Tag Archives: stop underrides

Underride Briefing on The Hill; Video Excerpts of Panel Discussion on October 12

On October 12, 2017, staff from Congressional Offices gathered to hear presentations from five experts on the topic of truck underride. The presentations were followed by a question & answer period as legislative staff sought to understand the problem and solutions of deadly but preventable underride crashes.

The STOP Underrides! Act of 2017 has been drafted by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She is working with Congressman Steve Cohen, who will be drafting a House Companion Measure.  They are both seeking Republican co-leads for this long-overdue, life-saving legislation.

The videos below cover the individual presentations but, unfortunately, the question period was not recorded. Questions about any of the topics covered can be directed to marianne@annaleahmary.com, for follow-up with these and other experts nationally and internationally.

This video includes all five presentations:

Malcolm Deighton, engineer with Hydro (formerly Sapa), discusses their aluminum rear underride guard — successfully crash tested at 40 mph:

Jason Levine, Director of the Center for Auto Safety, discusses the flaws in the cost/benefit analysis of truck underride protection:

Robert Lane, VP of Product Engineering at Wabash National — a trailer manufacturer, discusses their commitment to development of rear and side underride protective devices for the prevention of underride deaths and debilitating injuries:

Matt Brumbelow, a research engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), discusses the problem of truck underride and the research which IIHS has done to study rear and side underride protection:

Keith Friedman, Friedman Research Corporation, discusses Front Underride Protection:

Further information on truck underride can be found at:

Hosted by Lois Durso (https://stopunderrides.org/) and Marianne Karth (http://annaleahmary.com) who are working to STOP Underrides! in memory of their daughters — Roya Sadigh and sisters AnnaLeah & Mary Karth.

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.

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.

The Naming of an Underride Bill; Out of the Mouths of Babes

Ever since we began sharing about our crash so that we could help to make trucks safer, people have been touched by the story of AnnaLeah and Mary. They tell us how they can’t drive down the highway and see trucks without thinking about them. It clearly touches their heads & hearts. They get what rear underride is.

The same is true when Lois Durso shares the story of her daughter Roya’s crash. People suddenly understand what a side underride crash is and why we are working to prevent these kinds of tragedies. Tears come to their eyes.

So that is why — when we saw that no one was doing anything to mandate side guards, front guards, and stronger rear guards on new trucks, including single unit [box] trucks, as well as retrofit existing trucks with the same life-saving protection and making sure that they were properly maintained — we decided to draft comprehensive underride protection legislation ourselves.

And, when we were figuring out what to call the bill, we naturally named it for what was so very precious to us — our beloved daughters, who were no more. We wrote it in memory of the countless loved ones whose lives had been forever changed — each of whom are very precious to the loved ones they left behind.

It has become our calling card: the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 (RAMCUP). And we are concerned that we are being asked to take the girls’ names off of the bill title (so that other underride victims will not feel left out) — not because we think that they are more important than anyone else, but rather because we believe that their stories have been what have helped to bring national attention to this issue and better understanding of the problem, along with a willingness to do whatever it takes to end it. We would like to keep that momentum going until this bill gets passed.

In fact, it would never be possible to include a list of names in a bill which would honor all the victims of underride. There are thousands of them and, furthermore, because it is a hidden problem, many people might not even realize that underride was involved in their loved one’s death.

But it is our hope that we will be able to plan significant ways to honor those who have been injured or lost their lives through an underride crash, such as a Remembrance Ceremony in D.C. or an underride personal crash story interactive map and a webpage on the DOT website — giving family members a positive way to be involved in the effort to get effective underride protection on all trucks and to remember their loved ones in a special way. Hey, they could even get a shirt printed with their loved one’s picture and name on it!

December 13, 2017, UPDATE: We now have an Interactive Underride Crash Story Map. We have only just begun to add links to the countless underride tragedy stories. If you have information on an underride crash, or would like to add more details about the people touched by these tragedies, email us at underridemap@gmail.com. Here is the map.

Just recently, Lois texted me with this encouragement:

The Lord is speaking to my heart — do not worry, all is well. He is my praise, hope, and strength.

Then she shared this story which made my heart hurt:

Today, my daughter-in-law was wearing her RAMCUP shirt. My 20 month-old granddaughter, Miriam Roya, pointed to and said the names of Roya, AnnaLeah and Mary. . . Even a baby can remember our beautiful daughters.

Miriam Roya, who will never know her Aunt Roya

Miriam’s daddy, Cyrus, with his sister Roya

We’re with you, Miriam. . . we will always remember this very important bill as the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 — because it is our great love for those three girls, and our sense of urgency that no one else should undergo this kind of preventable loss, which has fueled our efforts to make sure that this major public health problem gets properly taken care of.