Tag Archives: underride research

Why would manufacturers & engineers not collaborate on underride research?

So, why would the various engineers & inventors & manufacturers choose to not collaborate? Seriously, I cannot think of any other reason than that they hope to get the competitive edge with their underride prevention technology. Make a higher profit. I’m willing to listen to other possible answers to my question.

Just think what that means. . . one more way that the value of human health and life is taking a back seat to economic gain.

But really, who is gaining and who is losing? I know that this is a simplistic look at the matter, but we shouldn’t forget the fact that Research & Development of technology to stop cars from going under trucks (or trucks from going inside cars) is not inexpensive. Crash testing is costly — the crash cars and crash trailers and crash dummies and cameras and analytical tools, not to mention the crash team.

So why on earth would we want multiple manufacturers and engineers to reinvent the wheel — wasting precious resources, time, money and ultimately human lives because of the delay?

Back in 2014, we were told by one manufacturer that, “we are not competitive about safety.” It is imprinted in my brain. Frankly, I’m not so sure I believe it, and the whole thing makes me very frustrated and angry and makes the grief all the more painful. Let’s pull our resources together and act like we truly want to solve this preventable problem.

Previous post on this: Grateful for commitment to Underride Prevention R & D, but is it enough?

Grateful for commitment to Underride Prevention R & D, but is it enough?

I am very grateful for the seemingly sincere commitment to research and development of underride prevention technology on the part of engineers whom I have met in these last four years. I often thank them personally. And, as I participate in crash testing and discuss the outcome of the testing with them, I gain an appreciation of the complexity of the problem.

But I have to ask myself if it is enough, if it is made the priority that solutions to save lives could and should be given. How much faster could we start making truck crashes more survivable if we put our mind to it?

I was reflecting last night on the three crash tests which I viewed in the last week in three different states. They involved the testing of 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. Isn’t it, or is it just me? 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?

Let’s follow the lead of medical researchers:

One of the most important ways the CMTA accelerates the research process is by putting together teams of top scientists recruited from an international body of scientific and clinical Key Opinion Leaders in CMT. The STAR program’s unique character stems from the willingness of the scientists to come together to advance CMT research collaboratively, sharing and communicating ideas, discoveries and research findings.

The CMTA’s funding and operations focus is on translational research that will lead as directly as possible to therapeutic treatments of CMT.  Truck Industry Could Take a Cue From Collaborative Medical Research Strategy

People are counting on it — whether they know it or not — because every day we delay is costly . . .

Afterthought: Why would manufacturers & engineers not collaborate on underride research?


History of Underride Research & Reports: 1896 to 2017

Jerry Karth, Lois Durso, and I recently compiled this extensive list of U.S. underride research, reports, and recommendations beginning in 1896 and continuing to this day. I think that it speaks for itself: effective and comprehensive underride protection is long-overdue. This list is referred to in a recent post on this topic.

1896 This patent for a side underride protective device for street cars was issued on July 14 1896 and cited by numerous more recent underride patents: http://www.google.com.pg/patents/US564027.

1913 A patent was issued in 1913 for a “Safety Device for Motor Vehicles” to provide underride protection for the sides of large trucks. https://www.google.com/patents/US1127241 Since that time, numerous patents have been published which refer to this 1913 patent (with the patent information organized in these columns: Citing Patent, Filing date, Publication date, Applicant, Title):

