Tag Archives: Vision Zero

Side Underride Problem & Solutions Featured on The Today Show

Ronan Farrow investigated the side underride problem and here is his report on The Today Show, February 7, 2017:

Side Guards: New push to make safety devices on trucks mandatory

NBCNews story on side guards (2/7/17): Side Underride Crashes Kill 200 People a Year. Will Congress Act?

The federal government does not require side guards on large trucks. Trailer manufacturers do not install them on the trailers they produce. Here are 5 ways you can help to change that:

  1. Sign our Side Guard Petition here to let our government & trucking industry leaders know that you want them to act NOW to SAVE LIVES by putting side guards on large trucks.
  2. Write to the 8 major trailer manufacturers. Tell them that you want them to put side guards on the trailers which they make and sell to trucking companies. You can find their contact information here.
  3. Support side guard research projects, which will help get affordable and effective side guards on the market. Donate here.
  4. Contact your legislators here.
  5. Submit a Public Comment to DOT/NHTSA here. After you get to this site, click on the Comment Now button.

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Aaron Kiefer’s underride protection devices: ENHANCING TRUCK SAFETY ​ SAVING LIVES

What Will It Take To Convince US That Side Underride KILLS But Side Guards Save Lives?

February 13, 2017 Update: I just received a notification of a new posting to the Federal Register of a Public Comment from someone asking DOT/NHTSA to mandate side guards! I am assuming that someone responded to my request for people to do so to help bring about change. 🙂 See it here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NHTSA-2015-0118-0049 Actually, a second person also submitted a comment.

You can do it, too! SUBMIT a Public Comment to DOT/NHTSA here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NHTSA-2015-0118 After you get to this site, click on the COMMENT NOW button.

 

Unimaginable Grief of Preventable Crash Deaths: advocates tackling a public health problem head on.

Late last year, Neal Pollack interviewed me. He asked about our crash story and our family’s advocacy efforts. Then he proceeded to interview other traffic safety advocates as well. This is what he recently wrote:

The Unimaginable Grief of Distracted Driving Deaths How road safety advocates are tackling a public health problem head on.  BY NEAL POLLACK JANUARY 19, 2017

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Dwight Eisenhower: Inspirational Crusader for Traffic Safety; Would that he could speak to us today.

I was suitably impressed as I sat on my Amtrak train en route to Washington, D.C., last week and read the words which President Dwight Eisenhower wrote and spoke about traffic safety:

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Federal Role in Highway Safety Chapter 2: A Crusade for Safety

I knew that he was responsible for our improved interstate system, but I did not know that he was such a genuinely enthusiastic crusader for traffic safety. Here are a few excerpts among many:

Although President Eisenhower would not become fully engaged in a highway initiative until the Grand Plan speech in 1954, he acted on highway safety in July 1953 when he met in the Cabinet Room of the White House with 28 business leaders. He told the leaders that his goal was to save 17,000 lives and $1.25 billion a year by reducing accidents. According to an account in Transport Topics for August 3, 1953:

 

President Eisenhower told the group . . . he is tired of having three to four times as many persons killed a year on the highways as were killed in Korea. He said the history of efforts to save lives on the highway shows that when something is done on a coordinated basis the accident trend drops sharply.

The president said that something-a truce-had been done about saving lives in Korea and that there is good reason why something should be done about highway accidents. . .

On December 11, 1953, the President wrote to the Nation’s Governors to request their help:

Dear Governor:

The mounting toll of death and injury on our highways long ago reached a point of deep concern to all of us. It stands before America as a great challenge-humanitarian and economic-and must be met by urgent action.

I have examined the “Action Program for Highway Safety” which you and the other Governors have developed in cooperation with interested organizations and public officials having jurisdiction over highway safety. It is a sound and workable program, but effective citizen leadership is needed to help you put this great crusade into organized action on a scale far bigger than ever before.

Accordingly, I have called a Conference on Highway Safety for Washington next February seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth. The Conference will serve to focus more public attention on the problem and stimulate active leadership in every community. . .

After noting the privilege of addressing the [White House Conference on Highway Safety], he began:

The purpose of your meeting is one that is essentially local or community in character. But when any particular activity in the United States takes 38,000 American lives in one year, it becomes a national problem of the first importance. Consequently, this meeting was called, and you have accepted the invitation, in an understanding between us that it is not merely a local or community problem. It is a problem for all of us, from the highest echelon of Government to the lowest echelon: a problem for every citizen, no matter what his station or his duty.

