Tag Archives: trucking industry

Please tell Marianne & Jerry that we believe in them:what they are doing can & WILL shape the industry.

I continue to be thankful and speechless at the response which we have received from G & P Trucking Company:

Please read this facebook post by Michelle Novak, a friend who lost her nephew in a truck crash:

I’VE COPIED THE COMMENTS FROM THE COMPANY POST AND INSERTED THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION HERE.

I’m going to share this post by G&P Trucking Company so everyone can see the amazing difference that Marianne Waldron Karth , and her husband Jerry are making at the highest levels in the industry.

They responded to my comment of yesterday, and I want everyone in the TSC, and anyone who supports safer trucking, to read it. It made me cry to know that the heart of the man who runs this company has been touched so deeply by the Karths. This will save lives! People will be prevented from dying–and who knows how many?–by this kind of work the Karths tirelessly do! If you have any money, time or energy to give to the Karths as they crawl on pavement helping assemble under-ride guards that the industry will one day use, please offer it! These two are people who will persevere until they achieve a way to preserve life in memory of their daughters. I admit I’m not made of such stuff. But I do want to help.

If the comments don’t show up under the piece, please do go to their site, read it, leave a comment and sign up for their blog, which will be detailing their brand new safety effort. And do be sure to encourage the Karths as they labor to accomplish things i didn’t think were possible!

Michelle’s comments to her post:

  • Comment from Michelle Novak to the president of G & P Trucking: Mr. Clifton Parker, I’m sending a comment to thank you for your heartfelt and immediate response to a letter you received from a grieving parent who lost two daughters to a preventable under-ride crash. I’ll be following this up with an actual letter to express my gratitude in more detail, but wanted you to know how much what you’re doing means to those of us who have lost loved ones to companies that don’t focus on safety as number one. I have subscribed to your company’s blog and will follow what this company is doing to improve the safety of the industry as a whole.
  • Reply to Michelle from G & P Trucking: Ms. Michelle, thank you for your kind words! Mr. Parker was deeply affected by his conversation with Marianne. You should know, we had a safety meeting today detailing our goals to keep our equipment (and drivers) the safest on the road–and it stemmed from their conversation. In the following days, we will post more information about our plan in the company blog and social media outlets. Please tell Marianne and Jerry that we believe in them–what they are doing can AND WILL shape the industry.

https://www.facebook.com/michellem.novak.7/posts/323388448061445

Please Join Us In Thanking Other Trucking Companies For Their Voluntary Actions To Make Their Trucks Safer To Be Around:

  1. G & P Trucking Company: Online Contact Form
  2. Manac was the first trailer manufacturer to re-design their rear underride guard to protect against underride at the outer edges of the trailer. Online Questions & Comments Form
  3. Vanguard followed. http://vanguardnationalparts.com/
  4. Next came Wabash and JB Hunt who immediately ordered 4,000 new trailers with the improved guards from Wabash. Online Contact Form
  5. Stoughton was the fourth manufacturer to upgrade and was crash tested at the First Underride Roundtable at IIHS on May 5, 2016, three years after our crash. They have made the new guard standard on all new trailers and are offering it at no cost or weight penalty to their customers. Stoughton Contacts

Thank you 3

SAVE THE DATE for the Second Underride Roundtable: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

We will continue to discuss how to bring about

the BEST POSSIBLE UNDERRIDE PROTECTION.

IIHS will once again co-host this event, with the Truck Safety Coalition and AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, at their Vehicle Research Center.

“Trucks Are Getting More Dangerous And Drivers Are Falling Asleep At The Wheel. Thank Congress.”

If you are at all concerned about the possibility of you, or someone you know, being in a truck crash, READ this Huffington Post (April 16, 2016) article: Trucks Are Getting More Dangerous And Drivers Are Falling Asleep At The Wheel. Thank Congress.

Here is a comment on the article from the Advocates for Auto & Highway Safety:

This is a terrific expose by Huffington Post that appeared in yesterday’s edition about the growing influence of special trucking interests in their continuing efforts to roll back truck safety rules including hours of service (HOS) and bypass the authorizing committees by using the Appropriations Committees. . . We learned on Friday that the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee will likely take up the FY2017 transportation funding bill on Tuesday with full Appropriations Committee mark-up on Thursday. . .   We anticipate that the trucking industry will continue to try to block going back to the Obama Administration hours of service rule with more language and several states are seeking truck size and weight exemptions.