US4688824 * Mar 4, 1986 Aug 25, 1987 Herring John D Safety device for vehicles
CN100572144C May 27, 2005 Dec 23, 2009 沃尔沃拉斯特瓦格纳公司 Device for a vehicle side anticollision box, and a vehicle comprising such a side anticollision box
US7407204 * Nov 27, 2006 Aug 5, 2008 Volvo Lastvagnar Ab Arrangement for a vehicle side fairing, and a vehicle comprising such a side fairing
US20070085355 * Nov 27, 2006 Apr 19, 2007 Volvo Lastvagnar Ab Arrangement for a vehicle side fairing, and a vehicle comprising such a side fairing
US7780224 Jun 9, 2008 Aug 24, 2010 Vanguard National Trailer Corporation Crash attenuating underride guard
US20080303311 * Jun 9, 2008 Dec 11, 2008 Vanguard National Trailer Corporation Crash attenuating underride guard
US7887120 Jan 26, 2009 Feb 15, 2011 Transtex Composite Inc. Aerodynamic trailer skirts
US7942467 Dec 24, 2009 May 17, 2011 Transtex Composite Inc. Aerodynamic skirt support member
US7942468 Dec 24, 2009 May 17, 2011 Transtex Composite Inc. Aerodynamic skirt securing mechanism
US7942469 Dec 24, 2009 May 17, 2011 Transtex Composite Inc. Aerodynamic skirt panel
US7942470 Dec 24, 2009 May 17, 2011 Transtex Composite Inc. Aerodynamic skirt opening
US7942471 Dec 24, 2009 May 17, 2011 Trnastex Composite Inc. Aerodynamic skirt shape
US20090189414 * Jan 26, 2009 Jul 30, 2009 Mathieu Boivin Aerodynamic trailer skirts
US20100096880 * Dec 24, 2009 Apr 22, 2010 Mathieu Boivin Aerodynamic skirt panel
US20100096882 * Dec 24, 2009 Apr 22, 2010 Mathieu Boivin Aerodynamic skirt opening
US20100096883 * Dec 24, 2009 Apr 22, 2010 Mathieu Boivin Aerodynamic skirt shape
US20100187856 * Dec 24, 2009 Jul 29, 2010 Mathieu Boivin Aerodynamic skirt support member
US20100187856 * Dec 24, 2009 Jul 29, 2010 Mathieu Boivin Aerodynamic skirt support member
US20100264691 * Apr 15, 2010 Oct 21, 2010 Giromini Richard J Side underride cable system for a trailer
US8292351 Apr 3, 2011 Oct 23, 2012 Transtex Composite Inc. Resilient strut for aerodynamic skirt
US9004575 Aug 3, 2011 Apr 14, 2015 Gary Alan Grandominico Aerodynamic skirt assembly
US20110175396 * Apr 3, 2011 Jul 21, 2011 Mathieu Boivin Aerodynamic skirt
US8398150 Apr 17, 2012 Mar 19, 2013 Wabash National, L.P. Side skirt system for a trailer
US8449017 Sep 11, 2012 May 28, 2013 Transtex Composites Inc. Aerodynamic skirt resilient member
US20120169086 * Mar 7, 2012 Jul 5, 2012 Giromini Richard J Side underride cable system for a trailer
US8579359 Jan 15, 2013 Nov 12, 2013 Wabash National, L.P. Side skirt system for a trailer
US8678474 * May 17, 2013 Mar 25, 2014 Transtex Composite Inc. Self-repositioning aerodynamic skirt
US8783758 Mar 19, 2013 Jul 22, 2014 Wabash National, L.P. Folding side skirt system for a trailer
US8801078 Oct 9, 2013 Aug 12, 2014 Wabash National, L.P. Side skirt system for a trailer
US9199676 Jul 2, 2014 Dec 1, 2015 Wabash National, L. P. Side skirt system for a trailer
US9409610 Mar 11, 2015 Aug 9, 2016 Wabash National, L.P. Side skirt system for a trailer
US9573636 Mar 12, 2015 Feb 21, 2017 Ridge Corporation Aerodynamic skirt assembly
US9688320 Oct 27, 2015 Jun 27, 2017 Wabash National, L.P. Side skirt system for a trailer

1969 DOT published a document for rear underride proposed rulemaking on the Federal Register on March 19, 1969, indicating that they “anticipated that the proposed Standard will be amended, after technical studies have been completed, to extend the requirement for underride protection to the sides of large vehicles.” http://annaleahmary.com/2016/03/side-guards-the-original-intent-of-nhtsa-rulemakers-in-the-1969-nprm-docket-no-1-11-notice-2/

1977 Page Patent guard rail for side protection on large wheel vehicles, 1977 US Side Guard Patent US4060268 William Page.pdf

1977 An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test research illustrates the ineffectiveness of 1953 rear underride guard.  http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr1206.pdf#page=5

1977 A Senate hearing leads to new calls for stronger underride protections, and illustrates the inadequacies of existing requirements.  http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr1206.pdf   

