Jerry, Marianne, and Isaac in front of DOT

In memory of AnnaLeah & Mary and for the sake of those who someone won’t have to miss.