Tag Archives: underride guards

Imagine if engineers collaborated to create effective underride solutions!

I was reflecting tonight on the three crash tests which I viewed in less than seven days in three different states with underride prevention technology designed by three different engineering teams. All of a sudden, the question popped into my head, “How much faster would we be able to get effective underride solutions available to install on trucks if everybody that is working on the problem — or even thinking about it — would truly be collaborating?”

It is totally ridiculous that we allow marketplace competition to inhibit communication and slow down the process. How many more lives could be saved if we more effectively put our heads together?

That was the original idea when we conceived of the Underride Roundtable.  Are we willing to do it like it’s never been done before and make this a joint effort?

Previous post on a similar topic: Urgent Underride Discussion of Deceleration Forces/High Speeds. Don’t Dawdle.

Why would a stronger rear underride guard be offered as optional on new trailers?!

When a stronger more effective rear underride guard has been designed by a manufacturer, why would they offer it as optional rather than standard on their new trailers?! And we’re talking about an insignificant increase in cost for the improved guard, according to one guard engineer.

For that matter, why do we offer any proven safety equipment as optional on vehicles?

Do we want people to die?

The Retrofit Question: Should we add underride protection to existing trucks OR decide to let people die?

Some might be hesitant about the comprehensive underride protection legislation mainly out of concern over the Retrofitting Requirement of the STOP Underrides! Bill.

Ask me if I would be willing to compromise and take out the retrofit requirement! How many people might die as a result? The trailer which we crashed into is probably still on the road with a weak rear underride guard. Along with millions of others.

Why is it that they are being allowed to “get away with murder” just because it will cost the industry some money to strengthen these rear guards?

Just imagine for a moment that somebody had done something in 2008 to introduce a Comprehensive Underride Protection Bill. But let’s say that they decided not to require retrofitting;  so only new trailers would be improved starting in perhaps 2012.

So the Great Dane trailer built in 2007, which we crashed into on May 4, 2013, would not have been required to be retrofitted. It would have been left with its original rear underride guard which was designed to meet the 1998 federal (current) standard and, therefore, would have been weak and ineffective.

My daughters still would have been killed! They would not have been protected from Death by Underride — despite the fact that a solution would have existed which might have prevented their untimely deaths.

So, ask me again. . . “Do you want to compromise and take the retrofit requirement out of the STOP Underrides! Bill?” What do you think?

After all, we have decades of deaths and neglect to make up.

Every day we delay, more people will die from truck underride. STOP Underrides!

Progress is being made on the prevention of truck underride tragedies. But we have a long way to go before comprehensive underride protection is on every truck on the road. That is why we are working hard on every front to raise awareness of the century-old underride problem — along with proven and promising solutions.

But not everyone seems to get the sense of urgency which drives us to insistently call for resolution of this issue via the STOP Underrides! Bill posthaste. That’s why I decided to create this simple graphic to drive home the point that the price we pay, as a result of our delay in taking meaningful action, is too costly to accept any further meaningless excuses:

Based on analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of NHTSA’s truck crash fatality statistics (FARS), this graphic reflects the 600 truck/car collisions which annually occur, on average, at the sides and rear of large trucks  — leaving out front collisions: potential underride tragedies which we want to prevent with the STOP Underrides! Bill.

Some years ago, I noticed the way that the prophet Daniel, in Daniel 9, got on his knees and repented on behalf of his people. . . God’s people, for wrongdoing that he was not directly responsible for — appealing to God to act mercifully.

This week, I thought of that again and determined to stand in the stead of all those who have turned their backs to the underride problem — unknowingly or not. Perhaps we all play some part in not getting to the bottom of those terrible tragedies.

In any case, on behalf of all those who have not been held accountable, I repent of our country’s indifference to this preventable highway carnage. I ask the Lord to forgive our callous attitude, misplaced priorities, and neglect. May He stir up a sense of urgency that we might all take appropriate action and work together more creatively and effectively.

What are we waiting for?! Let’s get on with it! We’ve got people counting on us — whether they know it or not.

 

Understanding Underride I to VIII: A Source of Helpful Information on Truck Underride

In order to gain a basic understanding of the deadly but preventable truck underride problem, a compilation of helpful resources is provided below.

A complete list of posts on Understanding Underride can be found here:

WUSA9 recently began an extensive investigation into truck underride. The segments which have already aired are listed here. They plan to shed light on the problem until it is adequately addressed in this country.  See all of the videos here: WUSA9 Underride Series Sheds Light on Deadly Truck Underride Tragedies & Solutions

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.

On October 12, 2017, staff from Congressional Offices gathered to hear presentations from five experts on the topic of truck underride to better understand the need for the STOP Underrides! bill. 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 presentations can be found here: Underride Briefing on The Hill; Video Excerpts of Panel Discussion on October 12

Another series of posts on underride is titled Underride 101:

Truck Underride 101: Discussion Topics

I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

Truck Underride 101: I. When Will We Tackle Truck Underride?

II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection? 

Truck Underride 101: II. Why Comprehensive Underride Protection?

III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

 Truck Underride 101: Part III. Cost Benefit Analysis, Underride Rulemaking, and Vision Zero

IV. Win/Win

Truck Underride 101: Part IV Win/Win

V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

Truck Underride 101: Part V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy

 

Understanding Underride II: From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Here is some basic information on understanding underride from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

A panel of experts discuss underride at a Briefing on The Hill, October 12, 2017, to bring greater understanding of the problem and solutions of deadly but preventable truck underride. 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.