1996  Volvo began manufacturing trucks with Front Underrun Protection in 1996 in Europe. This is a patent filed in 2007 for an “Underrun protector and method of providing underrun protection.”  http://www.google.sr/patents/WO2008002242A1?cl=en Other relevant information on front underrun protection can be found here: http://annaleahmary.com/tag/front-underrun-protection/

1997 Study illustrates the discrepancies in The Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) underride fatality count when compared to the NHTSA database, highlighting that more people are dying from underride than are being recorded. http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr3202.pdf

2009 IIHS begins to call for the requirement of front and side underride guards, as well as improved rear guard requirements in its testimony to US House Committee on Energy and Commerce. file:///C:/Users/LD46500/Downloads/testimony_2009-05-18.pdf

2009 Patent filed for a Side impact guard device for industrial vehicles, particularly trailers or semi-trailers”

US7967349 Apr 7, 2009 Jun 28, 2011 C.R.F. Societa Consortile Per Azioni Side impact guard device for industrial vehicles, particularly trailers or semi-trailers


2010 An evaluation of U.S. rear underride guards meeting federal requirements shows that these protections still allow for severe passenger vehicle underride, often resulting in serious or fatal injury. file:///C:/Users/LD46500/Downloads/22esv-000074.pdf

2011 IIHS crash test study demonstrates that federal underride safety standards can fail in relatively low-speed crashes.http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/46/2/1

2012 Sapa Extrusions (inventor/engineer Malcolm Deighton) filed for a patent in 2012 for a Semi trailer under-run protection device” which they later developed into a rear underride guard which was successfully crash tested on a trailer in April 2017. https://www.google.com/patents/USD703106

2013 New crash test study shows how underride guards on most heavy trucks fail to prevent underride and result in serious injury or fatality.http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-crash-tests-underride-guards-on-most-big-rigs-leave-passenger-vehicle-occupants-at-risk-in-certain-crashes

2015 NTSB recommends that regulators develop performance standards for side and front underride protection systems to improve highway vehicle crash compatibility with passenger vehicles. https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl/Pages/mwl9_2015.aspx  

2015 Aaron Kiefer, crash reconstructionist and forensic engineer, was issued a patent for an innovative combination side & rear trailer underride protection system: https://www.google.com/patents/US9463759 Please see the numerous underride patents referred to in this patent.

2015 This patent for a Trailer rear impact guard cites numerous other underride protection patents: https://www.google.com/patents/USD790407

2016 NHTSA issued a grant to Texas A & M Transportation Institute for computer modeling research on side underride protection. http://www.wusa9.com/news/investigations/truck-trailer-rear-guard-rules-have-huge-holes-safety-experts-say/457353893

2017 IIHS tests side underride guards at 35 mph, and illustrates the dramatic impact side guards have in preventing serious injury and death. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/iihs-tests-show-benefits-of-side-underride-guards-for-semitrailers

2017 Seven Hills Engineering, Perry Ponder inventor of Angel Wing Underride Protection successfully crash tested at 35 MPH by IIHS on 3/30/2017 and 40 MPH on 8/29/2017. Patent Pending  http://www.7he.us and http://airflowdeflector.com/airflow-2/

2017 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety urges DOT to put forth a federal mandate on side underride guards. http://saferoads.org/2017/05/10/advocates-statement-on-need-for-strong-truck-side-underride-guards/

2017 NBC Today Show Link/Story https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/side-underride-crashes-kill-200-people-year-will-congress-act-n711721

2017 DOE has issued grants for a Super Truck project which has included side skirts for fuel efficiency but not for safety. http://annaleahmary.com/2017/02/perfect-opportunity-to-transform-supertruck-into-an-esv-to-advance-underride-protection-dot-doe/

Exposing the Truth about the Truck Underride Conspiracy of Silence

You cannot begin to imagine the riotous cacophony of emotions ricocheting about within this mother’s heart right now. Pain. Grief. Anger. Frustration. Outrage. Heartache.

These last few days, Lois and I have been on a journey together which has taken unexpected turns. After driving cross-country with my son to help him get settled in his new home in Santa Cruz, l took a red-eye flight to Chicago where Lois picked me up from the O’Hare airport.

Our original plan was to get on the highway and head for a cottage in Michigan. But it seemed good to us both to take this opportunity for Lois to give me a glimpse of her daughter Roya — the house where she grew up, a favorite restaurant, a school and church, her grandpa and the home he built, and finally her final resting place here on this earth.

