Tag Archives: TTMA

Heading for DC to Discuss the Need for the Best Possible Underride Protection on All Trucks

This is why we are working so hard to get better underride protection. This is why I am getting up early tomorrow morning to get on Amtrak headed for DC to meet with DOT and the Senate Commerce Committee. Pray for fruitful meetings.

COMPARE THIS: A real-life underride death prevented by a new rear underride guard: New Stoughton Rear Underride Guard Proven Successful In Real Life Crash; Driver Survives

TO THIS: A real-life rear underride tragedy in a crash into an old, weak, and ineffective rear underride guard: Carroll deputy killed in crash

Within a week’s time, 1 driver survived a crash with a trailer, 1 driver did not.

Seems like a no-brainer to me to require that all of the 15.5 million trucks on the road have the best possible underride protection.

Note: How many trucks are on the road?

 2016 Top 25 North American Truck-Trailer & Chassis OEMs









Side Guard Petition Book Part 1

Side Guard Petition Book Part 2

Side Guard Petition Book Part 3

When is it acceptable to give up the quest to end preventable crash deaths?

I posted recently about the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association letter to NBC News about their investigative report on side guards in a recent Today Show.

NBC News Updates Article on Today Show Side Underride Report

Here is a comment on that post from a friend, Michelle Novak, who lost her nephew, Chuck Novak, due to a truck crash:

The Truck Trailer Manufacturing Association appears to have been upset over the report by NBC on the lack of under-ride guards on semi trailers in the US–though they are standardized in Europe.

They complain that the ones produced here up to now, are “technical and commercial failures.”

They also include quite the protest as to their political contributions–specifying that they’ve made none–regarding side- and rear-guards. That seems as though they protest too much.

The question Marianne Karth rightly raises: does the fact that there hasn’t been a successful one created yet– by an industry that maintains a lack of financial or political incentive to create one–mean the problem can’t ever be solved?

We all know the answer: and Marianne Karth and her family have been spending a heck of a lot of time and effort bringing together people and ideas to create prototypes which even this association can’t avoid forever.

This shouldn’t be the job of a surviving victim, who was injured in the crash that took two of her daughters.

But the letter from the Trailer Manufacturers should give you an idea of why it’s fallen to a victim who has dedicated her life to creating something very do-able for large corporations.

If they had incentive, that is. And killing people isn’t incentive enough.

If you’d like to help Marianne get this done, and help save pedestrians, babies in strollers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and cars pushed under trailers by other cars, or those who run under for any number of reasons, click on her site. She’s got a lot of great information and updates on the progress on here.  https://www.facebook.com/michellem.novak.7/posts/343570059376617

Note: I recently viewed another crash test and the engineers who worked on the rear guard design mentioned that this successful design was #66 in a series of tries at “getting it right.”

What if they had given up after one, ten, forty, or sixty-five attempts?

NBC News Updates Article on Today Show Side Underride Report

NBC News received a letter from the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association about the Today Show investigative report on Side Underride. After further investigation, NBC News added this to their article on the report:

Update and correction: After the publication of our story, we received a letter from the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA), which argues that our report overstated the simplicity of the side guard fix and that prototypes have been technical and commercial failures. TTMA made the same argument to NHTSA in a letter we referenced in our report, which you can read here. They also told us that TTMA has not made any political donations to lawmakers on the issue of side underrides, including to Senator Thune. In response to other points made by TTMA, we have updated our online report with TTMA’s response that guards in Europe are focused on protecting bicyclists and pedestrians, not automobiles and that NTSB said injuries and deaths “could” be reduced by side guards, instead of “would.” We also have updated campaign finance data, broken out donations from the trucking sector of the transportation industry, and corrected the period during which those donations were made.

I previously wrote about the TTMA’s May 13, 2016 letter to NHTSA about side guards. Read it here.

Despite the TTMA’s objections to the report, the fact remains that almost as many people die from side underride crashes each year as from rear underride crashes. And, furthermore, I have seen with my own eyes the difference that side guards can make in stopping deadly underride.

Will we let the technical and commercial failures of side guard prototypes in the past stop us from keeping at the task of solving this problem? I thank God for people like Aaron Kiefer and Perry Ponder who have kept at it until they successfully proved what human ingenuity could do to save lives.

Note:  In fact, Europe’s side guard standards are designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists — which the U.S. should do, too! But Europe does not require the prevention of cars from underriding trucks. I have been in communication with a global automotive regulation specialist, and I hope that what happens here in the U.S. will have a ripple effect globally.

TTMA Engineering Committee provides rulemaking input at the annual TTMA meeting in July.

The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) held their annual summer meeting July 26 — 28.

The TTMA Engineering Committee reviewed several key regulatory actions during the TTMA convention.

Among the regulatory items:

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is at work on revisions to its rear underride guard regulations. Engineering Committee provide rulemaking input

I look forward to hearing more about the TTMA Annual Summer Meeting.

Trip North May 2015 044

Truck Trailer Manufacturers Ass’n “Reminds” NHTSA: Side Guards Are “Not Cost-Effective” Says Who?

Yesterday morning, I 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 guards from being mandated and manufactured to prevent smaller passenger vehicles from riding under trucks upon collision with the side of the larger vehicle.



