Tag Archives: side guards

Lawmaker first to publicly back truck underride bill written by grieving moms

Thank you, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, for your strong commitment to ending truck underride tragedies.

Senator Gillibrand Directs Pointed Questions on Underride to Federal Highway Administration Nominee

Senator Gillibrand asked Paul Trombino — in his nomination hearing for the position of Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) — some pointed questions about the underride problem. Her questions to him included asking whether he was aware that the IIHS had successfully crash tested a side guard at 40 mph in August and whether he would commit to studying the issue and responding to her within three months if he was appointed to that position.

Go, Senator Gillibrand! Thank you for drawing attention to this and asking for tangible action.


Video Links from the Second Underride Roundtable at the IIHS on August 29, 2017

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety once again did a fantastic job of hosting the Underride Roundtable. They have now provided us with links to the Second Underride Roundtable held at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia, on August 29, 2017. Here is the agenda, followed by the videos:

Truck Underride Roundtable 2 – Morning Session, Part 1:


Truck Underride Roundtable 2 – Morning Session, Part 2:


Truck Underride Roundtable 2 – Side Guard Panel:


Truck Underride Roundtable 2 – Industry Response and Crash Avoidance Panel:


Side Guard Crash Test at 40 mph on August 29, 2017:


Side Underride & Side Guard Crash Tests at 35 mph at IIHS on March 30 & 31, 2017:



How Wabash Prototype Side Guard Could Impact Truck Underride Innovation, Technology, & Regulation

After hearing some great news Friday night, I want to put it into perspective and bring up for discussion what it might mean to the future of underride protection. Last week, Wabash Trailers revealed their prototype side impact guard at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta: Such exciting news! Wabash Trailers has taken initiative to save lives with prototype side guard!

Other interesting recent posts and news includes:

We lost AnnaLeah and Mary in an underride crash on May 4, 2013. As we began to discover things about underride in the months after our crash, we determined to help bring about change. But by June 2014, when we had met with DOT and toured Great Dane’s Research & Design Center in Savannah, we realized that there was very little communication and collaboration going on among the various stakeholders — government, manufacturers, engineers, researchers, safety advocates, etc. That’s when we thought about the idea of an Underride Roundtable.

We figured that if someone, who could do something about underride, lost a loved one in an underride crash, then they would move heaven & earth to solve the problem. Not willing to wait, we began to take action ourselves to try and bring about the best possible underride protection. By the time the first Underride Roundtable took place at the IIHS on May 5, 2016, we had made many contacts and had begun to see meaningful progress in underride protection.

But we knew that that was still not enough when, on March 14, 2017, Lois Durso and I attended the Senate Commerce Committee Hearing at which an update on Truck Safety was given. We were disturbed that side underride was not even mentioned — having already witnessed successful side guard crash testing of Aaron Kiefer’s TrailerGuard System and knowing that we would, in a few weeks, see crash testing of Perry Ponder’s AngelWing side guard.

That was when we decided that we were sick & tired of waiting for someone else to do something about it and began drafting the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection (RAM CUP) Act of 2017 ourselves. Since that day, we have been talking and writing about this important legislation ceaselessly with all of the stakeholders, including many legislative offices both Republican and Democrat.

So you can perhaps imagine our excitement when we got a call in July from Senator Gillibrand’s staff with the news that the Senator wanted to work with us to introduce this bill. Not only that, but her plan was to wait and introduce it with Republican support to enable it to move forward. And that is where we are at, hoping to hear soon that a Republican from each House will soon join Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Cohen to set the ball rolling on a mandate which will result in comprehensive underride protection on all trucks.

While we, like anyone else, want to see the advancement of crash avoidance technology, we think that it is also vital to act to make crashes, which do occur, more survivable. Both/and not either/or. Thus we wait expectantly for the introduction of the Stop Underrides Bill as a truly bipartisan effort to bring about a long-overdue solution to a ubiquitous public health and safety problem.

A few days ago, after posting about the fantastic news from Wabash — and after earlier in the week posting about Stoughton’s announcement of stronger rear guards being standard on their new refrigerated trailers — I ran across this post which I wrote in May (be sure to pay attention to what industry leaders have said about innovation, technology, and regulation, and think about how it applies to the underride issue): Truck Industry Leaders: “Clarity is probably the biggest need we have so we can plan accordingly.”

Mandates take burden off manufacturers. Crash tests in labs better than crash tests occurring in real world.

Clearly, we have begun to see effective communication and collaboration taking place. We are thankful for the efforts of so many and encouraged at how the industry is making great strides. We know that it will continue to require a multi-prong strategy and that a comprehensive underride regulation can create a framework for us all going forward. It is for that reason that we included in the Stop Underrides Bill a requirement for a Committee On Underride Protection (COUP) because we want to ensure that the collaboration will not be just an idea but a reality.