It was a very good and a very hard thing for the two of us to do. And then we headed for my old stomping grounds.

We had made plans to spend a few days at a cottage on Lake Michigan where Jerry and I have created many memories. He and I discovered it one year on a getaway and thereafter brought our kids for many fun family times. It was also where we stayed with our nine children and their families when we returned North for my 90 year-old dad’s funeral in 2011. Twelve year-old Mary took over 600 photos on her hand-me-down camera that trip.

Perhaps you can imagine what it was like to arrive at a place so full of wonderful memories of AnnaLeah and Mary. Bittersweet. Heart-wrenching.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the Lake that evening and contemplated our next steps in getting the Roya, AnnaLeah and Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 introduced and passed as we tended a marvelous beach campfire.

The next morning, after sighting a rainbow on the Lake’s horizon, we set out for a local bagel shop to take advantage of their Wi-Fi. It was time to get down to business and compile a list of underride research which has been done over the years.

We had previously put together a list of underride recommendations and reports for the senator who intends to introduce the bill. Now we were responding to a request from her staff to add any additional underride research which we could find so that they could share it with Republican Offices in hopes of persuading them to jump on board with her in leading the way with this life-preserving legislation.

History of Underride Research & Reports: 1896 to 2017

In summary, this legislation is so vitally important because — all too often — it is not the collision of a car with a truck which is responsible for an ensuing tragedy but the lack of adequate underride protection. This results in a second collision where the truck collides with the passengers in the car and what is known as Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI) which occurs with truck underride.

The day before, we had updated Jerry and asked him to look for underride patents online. I knew of a couple in particular which we had already discovered in our unwelcome truck safety advocacy journey. What he then uncovered was beyond belief.

Jerry sent us a link to a U.S. patent for a side underride device invented in 1913. What?! That was before my 90 year-old father, who has been gone for six years, was born. Over a century ago!

But that’s not all! That patent from 1913 has been cited by 26 more recent patents — ones filed by engineers working on their own ideas for solving the problem of defective truck design which allows pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles, and passenger vehicles to ride under the side of commercial motor vehicles. Unbelievable!

As if that were not enough to cause outrage to well up, we made another discovery as we began work on updating the research list. Jerry had also sent a link to an 1896 patent for a side underride device for streetcars. Again, this patent has been cited by numerous other patents for underride protection.

In the end, we were able to compile an extensive list of underride research, reports, and recommendations on front, side, and rear underride which provides incriminating evidence of an apparent conspiracy of silence. The negligence on the part of the trucking industry and the federal government to take the initiative to do whatever is necessary in order to protect the citizens of this country from a known deadly defect is appalling.

They can no longer cling to an excuse of ignorance. They have had more than enough time to put their heads together and come up with viable solutions.

The blood of countless underride victims has been unnecessarily shed. Our precious daughters have paid the price.

Whereas it is clear that there have been many individuals who have put forth effort to solve the underride problem, the overall inaction, on the part of the industry and government, and their refusal to take responsibility for effective collaboration to find a solution has taken its toll on American families. When will this behind-closed-doors conspiracy of silence end? Very soon, I hope! In fact, we have seen significant progress in recent years — although too little and too late to save our daughters.

I know that tomorrow, as Lois and I visit the cemetery where AnnaLeah and Mary saw their grandpa buried less than two years before we buried them close by, l will weep bitter tears. I only hope that our combined efforts will be fruitful and turn the tide.

I have often shared a photo of AnnaLeah and Mary with their arms raised in joyous victory. Yesterday, l was able, for the first time, to visit the luge victors’ stand in Muskegon State Park’s winter sports complex where that photo was taken. It broke my heart to see it empty and know that they will never be able to stand there again.

I look forward to the day when I can share their victory photo once more with the world because a step will have been taken to end this travesty once and for all. Mary will get her wish to be famous somehow.

May it be so. To God be the glory for orchestrating this difficult and long-time-in-coming strategy to end preventable underride tragedies.

How you can help:


DOE pours millions into SuperTruck fuel savings research projects; $0 devoted to side underride protection?

How is it that the DOE and Volvo poured resources into research and development of SuperTrucks but did not bother to (as far as I can tell, though I am not done looking into this yet) include improved underride protection as a goal of this project?!