Their rationale: Cost/Benefit Analysis shows that adding side guard to trucks 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:  Not enough people die from side underride crashes to justify the money it would take to add this safety feature. 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–not the trailer manufacturers, not the trucking companies, not the truck drivers (unless perhaps they were blamed for the collision itself), not the regulators, not the insurers; I repeat, no one!!! No one will be penalized for this despicable, unconscionable action–except, of course, the victims.

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!

Mom Says $100 Truck Tweak Could Have Saved Her Daughters

Meanwhile, people will continue to needlessly die — like AnnaLeah and Mary — and people like me will undergo tremendously traumatic ongoing  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.

I helped roll up the side guard designed by Aaron Kiefer last month and it did not seem to weigh that much. I talked to Aaron yesterday 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 around 300 pounds. And what percentage of the total allowed 80,000 lbs. is that anyway? (.4%?)

And, by the way, look at this amazing crash test of Aaron’s side guard, which I witnessed in North Carolina less than a month ago (April 30, 2016):

Somebody, please get me an audience with President Obama. 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 the President, 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 nothing about the traffic safety travesty, TTMA has clearly shown us what to expect: Continued opposition and resistance to efforts to make trucks safer to drive around.

I truly hope that I am wrong and that the outcome of the Underride Roundtable will have made a huge difference in the future of underride protection. However, it appears that, if TTMA has anything to say about it, we should expect that any new underride rule issued will either be opposed or be unchanged and, therefore, 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

Media Coverage of the first Truck Underride Roundtable held at IIHS on May 5, 2016


Truck Underride Roundtable is one week away! May it be sehr gut!

On June 25, 2014, after a tour of the research & design center of a truck trailer manufacturer in Georgia, I wrote down these perplexing thoughts about the too-long unresolved underride problem:

Now, it is understandable, amid the multitude of demands and the tyranny of the urgent, that—without a ready solution, in fact, one which would require time and money to develop—this problem has not been given much attention. But, if those who bear responsibility for making sure that this problem gets solved (one way or another) had lost two of their beloved children—or any other loved one—I can guarantee you that they would have moved heaven and earth to find a way to prevent underride.

What makes it even more distressing is that there are many individuals and organizations, who truly seem concerned about safety, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the trailer manufacturers. Yet, from what I can see, very little communication has taken place to move this problem forward from point A (guards that fail and result in death and/or horrific injuries) to Point B (coming up with a better design that will provide the best protection possible). Underride Guards: Can we “sit down at the table together” and work this out?

From where I stood, there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel for this life-ending/changing problem. I had lots of ideas about what needed to be done but no sense that any thing was going to get done about it any time in the near future.

So, in trying to process what we learned at the meeting, I kept thinking over and over: Could an independent work group of qualified individuals, such as an engineering school, take on the challenge of creating such a design—which could then be tested by IHHS, proposed to NHTSA to aid in defining improved rear impact guard specifications, and provided to all trailer manufacturers? Could we do some kind of crowd funding or grant proposal to obtain the necessary funds to support such an endeavor? Could we perhaps even approach the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) and ask them to seek contributions from their members for such a project?

Is cost truly not a factor? Is safety really a priority and not a competitive matter? Is it possible to improve the communication necessary to prevent more unnecessary deaths? Can we “sit down at the table together” and work this out?

I am so happy to be able to say that at the Underride Roundtable, one week from now on May 5, 2016, over 65 representatives from the trucking industry, government, safety advocates, engineers, crash reconstructionists, attorneys, and media will be on hand at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Vehicle Research Center to”sit down at the table together” and discuss and demonstrate truck underride crashes.

This group will include representatives from:

  • Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association
  • American Trucking Associations
  • Seven Hills Engineering
  • Airflow Deflector
  • Accident Research Specialists
  • Sapa Extrusions
  • Truck Safety Coalition
  • AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
  • Virginia Tech
  • East Carolina University
  • National Transportation Safety Board, Office of Highway Safety
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • J. Hunt Transport
  • Batzer Engineering
  • Injury and Crash Analysis
  • Vanguard Trailer
  • Smart Cap Technologies
  • UNC Highway Safety Research Center
  • Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
  • Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center
  • Interstate Distributor
  • NYC Citywide Adminstrative Services
  • Nurenberg Paris Law Firm
  • Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
  • Sanders & Parks Law Firm
  • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Cargo Transporters
  • Stoughton Trailers
  • Great Dane Trailers
  • North Carolina State Highway Patrol
  • City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics
  • Interstate Distributors
  • Media representatives
  • Underride victims and families
  • and joined by an unknown number of individuals globally as the event will be livestreaming at this webcast link.

It is unfortunate that, over the decades in which no adequate solution to this tragic problem has come about, there has been much miscommunication, misunderstanding, misinformation, and mistakes made. I, for one, am ready to encourage things to move forward with positive momentum–aiming for the best possible underride protection.

In my morning reading, I was reflecting on some verses in Mark 11, which reminded me that the outcome is not totally dependent on me or any of the others who will be gathering in Ruckersville, Virginia, next Thursday. Instead, we are to. . .

“Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going go happen; it shall be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” Mark 11:22-24

And one more key thing, no matter what has and has not been done during the decades following the discovery of the horror of underride, we all need to forgive, put the past behind us, and find ways to work together to overcome this challenge.

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:25

And though we may forgive, we will never forget those we have lost and the reason we are here. . .

Never forgotten