This is a very lengthy article which, for the most part, delves into the problem of truck driver fatigue (and the horrific, often fatal, crashes which all too often occur) and the pressure that the trucking industry continues to put on Congress with the result of making our roads less safe instead of more safe.

Please read and share this very informative article. It needs to be heard.

It only serves to emphasize the importance of our call for President Obama to set a National Vision Zero Goal, establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force, and sign a Vision Zero Executive Order. Are you listening, President Obama?

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

Here are some of the topics which this tell-it-like-it-is article covers:

There were several other industry requests in that funding bill for 2016, including a measure that aimed to extend the suspension of sleep rules that Collins had won just six months earlier. Her suspension lasted a year and required regulators to look into the effectiveness of requiring two nights of sleep and whether there was any case for the trucking industry’s position. But rather than see that process through, the new provision changed the study mid-stream and called for gathering even more data — including the regulation’s impact on the longevity of drivers. Studying workers’ lifespans, of course, takes entire lifespans. That provision was signed into law with the 2016 spending bill that ultimately passed.

They just basically want to stall this forever,” said Rep. David Price (N.C.), the top Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that deals with transportation.

Another measure the industry pushed last year aimed to short-circuit federal regulators’ efforts to evaluate raising insurance requirements for trucking companies. Currently, carriers have to maintain the same $750,000 policies they did in the ‘80s. The industry’s argument is that independent operators would not be able to afford higher premiums — and indeed, DND’s margins were so close it shut down when its insurance company raised rates after the Balder crash. The industry argues that 99 percent of truck accidents do not generate such high damages. But $750,000 doesn’t begin to cover the costs a serious semi wreck incurs. For instance, a widower whose wife was killed and children severely injured by a dozing driver in 2010 won $41 million in damages. The family of James McNair, the comedian who died in the Tracy Morgan crash, settled for $10 million in March last year.  A somewhat weakened version of the measure did pass, requiring regulators to evaluate a number of different factors before they adjust the insurance requirements.

Another industry-backed provision aimed to hide the BASIC safety measurements for trucking companies from public view, and bar their use in lawsuits. The lawsuit provision was dropped from the spending bill during negotiations, but the BASIC scores were in fact hidden and removed from the agency’s website. The industry used a Government Accountability Office study that found the safety system could do better in some respects to justify its position, but the two firms involved in the Velasquez crash had exactly the sort of poor safety scores that the BASIC system predicts make them more likely to be involved in accidents.

Despite the fact that these provisions will likely have an impact on the safety of nearly 11 million large trucks registered in America, they were all buried in legislation that Congress had to pass to avoid a government shutdown, with little to no debate about whether they were a good idea.

“The advocates of relaxing the rules or eliminating the rules, they see that and think this is their train to catch. … Not just wait on the normal process, or count on something as pedestrian as actual hearings or discussion, but to make a summary judgement and latch it on to an appropriations bill,” Price said.

There’s something else all the industry-backed measures have in common: They are deeply unpopular.

The article focused on a truck crash in which a tired trucker plowed into the back of a State Trooper’s Crown Vic while he was on the side of a tollway assisting another trucker. Not exactly our circumstance, but made me tense up just reading about it. See our Crown Vic here:

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

Driving While FatiguedUnderride kills

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

Who loses when there is a truck underride crash?

Who loses when there is a truck underride crash? Well, of course, the smaller vehicle’s driver and/or passengers (and their loved ones) are the most obvious victims of a truck underride crash. But does anyone else lose when an underride crash occurs?

How about the truck driver, who was not necessarily the one causing the crash but might lose some wages by being off the road in the aftermath? Or, how about the owner of the truck (trailer) who now has a damaged vehicle? Calling them victims makes sense.

But how about the company which manufactured the truck/trailer? Do they lose out on this deal? No. They are not impacted by a failed underride guard on a vehicle which they produce. However, I hope that that will not stop them from voluntarily jumping on the bandwagon and taking the lead to improve safety.