  1. http://www.truckinginfo.com/ channel/fuel-smarts/news/ story/2016/09/volvo-s- supertruck-exceeds-epa- freight-efficiency-goals.aspx
  2. I have not been able to get Wabash to return my communications. I am trying to find out if they did any crash testing with their full-length skirts or what material it is made out of: http://news. wabashnational.com/wabash- national-demonstrates- concepts-for-next-generation- aerodynamic-solutions-on- navistars-supertruck
  3. DOE’s Navistar : http://www.truckinginfo.com/ news/story/2016/09/navistar- supertruck-beats-doe- efficiency-goals-hits-13-mpg. aspx
  4. Aerodynamic improvements that reduce the trailer’s drag coefficient by more than 30%. The vehicle is part of the DOE’s SuperTruck program – a five-year research and development initiative aimed at improving freight efficiency, based in the measure of the payload carried while burning less fuel.

Its objective is to develop and demonstrate a 50% improvement in overall freight efficiency on a Class 8 tractor-trailer vehicle as measured in ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel.

Could they not have combined resources with DOT to accomplish such a thing?

Again, cost-savings over life-savings.

Can we use the potential fuel efficiency cost-savings of side guards advantageously to win the cost/benefit analysis battle?

Super Truck II is announced! Let’s get DOT to be involved with this project! $20,000 fuel savings/year could go to safety research!!!!!!!!!!!!

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was present for the unveiling of Volvo’s SuperTruck concept/demo rig in Washington, D.C. Here’s what he had to say about reaching the DOE’s next step in the fuel economy/freight efficiency project: SuperTruck II. http://www.truckinginfo. com/video/detail/2016/09/on- the-spot-reaching-for- supertruck-ii-video.aspx

More information on this SuperTruck project and random frustrated reactions:

$20 million in federal funding for the Super Truck II project and we can’t get diddly for side guard research?!?!?!!?!

http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fuel-smarts/news/story/2016/08/volvo-group-outlines-supertruck-ii-plans.aspx  Volvo Group has outlined how it plans to use $20 million in federal funding to further the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty trucks as part of the SuperTruck II initiative.

Volvo Group said its team of researchers and engineers will use alternative engine designs and an integrated system approach to build a lightweight tractor-trailer concept that will exceed the freight efficiency goal of 100% improvement on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis compared to a 2009 baseline. The team is also tasked with demonstrating powertrain capable of 55% brake thermal efficiency. Volvo Group and its partners will match the development funds dollar-for-dollar.

To achieve these goals, the company plans to leverage its experience in vehicle development along with established partnerships with advanced technology and trailer equipment vendors.

Those partners include Michelin Americas Research Company for tires, Wabash National for trailers, Metalso for lightweight frames, Johnson-Matthey for exhaust aftertreatment systems, and Peloton Technology for platooning and connected vehicle tech. . .

Daimler Trucks North America will develop and demonstrate a tractor-trailer combination using a suite of technologies including active aerodynamics, cylinder deactivation, hybridization, and the electrification of accessories. . .

For more information on the DOE’s alternative fuel technology investment, click herehttps://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/vehicle-technologies-office

Related: DOE Commits $137M to Advance Fuel-Efficient Tech  http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fuel-smarts/news/story/2016/08/doe-commits-137-million-to-advance-fuel-efficient-tech.aspx

Yet more disturbing information:

This gives links to multiple articles on the SuperTruck project: http://www.truckinginfo.com/list/tag/supertruck.aspx

Trailer aerodynamics have become increasingly important in recent years as truck operators see that they can save fuel money. They’re so important that the federal government is paying several teams of truck and trailer makers to design concept rigs that show what’s possible in this area of science.

As far back as the 1980s I’ve written about various types of trailer aero fairings, from Nose Cones to TrailerTails and many brands of skirts and other appendages in between.

Here’s one I don’t recall writing about, at least not lately: the UnderTray and other products from SmartTruck. The company has posted a YouTube video depicting a tractor-trailer moving through the air at highway speed, with streamlines showing how the devices smooth air flow over the vehicle. Check it out here

Also note the Diffuser, SmartTruck’s device mounted ahead of the rear underride guard that redirects air away from its vertical and horizontal members. These otherwise grab at the air and create drag. (Old timers still call this the “ICC bumper” because the old Interstate Commerce Commission required them, something I definitely don’t recall being a fact, but it’s part of trucking vocabulary.)