For more information on the STOP Underrides! Act of 2017, go to http://annaleahmary.com/ and/or https://stopunderrides.org/

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:

Video Links from the Second Underride Roundtable at the IIHS on August 29, 2017

 

 

Understanding Underride III: Rear Underride

A panel of experts discuss underride at a Briefing on The Hill, October 12, 2017, to bring greater understanding of the problem and solutions of deadly but preventable truck underride. Malcolm Deighton, engineer with Sapa/Hydro, discusses their aluminum rear underride guard — successfully crash tested at 40 mph.

For more information on the STOP Underrides! Act of 2017, go to http://annaleahmary.com/ and/or https://stopunderrides.org/

Because our crash involved the failure of the rear underride guard of a truck that we collided with, that was where our initial advocacy efforts were directed. We quickly saw that comprehensive underride protection was important to save countless lives.

Here are some of the things we discovered and did about rear underride:

 

Understanding Underride VII: Cost/Benefit Analysis

A panel of experts discuss underride at a Briefing on The Hill, October 12, 2017, to bring greater understanding of the problem and solutions of deadly but preventable truck underride. Jason Levine, Director of the Center for Auto Safety, discusses the flaws in the cost/benefit analysis of truck underride protection.

For more information on the STOP Underrides! Act of 2017, go to http://annaleahmary.com/ and/or https://stopunderrides.org/

Here are some further thoughts on cost benefit analysis related to underride protection:

  1. “Even if cost-benefit analysis is theoretically a neutral tool. . . it is biased against strong public protections.”Recently, NHTSA announced statistics for 2016 traffic fatalities:
    • 37,461 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in 2016
    • Up 5.6% from 2015
    • Tucked in the back of the report, if you look for it, you will see that there were 4,317 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks — up 5.4% from 2015, the highest since 2007. . .
  2. Public Comments on Underrride Rulemaking & Cost/Benefit Analysis: Public Comments Re: Cost/Benefit Analysis in NHTSA Proposed Underride Rulemaking on Rear Guards for Tractor-Trailers & for Single Unit Trucks and       Current NHTSA #Underride Rulemaking (Cost/Benefit Analysis): Summary of Public Comments and http://annaleahmary.com/2016/10/dot-omb-are-you-using-cea-or-cba-rulemaking-road-to-zero-requires-vision-zero-rulemaking/

  3. Jerry Karth’s Public Comments on Underride Rulemaking: Comments on the NPRM for Rear Underride Guards on Trailers and Reflections from a bereaved dad on the Underride Roundtable & what that means for rulemaking

  4. Stoughton improved underride guards–standard “at no cost or weight penalty.”
  5. Underride Statistics 

  6. The Future of Trucking: Who pays for the costs of safer roads?

    I thought about all of this, on a recent trip “back home”, as I reflected on the plight of small trucking companies and independent owner-operator truck drivers. Are the costs of owning a company and the pressure to drive many miles creating a situation where they won’t be able to stay in business?

    Frequently, I hear that changes of one kind or another in the trucking industry–in order to improve safety (i.e., reduce crashes, injuries and deaths)–will result in increased costs for the trucking companies. I hear that it will put them out of business.

    Is this true? According to whom and based on what information? If it is true, then does something need to change in the trucking industry itself in order to allow for the beneficial work, which trucking provides, to continue but to also allow for truckers to make a decent living wage–without jeopardizing their health and the safety of travelers on the roads? . . .  Read more here: The Future of Trucking; Who pays for the costs of safer roads?

  7. Whose lives are you going to sacrifice? If decisive action is not taken to end these preventable deaths, then who should we hold responsible? Whose lives are we thereby choosing to sacrifice?

  8. TTMA: Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association Reminds NHTSA Why Side Guards Are Not Cost Effective, May 18, 2016 post:

    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.

    TTMA_Side_Impact_Main_Comment_2016-05-13

    TTMA_Side_impact_Exhibits_A-D_2016-05-13

    Their rationaleCost/Benefit Analysis shows that adding side guard to trucks is “not cost-effective”. From this post: Truck Trailer Manufacturers Ass’n “Reminds” NHTSA: Side Guards Are “Not Cost-Effective” Says Who? 

    I am encouraged by the closing paragraph of the TTMA letter to NHTSA:

    TTMA would support the implementation of side guards if they ever become justified and technologically feasible. We continue to support the NHTSA review of Petitioners’ requests and stand ready to partner in the development of justified and feasible designs if they possibly emerge. Jeff Sims, President

  9. How can we possibly justify allowing Death by Underride to continue when solutions exist to prevent it?, As I allow myself to remember the joy and laughter and love and creativity and grumpiness and irritability and silliness of my daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, I also remember why I am working tirelessly to bring an end to Death by Underride — which snatched AnnaLeah from this earthly life on May 4, 2013, and Mary on May 8, 2013. I was in that horrific truck crash four years ago today. I survived but they did not because of Death by Underride. . .
  10. Mandates take burden off manufacturers. Crash tests in labs better than crash tests occurring in real world., Lou Lombardo has written a thought-provoking opinion piece, Creating a Demand for Crash Testing (CTTI, September 2011). It holds great value in confirming the need for comprehensive underride protection legislation to be introduced and passed in a timely manner. . .
  11. They fought the good fight, they finished the race. . .
  12. Every Day’s A Holiday With Mary; Joyful Memories of Mary
  13. Amazing Grace Goodbye, AnnaLeah & Mary, With Love From Grandpa
  14. Truck Industry Leaders: “Clarity is probably the biggest need we have so we can plan accordingly.”
  15. AnnaLeah Karth. May 15, 1995 – May 4, 2013. Death by Underride.

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.

Senator Gillibrand Directs Pointed Questions on Underride to Federal Highway Administration Nominee

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.