We hope that we can count on the support of everyone involved to persevere in this process. And we want to end with this final thought:  We know that rear underride guards have been known at times as Mansfield Bars, and we think that Roya, AnnaLeah and Mary would have been tickled pink if side guards — or the entire comprehensive underride protection system — would become known as Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Guards — or more simply, RAM Guards.

Jerry and Marianne Karth

Lois Durso

Stay Tuned for an Upcoming Underride Briefing in the Capitol Visitors Center, Room 215, October 12, 2017, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Experts will be available to answer questions about the underride problem & solutions.

Such exciting news! Wabash Trailers has taken initiative to save lives with prototype side guard!

I just heard the news tonight: Wabash has taken the initiative to develop a prototype side guard. They revealed it this week at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

I sure wish I had gone to that show. Or maybe not. If I had and had come upon that exhibit, they would have heard me all around the trade show hall. I probably would have run around, jumping up and down in excitement!

Developed in-house, the combination side impact guard and skirt prototype passed tests for a 90-degree centerline vehicle impact at 35 miles per hour, according to Mark D. Ehrlich, Wabash National product development manager. The system uses a braided cable and is 40% to 50% lighter than other designs.

Wabash prototype: Side underride guard with aero skirt, Trailer Body Builders, Charles Wilson, September 29, 2017

Thank you, Wabash Trailers, for taking this important step to make trucks safer for all of us to be around.

Lois Durso, Dick Giromini (CEO of Wabash), & Marianne Karth at the ATA TMC Conference in Nashville, February 2017

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory. . . Ephesians 3:20-21

1919 “Life-guard” Lawsuit Related To a 1913 Side Guard Patent for Safety of Motor Vehicles

When Jerry asked whether we could find any story about why Percy Hawksworth filed a patent in 1913 for a safety device for the sides of motor vehicles, this is what I found online:

A lawsuit related to that patent arguing that there was nothing novel about it. Nothing new under the sun.


Some quotes:

  • A Patent was granted for Improvements in or relating to safety devices or life-
    guards for motor vehicles. One of the Claims was for A guard for a motor
    vehicle Consisting of a frame or the like carried along the side of the vehicle and
    crossing the path of the rear wheels at a slight inclination substantially as and
    for the purpose described.  At the trial of an action for infringement of
    the Patent, the only defences raised were want of novelty and of subjectmatter.
    It was proved that slatted guards of the same general construction as
    those described in the Specification had been in common use for many years between the front and back wheels of tramcars, and that the only difference in arrangement between those guards and the patented guards consisted in the fact that the tramcar guards, owing to the cars being run in either direction, were parallel to the sides of the cars, instead of being inclined to the sides. There was no constructional difficulty in giving the inclination to the guard. Guards similar to the patented guards had also been used for the front wheels of tramcars, and there was no constructional difficulty in adapting to the rear wheel of a motor omnibus the guards that had been used for the front wheels of tramcars. It was also proved that, in the prior Specification of P., guards for both the front and rear wheels of tramcars had been described, the inclination of the rear wheel guards being almost the same as that of the patented guards.
    Held, that in view of prior user on tramcars, of both side guards and front guards,
    and the publication of the Specification of P., there was no element of novelty or invention to support the Patent, and that it was invalid
  • ” This invention has reference to safety devices or life-guards for motor vehicles. It is well known that many, if not most, of the worst accidents with motor buses or heavy motor vehicles are  caused by the rear wheels. Now according to this invention, which is intended more particularly for use on motor buses, a life-guard, catcher or fender is provided for each of the rear wheels, consisting of a frame carried at each side of the bus or vehicle in such a way that with only a slight inclination its rear end overlaps or extends to the outside of the rear wheels, and thus serves to push anyone who may have been knocked down, or otherwise comes against it, clear of the said rear wheels.
  •  In this way if anyone should for instance be knocked down by the bonnet or front of the bus or other vehicle, and the driver has succeeded in clearing him with the front wheels, he will be pushed on one side by the advance of the inclined guard frame clear of the rear wheels, instead of being caught by the latter as frequently “happens.
  • Similarly, if anyone should be accidentally thrown towards the bus from the side,
    as for instance by a side-slip from a bicycle, and thus come against the inclined
    fender, it will act in the same way and prevent him from going under the bus
    or vehicle and from being run over by the rear wheels.
  • By the arrangement above described, a very simple efficient and reliable protection is provided against accidents from the rear wheels of motor vehicles and the device also acts as a side guard to close in and protect the side space between the front and
    rear wheels

See this previous post which includes an 1896 patent for side guards on tramcars/streetcars: History of Underride Research & Reports: 1896 to 2017

In underride, first point of contact with the truck is your windshield, then your head.

