2 Moms are returning to DC with a week full of meetings on The Hill — including meetings with 13 House Transportation Committee Member Offices. Then, on Thursday, June 15, Lois Durso and I will be hosting a Capitol Hill Briefing on the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 (RAMCUP) from 9 a.m. to noon. Our goal is to get Congress on board with the importance of this doable plan to end preventable truck underride tragedies.
How You Can Help: We will be providing refreshments to those attending the Briefing and would appreciate donations (not tax deductible) to help us cover the costs. If you can help in this way, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me.
We will be grateful for any amount. This problem is not going away. . . I just heard about another underride crash in Tennessee this week (http://tinyurl.com/y8m57t9f).
At this time of year (who am I kidding, all year long), I think about how if there had been comprehensive and effective underride protection on trucks, then AnnaLeah and Mary might have still been here today. They could have gone with me to the zoo on Friday when I went there with my grandson.
How many deaths and catastrophic injuries could be prevented by comprehensive underride protection on all trucks? Might these two deaths in Michigan yesterday have been prevented?
Two people died and a third was critically hurt today in a multiple-vehicle crash involving a semi that shut down southbound U.S. 23 in Livingston County for hours.
One of the people killed, a 51-year-old man from Milford, was in a Ford Focus that went underneath the semi, according to a release from the Green Oak Charter Township Police Department. Also in that car was a 26-year-old woman that taken to University of Michigan Hospitals with life-threatening injuries. The other man killed was a 52-year-old from Davison who was in a Chevrolet Sonic rear-ended by the semi.
Last month, I met Jerry Moyes, founder of Swift Transportation, at a Senate hearing on truck safety in DC. He proudly talked about how Swift makes safety a priority. In fact, he appeared very interested in the side guard design by Aaron Kiefer which I showed to him.
This morning, I read that Swift has just merged with Knight Transportation. The combined resources of the two companies will now mean that the new entity will have 77,000 trailers on the road.
Will the new company make safety a priority and ensure that those 77,000 trailers have the best possible underride protection? I sure hope so.
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.
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.
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
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.
Partner with us to bring about a crash test of Aaron Kiefer’s life-saving truck side guard on January 20, 2017. We have thought of a way that you could participate in the production & testing of his latest professional-grade prototype.
We want to know if you would like to receive a specially-designed T-shirt — with Mary & AnnaLeah in mind — for a donation to this UNDERRIDE RESEARCH PROJECT/Crash Test:
You would receive a shirt like this for a minimum $20 donation:
You would receive a shirt like this for a minimum $25 donation:
We are trying to figure out if we should move ahead with this T-shirt project. Another upcoming T-shirt design will be Christopher. Please let us know if you might like to have one of these shirts to support our underride research efforts in memory of AnnaLeah & Mary.
HOW WE CAME UP WITH THE Christopher & Bono LOGOS:
Aaron Kiefer is making great progress on the development of his innovative side/rear guard for large trucks. Recently, he asked me if I would like to create a logo for the rear aluminum attachment piece of it which will attach to existing rear underride guards — thus strengthening them to better be able to prevent rear underride — and to which the side guard portion attaches.
So I sat down with my family to brainstorm ideas for a logo. A couple of years ago, we had done the same thing to come up with a name and logo for our non-profit organization:
Aaron already calls his invention — which uniquely provides continuous protection around the side and rear of trailers — the TrailerGuard System.
In our brainstorming, we decided that we could call the side portion of his life-saving invention the Christopher Guard for the patron saint/advocate of travelers — keeping in mind AnnaLeah’s dragon and calling it Christopher, who would guard against sure death (my idea).
And we could call the rear attachment portion — which is designed to attach to the existing rear guard (making it more likely to prevent the guillotine effect of truck underride) — the Bono Guard for the patron saint, Beuno or Bono (Latin, bonus = good), known for the protection of children — using the image of Mary’s St. Bernard Gertie (my idea).
See a crash test of Aaron’s original version of his TrailerSafe System in the Spring of 2016:
We just received good news from Gary Fenton, VP of Engineering at Stoughton Trailers, with the announcement that their newly-designed rear underride guard is now available, as of November 1, 2016, on all new trailers produced by and purchased from them. Gary’s email to me on December 12, was very encouraging:
“Please find attached a press release and ad sheets associated with the Stoughton move to standardize a new under ride structure, designed to widen the area of impact protection on the rear of Stoughton Trailers. Stoughton is now standard on this new design for all straight vans (dry and reefer). The implementation of the design as standard began on Nov. 1, 2016 (pilot run of 100 units built in August). The inclusion of this new protection feature is standard to the customer at no cost or weight penalty.”
First of all, it means that — here on out — all new trailers purchased from Stoughton will be safer.
Secondly, it means that Stoughton has set a new example for the industry in offering it as standard equipment and not merely an option.
Stoughton Trailers is one of four out of the eight major trailer manufacturers, tested recently by IIHS, which have responded to our request for voluntary improvement to their underride protection. The others are Manac (which improved their guard shortly before our crash), Vanguard, and Wabash. One more manufacturer hopes to have their upgrade crash tested early next year.
Thank you, Stoughton, and Gary Fenton, for your hard work and dedication to truly making safety a priority.