I was struck by a statistic that seemed to me shocking. In the last 50 years, the automobile has killed more people in the United States than we have had fatalities in all our wars: on all the battlefields of all the wars of the United States since its founding 177 years ago
He acknowledged that this was a problem that “by its nature has no easy solution.” He did not intend to get into the technicalities of this “many-sided” problem. However, he felt that the key was public opinion. “In a democracy, public opinion is everything.” He explained:

If there were community groups established that could command the respect and the support of every single citizen of that city or that community, so that the traffic policeman, so that everyone else that has a responsibility in this regard, will know that public opinion is behind him. Because I have now arrived at the only point that I think it worthwhile to try to express to you, because in all the technicalities of this thing you know much more than I do.

If, he said, “we can mobilize a sufficient public opinion, this problem, like all of those to which free men fall heir can be solved.”

Hmmm. . . sounds sort of like a National Vision Zero Goal and a Nationwide Network of Community Traffic Safety Action Groups. . .

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On My Way to the Road to Zero Coalition Gathering in DC

I am encouraged by the opportunity to gather with like-minded individuals and organizations to collaborate in a quest for traveling a road toward fewer deaths and serious injuries from preventable vehicle violence.

Road to Zero New Partnership Aims to End Traffic Fatalities Within 30 Years

In memory of AnnaLeah & Mary.

Roads Safer

So, why aren’t we making a bigger dent in tragic crashes? America, we can do better than this!

Every time I hear about a new tragic crash or an ineffective attempt to strengthen safety rules and regulations, my own personal grief at the loss of my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), due to a preventable truck underride crash on May 4, 2013, wells up anew.

Take this for example:

Or the latest attempt by some legislators to get the government to do something about the problem of deadly seatback collapse: Lawmakers demand “immediate action” on unsafe car seats.

Unfortunately, I know all too well from experience that raising questions and demanding action are mostly a wasted effort and won’t bring about needed change in time to save countless lives from joining the rank of those gone too soon — when perhaps such tragedies could have been avoided.

In my opinion, we aren’t going to see much progress in many areas of traffic safety until we as a country take vehicle violence seriously. That is why I continue to call for for a more effective and united strategy:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal — make traffic safety a priority; Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of preventable death.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force — it is a multifaceted problem, not just a transportation issue.
  3. Adopt Vision Zero Rulemaking.
  4. Appoint an independent National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to serve as a vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence.
  5. Mobilize citizens to be part of the solution through a nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety community action groups.

Wake up, America! The Crash Death Clock is ticking away. . .

Mobilize citizens to be part of the solution in the Road to Zero crash deaths.

Roads Safer

Pres. Obama, sign this Exec. Order–while you still can–to protect people from violent vehicle deaths!

Dear President Obama,

A Canadian mom came to visit me at my home in North Carolina last weekend. We connected quickly on many levels because we have both lost daughters in truck underride tragedies. Tragedies which could have been prevented if Vision Zero Rulemaking had been in place before their deaths to pave the way for life-saving measures to be mandated. . .

You cannot bring Jessica, Mary, and AnnaLeah back to us. But you can prevent other families from suffering similar heart-wrenching, horrific, and unnecessary grief. You can do this by taking action on the Vision Zero strategy which we spelled out for you at great length. In fact, over 20,000 people have joined with us to ask for Vision Zero action:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  3. Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order to authorize Vision Zero Rulemaking by DOT. Unless this is done, people will continue to die needlessly because technologically-feasible life-saving measures will be blocked or delayed because the current rulemaking process will deem them unworthy (too costly) to save!
  4. Establish a National Office of Traffic Safety Ombudsman to oversee this strategy as an independent and influential voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence.

My meeting with Jeannette Holman-Price on Saturday reminded me of what I have already painfully learned about one specific but simple example of the impact of the GM Nod where no one takes responsibility for doing anything about this tragic loss of life.

  1. Truck underride is the deadly result of a geometric mis-match between a smaller passenger vehicle and a larger commercial vehicle (truck).
  2. There are effective solutions to prevent this problem but the industry does not use them because the government does not require them and the government will not require them until there are proven products available to the industry to use but the industry does not put the money out to research, design, and manufacture these products [which engineers have shown will work] [and why should they if they are not legally required to do so?] and the people like Jeannette & I (who have lost loved ones) and Aaron Kiefer and Perry Ponder and Bruce Enz (engineers who have invented solutions) do not readily have the money to get these life-saving products on the market.
  3. As one person said in a conference call which Jeannette and I recently joined in to discuss underride solutions, many of the Single Unit Trucks — which are currently exempt from federal underride standards — actually have a “guard-looking thing” hanging down from the back of their truck. So it is perfectly logical to assume that they could easily have a genuine, more-effective underride guard installed instead. And why don’t they? Because they are not required to! As another person on that phone call said, “It is lazy and criminal!”