The trailer portion of Freightliner’s SuperTruck of course got large panels that improve air flow around corners, deep skirts to keep air away from the Strick van’s undercarriage and tandem, and a boat tail similar to a Trailer Tail, but home-made. One would expect all of those.

What?!?!?!?!?!?! All of this government money going into research & development for fuel savings but not a word or project related to underride protection/SAFETY?!

Side Underride Kills; Side Guards Save Lives: Support Underride Research

We are raising money to move side underride research and side guard development forward. Support side guard research projects, which will help get affordable and effective side guards on the market. Donate here.

This is what we want to support:

Project #1: Continuation of Aaron Kiefer‘s Side Underride Prevention Research
The tragic Tesla fatal crash on May 7, 2016, highlights a real and present highway danger — cars sliding underneath large trucks when vehicles collide. No matter what caused the Tesla crash, the driver might have lived if the truck had had side guards.

U.S. & Canadian safety advocates are calling for an end to preventable truck underride tragedies. Hundreds of people die every year when pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and passenger vehicles go underneath trucks.

It can happen to anyone — even if their car has a 5-Star Crash Rating. It can happen anywhere. It happened to AnnaLeah (17) & Mary Karth (13), when their car went under the rear of a semi-trailer on May 4, 2013, in Georgia. And it happened to Jessica Holman-Price (21) when she went under the side of a truck as a pedestrian on December 19, 2005, in Canada.

U.S. regulators have debated for decades about how to stop the tragedy of underride deaths – including, since 1969, the possibility of requiring underride protection to be added to the sides of large trucks. But they have not done so, even though engineers have already found ways to solve this problem.

The work that we have done has actually put us into contact with others working on the underride guards. One such person is Aaron Kiefer who is currently an accident research specialist in North Carolina. He has designed a guard that can be retro-fitted onto current truck guards to improve their strength and reduce underride. He has crash tested it successfully and now needs to do further research to refine the design to be ready for the industry.

This will include the following expenses: aluminum extrusions for the rear reinforcement attachments ($28,000) and an aluminum side guard slide to allow for truck driver functionality in pre-trip inspections of tires ($18,000); development of a prototype for a system at the trailer front, which will allow the side guard to flare up 20-30 degrees when the air brakes are turned off, and back down when the brakes are turned on ($23,000) – again to aid in pre-trip inspections and changing tires; and crash testing to validate and verify the effectiveness of the TrailerGuard System ($43,000). Total Costs for Side Guard Research & Development = $112,000 – a project and cost which is currently not being taken up by the trucking industry. When Aaron’s work is completed, the underride protection system would be ready for a manufacturer to produce and sell to the trucking industry.

Project #2:  Collegiate Side Underride Protection Design Competition A collision between the back of a commercial motor vehicle and a passenger vehicle too often results in underride in which the occupants of the smaller vehicle experience horrific injuries usually leading to tragic death. For too many decades, the question of under what circumstances this can be prevented has been left unanswered and the industry solutions have been mostly weak and ineffective.

While the crash testing conducted by the IIHS and our own efforts in recent years to change this have brought about some improvement in rear underride guards, the question has still not been definitively addressed. As Bill Graves, the former president of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said in a 2011 ABC article,

“’It doesn’t provide the kind of underguard protection that clearly is called for. . .’ Graves said, though, that the right barrier design is a ‘complicated puzzle to solve. . . That’s the question the federal government has been wrestling now for many years, is what’s the strength we want,’ he said. ‘What’s too much? And what’s not enough?’” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/road-warning-death-big-rig-guillotine/story?id=13026797 Lisa Stark, March 1, 2011 )

Because side underride has received less countermeasure effort, and is not currently being addressed by the trailer manufacturing industry itself, this project will also organize a collegiate design competition to challenge engineering students to design affordable and effective side underride protection for large trucks.

Collaborative, interdisciplinary research teams from various universities will identify the outer limits of effective side underride protection, i.e., ascertain the optimum levels of energy absorption and rigidity both to prevent underride and also to result in survivable (and without life-altering injuries) deceleration forces at the maximum speed possible (at various angles).

