Thank you, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, for your strong commitment to ending truck underride tragedies.
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.
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:
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.”
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
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.
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.
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
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.
See this previous post which includes an 1896 patent for side guards on tramcars/streetcars: History of Underride Research & Reports: 1896 to 2017
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:
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/
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™.
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