President Obama, I do not want more heartfelt condolences from you. I want you to do what no one else can: Sign the Vision Zero Executive Order and appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman!

Be my hero.

Respectfully and boldly and desperately,

Marianne Karth

p.s. Unfortunately, unless you act, the needless sabotage and/or delay of countless life-saving measures will continue to go on and on — as it has for so many years — and more innocent blood will be spilled on our roads. Who will be held accountable? And who will pay the price?

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Cross-Border Collaboration: A Canadian Mom & A U.S. Mom Meet Up To Talk Traffic/Truck Safety

I am looking forward to meeting another mom-who-knows-the-grief-of-truck-underride. Jeannette Holman-Price has been traveling this week in the U.S. to advocate for safer trucks. Our home in North Carolina is her last stop and tomorrow is the day.

We are anticipating non-stop talking and expect that we can accomplish some powerful planning to multiply our advocacy efforts through cross-border collaboration in the days ahead. Watch out, world! We’re on the “warpath” to defeat preventable vehicle violence.

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Breaking News: Road to Zero Coalition announced by DOT & National Safety Council

I am encouraged by the announcement today of a Road to Zero Coalition by DOT and the National Safety Council. See the details in the Press Release below.

I hope that they will seriously consider my Vision Zero requests for Vision Zero rulemaking, as well as citizen involvement and the appointment of a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman.

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal and make citizens aware of it.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  3. Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order to authorize Vision Zero Rulemaking by DOT (and other agencies).
  4. Establish an Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman as an independent advocate/spokesperson for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence — not swayed by political pressures.
  5. Endorse the mobilization of citizens through a nationwide network of Vision Zero Community Action Groups — coordinated by the National Traffic Safety Ombudsman.

And, another thing. . .  it sure would be nice to sit down in person with these people and speak face to face. How many victims of vehicle violence have they involved in this coalition?

Feds set goal: No traffic deaths within 30 years

Livestreaming day-long conference:  http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/symposiums/october2016/index.html

Roads Safer

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

NHTSA contact:  Bryan Thomas (202) 366-9550
FHWA contact:   Jane Mellow (202) 366- 0660

FMCSA contact:  Ed Gilman (202) 366 – 9999

NSC contact:  Maureen Vogel (630) 775-2226

U.S. DOT, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL LAUNCH ROAD TO ZERO COALITION TO END ROADWAY FATALITIES

New partnership aims to end traffic fatalities within the next 30 years

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are joining forces with the National Safety Council (NSC) to launch the Road to Zero coalition with the goal of ending fatalities on the nation’s roads within the next 30 years. The Department of Transportation has committed $1 million a year for the next three years to provide grants to organizations working on lifesaving programs.

“Our vision is simple – zero fatalities on our roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We know that setting the bar for safety to the highest possible standard requires commitment from everyone to think differently about safety– from drivers to industry, safety organizations and government at all levels.”

The year 2015 marked the largest increase in traffic deaths since 1966 and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 show an alarming uptick in fatalities – an increase of about 10.4 percent as compared to the number of fatalities in the first half of 2015. 

“Every single death on our roadways is a tragedy,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “We can prevent them. Our drive toward zero deaths is more than just a worthy goal.  It is the only acceptable goal.”

The Road to Zero Coalition will initially focus on promoting proven lifesaving strategies, such as improving seat belt use, installing rumble strips, truck safety, behavior change campaigns and data-driven enforcement. Additionally, the coalition will then lead the development of a new scenario-based vision on how to achieve zero traffic deaths based on evidence-based strategies and a systematic approach to eliminating risks. 

“The “4Es” – Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services provide a reliable roadmap for driving down fatalities. Coupled with new technologies and innovative approaches to mobility, we may now hold the keys that get us to zero,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The Road to Zero Coalition affirms that it will take ALL of us working together in new ways to eliminate preventable deaths.”

“Reaching zero deaths will be difficult, will take time and will require significant effort from all of us but it is the only acceptable vision,” said FHWA Deputy Administrator David Kim. “We’re not at zero yet, but by working together, the day will come when there are no fatalities on the nation’s roadways, sidewalks or bicycle paths.”