Two student teams (up to ten students on each team) will be selected by IIHS to receive funding from the grant for their project expenses (up to $15,000, as needed). The two teams will each meet with IIHS early in the process to define the single demonstration crash test that will be performed on the winning design.

The two teams will, also, be expected to provide four written reports (mid-Fall Semester, end of Fall Semester, mid-Spring Semester, and end of academic year) – including a report on their design’s capabilities using computer simulation. They will also be expected to make a final group presentation at an event scheduled at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia, at the end of the academic year.

One team’s project will be selected, by a group of 6 judges, for crash testing at this event. The Traffic Safety Ombudsman will oversee this project and recruit 5 judges in addition to the judge from the IIHS.

In addition, each team must include students and/or consult with professionals in relevant fields of study/research/expertise, including but not limited to mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, injury prevention, collision reconstruction, trailer manufacturing, marketing, and law (to do a law review of the cost/benefit analysis in underride rulemaking as well as manufacturer liability issues in this matter).

(See the excellent work done by a Virginia Tech Senior Design Team in the 2015/16 academic year: http://tinyurl.com/j9rl3kw )


The side guard research has the potential to save 1,534 lives in the next ten years. (Per the NHTSA Truck Underride Statistics Chart, 1994-2014:  http://annaleahmary.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Truck-Underride-Deaths-by-TYPE-1994-2014.pdf)

AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is eligible to receive contributions that may be tax deductible for the donor. Your donation will help fund research that will save lives!


Other ways to help: How You Can Help

The Crash Death Clock is ticking; America will soon reach 4 million crash deaths.

The Crash Death Clock is ticking; America will soon reach 4 million crash deaths.

What can you do to slow the highway carnage to a crawl?


CBA Victim Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

Support side guard crash testing to prevent deadly truck side underride: Donate at AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, 501(c)(3)

“‘He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy;
Then it was well.
Is not that what it means to know Me?’ declares the LORD.

“For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help,
The afflicted also, & him who has no helper.
He will have compassion on the poor & needy,
And the lives of the needy he will save.
He will rescue their life from oppression & violence;
And their blood will be precious in his sight.”
Jeremiah 22:16 and Psalm 72:12-14

Crash Test of Innovative Large Truck Side Guard Could Advance Side Underride Prevention

Crash reconstructionist/forensic engineer Aaron Kiefer continues to develop his ideas for an innovative side/rear underride guard to protect all vulnerable victims from deadly truck underride.

Aaron has identified new materials to make his design stronger, more effective at preventing underride, and user-friendly for the truck drivers. The only thing is that he is doing this work on his own time aside from his regular job of reconstructing crash scenes. He turned to us to ask if we could help him raise some money for his upcoming side guard crash test so that he can prove that his invention will save lives.

You can help Aaron purchase the necessary materials for his next crash test. Our current goal is to raise $3,000* by early next year.

Donate at the ALMFTS website here which our family set up for traffic safety research through our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety.

We received our IRS letter of approval in 2015 and are listed as a non-profit with Guidestar: http://www.guidestar.org/profile/47-4379503


* Crash Test Materials Include the Following:

  • $500 would buy the necessary polyester webbing  (12,000 lb/in), which gives Aaron’s invention unusual strength.
  • $500 more would buy the car to crash —  a Malibu
  • $500 more would buy the rear reinforcement aluminum plate and water jet cutting
  • $500 more would allow Aaron to purchase the aluminum extrusion for reinforcement/rear guard connector
  • $500 additional would pay for the FRP panel (2 x 190 ft rolls). Just today, Aaron had a sample of this plastic panel successfully sewn together with the polyester webbing — a good sign that this design, with these materials, could provide a strong innovative option for side underride protection on large trucks for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and passenger vehicles.
  • $3,000 TOTAL would allow Aaron to purchase the entire CRASH TEST SET: Panel/webbing/aluminum/assembly/labor (industrial sewing)

Please share this post so others can join in this vital effort to make affordable and effective side guards available to the trucking industry. Thank you!

How I came to be a presenter on underride research at the TRB 1st Int’l Roadside Safety Conference

How is it that I came to be a presenter at the Transportation Research Board’s First International Roadside Safety Conference, June 12-15, 2017, in San Francisco?