In fact, in 2014, we wrote to numerous companies in the trucking industry–asking them to voluntarily manufacture or purchase trucks with the safest possible underride protection. We are getting ready to send another letter out to them–letting them know what is happening in underride research efforts, which makes this a manageable request.

trailer manufacturer letter template January 2014

Some trailer manufacturing companies have been voluntarily taking steps to improve their underride guards. IIHS reports on their progress in this October 2014 Status Report:  http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4907.pdf

For more information on what is happening around the globe to improve underride standards, especially side underride guards, see this article by Andy Young, a truck driver/owner/attorney and chair of the American Association for Justice Truck Litigation Group’s Underride Committee (that’s a mouthful!):

Piercing-The-Passenger-Compartment

I hope to see a future where the trucking industry goes beyond compliance and voluntarily leads the way to providing the best possible protection by means of more effective underride prevention systems–rear, side, and frontal–on all applicable vehicles.

Please join us in encouraging them to do so.

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Same Old, Same Old: Trucking Safety Debates Impact Spending Bill

When the trucking industry uses the appropriations bill process to sway votes, what do you think is their primary motivation: Safety or Profit?

See what you think:

“Foxx said Republicans are conducting an end run around the normal legislative process by including the trucking provisions in his agency’s funding bill.

What’s happening is the appropriations process is now being used to create policy, which, when it comes to safety, that’s a real problem because it leaves us without a process with which we can articulate the concerns we have, he said. You can expect us to be very vocal about these issues, and my hope is that folks won’t only reconsider the merits of some of the issues, but also some of the processes that some of these issues are dealt with, because there’s a much better process available.

The trucking industry offered a starkly different perspective, saying the provisions that are included in the THUD bill have been on Congress’s agenda for a long time.

These issues have been debated for years, American Trucking Association spokesman Sean McNally told The Hill on Wednesday morning, noting that lawmakers will be holding a hearing on the appropriations bill in the afternoon.

They’re the same issues we’ve been talking about for years, and now we’re going to talk about them again, he said.

McNally added the appropriations bill is fair game for the trucking provisions because it is a piece of legislation that is moving through Congress.

We obviously take a different view of the safety ramifications of these provisions, he said, describing the changes as a number of things we believe will increase output and safety.”  http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/240453-gop-spending-bill-reignites-trucking-debate

Sounds good, but just exactly how will their actions increase SAFETY? That is what I want to know.

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The Passion of This Safety Advocate

It gets really tiresome to hear the trucking industry come up with the same statements time after time after time.

Nearly every time I read an article written about our crash, there are the obligatory responses from the trucking industry. Invariably, they try to shift the responsibility off of themselves to make the changes sought after and, instead, bring up some alternative solution to the “problem.”

This can be seen in the latest article by Bloomberg News about our story and underride guards: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/dead-girls-mom-says-100-truck-fix-may-have-saved-them.html

“‘The passion that Karth brings to the debate won’t necessarily solve the problem,’ said Sean McNally, a spokesman for the American Trucking Associations, the industry’s largest advocacy group. ‘Instead, regulators will be more effective if they focus on such measures as crash-avoidance technology and such simple steps as education to encourage better driving by both trucks and cars.

“’All crashes are tragic, and as a result discussions about highway safety are often touched by strong emotions,’ McNally said. ‘However, we should not use emotions as the basis for regulations. Regulations need to be grounded on strong research, science and data.’”

What does he think the problem is?! And has he even bothered to look at the strong research, science, and data reported on by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) regarding underride guards? Does he truly think that this is an either/or situation?

He just doesn’t seem to get it. He thinks the passion is simply my deep grief over the loss of my daughters. He doesn’t have a clue that that very real pain is amplified by anger and frustration over the callous attitude and denial of responsibility that too often is expressed by spokespersons of the trucking industry–and which, of course, gets played out in their decisions and actions on matters related to safety.

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CNBC Reports on National Truck Crash Problem

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CNBC Reports on National Tragedy of Truck Crashes http://www.cnbc.com/id/101875063

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