Just yesterday, as Isaac and I were nearing the end of our road trip from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, Isaac said, “Maybe next time we make this trip, the trucks will look different and be a whole lot safer.”
I am very grateful that we are seeing significant progress in underride protection. And the gathering of almost 100 people at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on August 29 has helped to continue the work of many people to make that possible.
Dawn King, president of the Truck Safety Coalition, with photos and video, describes the recent Underride Roundtable at the IIHS and why it was so important. Because a truck underride crash can happen to anyone. To AnnaLeah & Mary. To you or somebody you care about.
As Dawn explained,
“When you slide under a trailer your car’s safety features aren’t activated because your front bumper doesn’t hit anything. The first part of your car to come in contact with the trailer is your windshield. And then your head.”
“Someday soon the results of lots of peoples dreams will come to fruition. And it will happen because people from all walks of life sat down and talked. Trailer manufacturers, truck companies, safety experts, devastated families, government officials.”
Just what I’ve been hoping for:
After our crash, Jerry wrote to numerous trailer manufacturing companies asking them to voluntarily step up their underride guard standards. We got some positive response and stirred up interest in companies — to whom he also wrote — who purchase trailers–enlightening them as well. One of the manufacturers, Great Dane, invited us to tour their Research & Design Center on June 25, 2014.
Afterwards, I posted this: Underride Guards: Can we “sit down at the table together” and work this out? with this video: “Underride Guards: Now What?” to summarize what I saw as the frustrating lack of progress on improving underride guards and the seeming lack of communication among the various responsible parties with the authority to do something about it.
Of course, we weren’t the only ones frustrated with the inaction on what seems to be a drastically-needed change. When we took our 11,000+ signed petitions to DC in May 2014, we met with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). At that time, they put it like this: “It is safer to run into a brick wall than into the back of a truck.” Yet, seemingly, nothing was being done about it. So we helped to organize the first and then the second Underride Roundtable.
Now something is being done about it.
We don’t have to let this continue to happen. We can do something to prevent deadly truck underride crashes. I’ve put together some ways that YOU, too, can help make trucks safer: http://annaleahmary.com/how-you-can-help/
See more video and media coverage here: Media Coverage of the Second Underride Roundtable

Media Coverage of the Second Underride Roundtable

The Second Underride Roundtable was held at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia, on August 29, 2017. Read media reports of this successful gathering of various stakeholders to work together to improve comprehensive underride protection:

  1. Insurance Institute Conducts Successful Test of Side Underguard Protection http://www.ttnews.com/articles/insurance-institute-conducts-sucessful-test-side-underguard-protection 
  2.  Side guard on semitrailer prevents underride in 40 mph test http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/side-guard-on-semitrailer-prevents-underride-in-40-mph-test
  3. Advocates for Truck Safety Hold Underride Roundtable and Crash Test at IIHS http://www.nbc29.com/story/36245364/advocates-for-truck-safety-hold-underride-roundtable-and-crash-test-at-iihs
  4. Grieving parents break down after crash test shows life-saving technology http://www.wusa9.com/news/investigations/underrides/grieving-parents-break-down-after-crash-test-shows-technology-that-could-have-saved-their-kids/469019354
  5. “Hall of Crashes” may hold the key to safer cars and roads  http://www.wusa9.com/news/investigations/underrides/hall-of-crashes-may-hold-the-key-to-safer-cars-and-roads/466377388
  6. Once again, Eric Flack and WUSA 9 continued an in-depth investigation of the truck underride problem & solution with insight, energy, & intent. Facebook Live at the Roundtable Crash Test:  https://www.facebook.com/marianne.karth/posts/10214194153315951

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:  http://annaleahmary.com/how-you-can-help/


See a side guard installed on a truck: “It’s What’s Behind the Skirt that Saves Lives™”

Andy Young, attorney and CDL-holder, narrates this video in which an Angel Wing side guard system is installed on a tractor-trailer. He explains in detail why a side guard is so important and how it can save lives.

Take a behind the scenes look at an installation of AngelWing, AirFlow Deflector’s Side Underride Protection Device. Narrated by Andy Young, follow him as he explains what is the problem and what can be done to save lives. It’s What’s Behind the Skirt that Saves Lives™.

Thanks, Andy!

Together we are making the roads safer!

Underride crash in NY this week kills 4; Ball’s in your court, Congress, to end these preventable tragedies.

Yet another tragic side underride crash occurred in New York this week. Could crash avoidance technology have prevented the collisions of two cars into the side of a jack-knifed milk tanker? Perhaps.

Could comprehensive underride protection — including side guards — have prevented the tragic outcome of 4 lives abruptly ended? Probably.

When will we take action to mandate and install effective underride protection around every part of large trucks to end these preventable tragedies? The ball’s in your court, Congress.

Let’s get The Roya, AnnaLeah and Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 introduced and passed. Post haste. No more of this senseless highway carnage.

Ready-to-introduce bill:  RAMCUP Draft 15 with Cover