  1. Well, of course, first off I was in a horrific truck underride crash that took the lives of my two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) on May 4, 2013.
  2. IMG_4465Car Safety Wars
  3. Then, I learned that underride guards are terribly ineffective and all sorts of other unbelievable information about the state of safety on our roads.
  4. I also came in contact with many other people who are trying like me to improve underride protection in order to prevent other people from dying like my girls did.
  5. Then, my family and I gathered thousands of petition signatures calling for improvement and worked with other organizations to plan an Underride Roundtable on May 5, 2016, at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  6. So, then, in June 2016, after preparing an Underride Consensus document to present to DOT, I serendipitously found out about an upcoming roadside safety conference.
  7. I was copied (by mistake) on an email sent to some PhD students, reminding them of a deadline to submit an abstract to be considered for possible presentation at this conference.
  8. So, after checking with the email sender to see if underride was appropriate for this conference, I prepared an abstract and submitted it on June 28, 2016.
  9. I then got busy doing many other things including preparing a Comprehensive Underride Consensus Petition and forgot about the conference.
  10. Lo, and behold, I received another email on September 2, 2016,                                   Dear Marianne, Congratulations!The Planning Group for TRB’s First International Roadside Safety Conference appreciates your submission of the abstract entitled Promising Research for Improved Heavy Vehicle Underride Prevention Structures and Data to Demonstrate Boundaries of Occupant Survivability in Collisions Between Large Trucks and Passenger Vehicles. We are pleased to inform you that we have selected your abstract for Presentation and Publication.

     In order to proceed with the conference planning in a timely manner, the planning group asks that you upload your files no later than November 1, 2016.

  11. Well, I was amazed and not sure whether it made sense to proceed. It is not exactly the target audience to whom I would have imagined making a presentation. But if their focus is roadside safety, then I will take the opportunity to raise awareness about the underride problem and solutions.
  12. So, on November 1, 2016, I uploaded my revised abstract and underride research presentation paper.
  13. May the Lord bless this endeavor and work mightily to improve underride protection internationally.
  14. If He wills, San Francisco, here I come
  15. Best ProtectionRoads Safer

FedEx denies request for underride safety research donation of decommissioned 53′ trailer

The trucking industry needs to answer the same question which Senator Robert Kennedy posed to GM in 1965: “What was your profit in 2015? And how much money did you spend on safety research in 2015?”

GM’s answer was a safety expenditure figure that was below 1% of their total profit. Which, in my book, makes “safety” a meaningless word.

Yesterday, I received a reply from FedEx, after following their procedure for requesting a donation. Our non-profit, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, completed a FedEx charitable assistance application in which we asked them to donate a used, decommissioned 53′ trailer to be used for underride research.

Like in the research undertaken this spring by Aaron Kiefer to crash test his innovative side/rear underride guard protection system. Like the kind of safety measure which could have prevented Joshua Brown from being killed when his Tesla underrode the side of a trailer.

They denied our request. What was FedEx’s reason for denying our request? FedEx email denying safety research trailer donation request

Good day Marianne,

Thank you again for contacting FedEx Freight for charitable assistance. We applaud the work AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety is doing.

After careful review, unfortunately, we must decline your request for the donation of a 53′ trailer.

FedEx Freight works directly with manufacturers and national organizations to support road safety for both our team members and the motoring public.

We wish you success with future endeavors.



Iris Coetzee, Senior Communications Specialist

Bah humbug! I would like to know exactly how they work directly with manufacturers and national organizations to support road safety. Spell it out for me. Tell me exactly:

  • How much money they spend on safety.
  • and what percentage that amount is of their total profit.
  • and exactly what that money actually goes for.

I would like to know that information about the whole trucking industry which has opposed and resisted improved underride protection for decades resulting in countless dead people who didn’t have to die if only the trucking industry had acted in a timely and responsible way. And not just for 2015, but for every year since the underride problem was discovered.

I put together a chart for recording that kind of information juxtapositioned against some of the major life events which occurred for me during all of the years when — for the most part as far as I can see the trucking industry did practically nothing “to support road safety for both our team members and the motoring public” — at least in the area of underride prevention. And when they did, it was because we put pressure on their pocketbook.

I’d like to see some investigative reporter dig up this kind of information because I doubt that the industry would give it to me.