Tag Archives: underride guards

Could comprehensive truck underride protection have prevented 2 underride deaths in Michigan yesterday?

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.

Read more here: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/04/23/semi-crash-us-23-green-oak-livingston/100822330/

Will Knight/Swift KNX make sure their 77,000 trailers have the best possible underride protection?

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.

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

Rank

Manufacturer

2016

2015

Totals:

314,966

337,861

http://trailer-bodybuilders.com/trailer-output/2016-trailer-production-figures-table

Side Guard Petition Book Part 1

Side Guard Petition Book Part 2

Side Guard Petition Book Part 3

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

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

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

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

Rank

Manufacturer

2016

2015

Totals:

314,966

337,861

http://trailer-bodybuilders.com/trailer-output/2016-trailer-production-figures-table

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.

Partner With Us To Protect Vulnerable Victims of Underride Crashes

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:

    trailersafe_system_logo_base
    IJK Interactive
  • You would receive a shirt like this for a minimum $25 donation:

    trailersafe_system_logo_blue
    IJK Interactive

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:

LOGO AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety
design by Isaac Karth, IJK Interactive

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).

dragon

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).

gertiecroppedtrip-north-may-2015-141michigan-60-party-and-cemetery-061michigan-60-party-and-cemetery-070

Aaron’s invention:

underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-012 underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-016 underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-054 underride-guard-design-by-aaron-kiefer-060

See a crash test of Aaron’s original version of his TrailerSafe System in the Spring of 2016:

 

More information about Aaron’s invention: http://annaleahmary.com/2016/12/crash-test-of-innovative-large-truck-side-guard-could-advance-side-underride-prevention/

Wonderful memories of Mary and her St. Bernard, Gertie (the inspiration for Bono):

Mary’s Life With Gertie; Her Best Friend to the End

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Underride Test Protocol

Update on December 24, 2016: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Underride Test Protocol is now published on the Federal Register at this link: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Underride Test Protocol

Underride Roundtable May 5, 2016 080

Thank you, IIHS, for all of your work to make our roads safer.

IIHS Rear Underride Protocol from Trailer Testing Posted on Website

In September, IIHS posted protocol from rear underride crash testing onto their website. The semi-trailer underride protocol is located at the bottom of the page at this link: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/technical-information/technical-protocols

A pdf is available here: iihs-underride-test-protocol

Underride Roundtable May 5, 2016 168

Thank you, IIHS, for all of your important work to advance road safety!

Stoughton improved underride guards–standard “at no cost or weight penalty.”

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.

Stoughton Rear Underride Guard Brochure August 2016 pdf

Stoughton Trailers Introduces Underride Guard Press Release June 2016

Stoughton Safety Ad for Rear Underride Guard 10/17/16

This is good in more than one way:

  1. First of all, it means that — here on out — all new trailers purchased from Stoughton will be safer.
  2. 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.

A more detailed explanation of the underride dilemma is available here: Underride Guards: Can we “sit down at the table together” and work this out? June 27, 2014

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

Roads Safer

Thanks to Clarence Ditlow Review of 1981 Underride Rule Sheds Light on Current Rulemaking Concerns

In June 2016, I received a link from Clarence Ditlow to a regulations.gov Federal Register 1981 proposed truck underride rule. As I was reflecting on Clarence’s recent death and his life as a car safety advocate, I remembered that email.

When I was able to locate the email, I realized that I had not fully read the proposed rule, so I took some time this morning to do so and have recorded highlights of that document below. Points or questions not in quotes are my own thoughts.

Because this was a lengthy summary, I am going to include a link for the reader:                “Old Underride Petition”; Highlights of a 1981 Rear Underride Rule

Federal Register Docket and Full Proposed Rule pdf can be found here: Rear Impact Guards/Protection: Docket ID: NHTSA-1996-1827

What I would like to know is whether NHTSA will be reviewing prior documents and research (such as this represents) as well as take into account the impact that advances in technology and knowledge when preparing future underride rulemaking? Just for example, would the crashworthiness of “modern” passenger vehicles (e.g., the installation of air bags) change the conclusions drawn in this document?

I would also like to know what the actual cost/benefit analysis formula was which they used in this document as well as in the current underride rulemaking. Does it take a Vision Zero/Road to Zero approach? And would they think that my daughters were worth saving?

Some of the key points of this 1981 proposed underride rule include:

  1. “The agency had tentatively determined that a better regulation was needed because of the continuing problem of fatalities and serious injuries occurring in accidents involving excessive underride, and because of the absence of efforts by the vehicle manufacturers generally to go sufficiently beyond the BMCS requirement.”

  2. “In 1971, after evaluating cost and accident data and reviewing all information received in response to the notices, NHTSA terminated those rulemaking efforts. The Administrator of the agency concluded that the safety benefits achievable with the particular type of underride guard then contemplated would not be commensurate with the cost of implementing the standard.”

  3. “The agency had estimated that the proposed rule would save 50-100 lives per year at an annual cost to the consumer of $500,000,000 .”

  4. “Most of the implementation costs estimated by NHTSA were related to the increase in guard weight which it thought was necessary to meet the proposed requirements.”

  5. “Efforts to improve underride protection resumed in 1977, after the Auto-Truck Crash Safety Hearing was held by Senator Wendell H. Ford. This hearing was the direct result of a program conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 1976.”

  6. “This program focused on the problem of preventing excessive underride. IIHS performed five tests in which passengers car were crashed into the rear of a typical semi-trailer van.

  7. “In addition, the TTI program tested a hydraulic energy-absorbing guard manufactured by Quinton-Hazell Automotive Ltd. (Quinton-Hazell). (An energy-absorbing guard is one that dissipates the energy of the impact in a controlled manner.)”

  8. “The Quinton-Hazell device was very effective both at preventing excessive underride, reducing occupant injury responses, and reducing damage to the colliding vehicle.”

  9. “Despite their apparent advantages, NHTSA will not mandate the use of energy-absorbing underride devices at this time because the agency feels that they are heavy and costly to use.”
  10. “NHTSA encourages the use of energy absorbing guards in light of their ability to mitigate injuries, as evidenced by the testing and the risk analysis.”
  11. “NHTSA stresses that the requirements set forth in the proposed rule are minimum requirements. If adopted truck and trailer manufacturers and owners would be able to place any type of underride guard — rigid, energy-absorbing, moderate strength, etc. — on their vehicle that meets the requirements of the rule.”
  12. “In light of the results of the risk analysis, however, the agency suggests that manufacturers interested in guards stronger than moderate load design consider using hydraulics or other means to absorb energy rather than merely making the guards more rigid.”
  13. “NHTSA estimates that the proposed requirements could have prevented as many as 80 fatal injuries per year if they had been fully implemented in the period from 1977 to 1979. An even greater number of serious injuries would have been prevented.”

Read the other 80 points here: old-underride-petition

How do you interpret those statements? What does it look like to you? Am I the only one who is appalled at their apparent “washing of their hands” of responsibility for the lives lost due to their negligence in mandating the best possible underride protection?

Even if I were willing to overlook their actions in the past, I am not willing to settle for a future rule to continue this kind of travesty. In conjunction with voluntary improvement in underride protection which we are beginning to see, I want to see effective underride protection installed all around trucks because I know it is possible.

I am convinced that this kind of protection will be near to impossible to attain until this country understands and demands Vision Zero Rulemaking as an essential component of its Road to Zero Coalition strategy.

do-it-president-obamaCar Safety Wars

CBA Victim Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

What will President Trump and the next Secretary of Transportation do about this?