With the rapid introduction of automated vehicles and advanced technologies, the Department believes it is now increasingly likely that the vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries can be achieved in the next 30 years. The Road to Zero Coalition will work to accelerate the achievement of that vision through concurrent efforts that focus on overall system design, addressing infrastructure design, vehicle technology, enforcement and behavior safety.  An important principle of the effort will be to find ways to ensure that inevitable human mistakes do not result in fatalities.

“Working closely with our partners, both inside and outside the Department, we are committing significant resources to the serious effort being put forth to make the ambitious goal of zero deaths an eventual reality,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling III. “While we work tirelessly every day to promote safer roadways, we understand that this coalition will only succeed if we all do our part and pledge to make safety our highest priority.”

The “zero deaths” idea was first adopted in Sweden in 1997 as “Vision Zero” and since then has evolved across the country and across the world. A growing number of state and cities have adopted “Zero” fatality visions.

“The Country’s In the Very Best of Hands”

I have been discouraged lately about the state of affairs in our country related to vehicle violence and more specifically, for a variety of reasons, have been missing AnnaLeah and Mary more than usual. So, when I read the recent email from Lou Lombardo (whom I was privileged to visit with during the Ralph Nader Conference), I was wondering who listens to our Vision Zero message anyway.

But then I clicked on the link at the end and read the words of a song which made me smile, The Country’s In the Very Best of Hands! (L’il Abner). It reminded me of The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band — a Disney movie which Mary and AnnaLeah enjoyed watching:

The Bower Family Band petitions the Democratic National Committee to sing a Grover Cleveland rally song at the 1888 convention, but decide instead to move to the Dakota territory on the urging of a suitor to their eldest daughter. There, Grampa Bower causes trouble with his pro-Cleveland ideas, as Dakota residents are overwhelmingly Republican, and hope to get the territory admitted as two states (North and South Dakota) rather than one in order to send four Republican senators to Washington. Cleveland opposed this plan, refusing to refer to Congress the plan to organize the Dakotas this way. When Cleveland wins the popular vote, but Harrison the presidency due to the electoral college votes, the Dakotans (particularly the feuding young couple) resolve to live together in peace, and Cleveland grants statehood to the two Dakotas before he leaves office (along with two Democrat-voting states, evening the gains for both parties).

Maybe, despite the dismal outlook of highway safety and this election year, there is hope. Perhaps all of our efforts will truly make a difference in this life for someone. And, someday, there will be no more dying, no more tears, no more vulnerable victims — only everlasting joy.

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(Photos: Courtesy of The Karths/Double K Photography)

Dear Care For Crash Victims Community Members:

The Problem

Nader has said:  “This country has far more problems than it deserves and far more solutions than it applies.”

 The U.S.A. continues to face vehicle violence problems resulting in:

 *  100 deaths per day – and rising

*  400 serious injuries per day

*  Losses valued by DOT at about $2 Billion per day

The U.S. has more safety technology available than ever before in history.

 And yet the Obama Administration has failed for nearly 8 years – and nearly 250,000 deaths due to vehicle violence – to set a national Vision Zero Goal.  For example, Volvo has set such a goal for zero deaths in or by a new Volvo by the year 2020.   Why?

Where is the hope and change for the better, that President Obama promised us?

 

Happy People
 

My recent article on the DOT NHTSA Revolving Door brought me the attached photo of DOT NHTSA and Auto Company Executives.  Lots of smiles as the Obama Administration comes to a close.

Some in the media have noted the Revolving Door and coziness of regulators and the “regulated”.  See http://www.fairwarning.org/2016/06/self-driving-cars/

But not enough people know about the specific problems of vehicle violence and how government has failed to protect them.

Unhappy People

What percentage of the American people think that they can trust their government to do the right thing?

The Pew Poll reports:

The public’s trust in the federal government continues to be at historically low levels. Only 19% of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (16%).  See  http://www.people-press.org/2015/11/23/1-trust-in-government-1958-2015/

Reminds me of the lyrics “The country’s in the very best of hands”  See http://www.allmusicals.com/lyrics/lilabner/thecountrysintheverybestofhands.htm
Lou Lombardo

 

Life & DeathTSO Petition black

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Crash Deaths: The “Song” That Never Ends; Can we change that?

Did you ever sing “The Song That Never Ends”, or some variation thereof? That’s what the unending report of crash deaths on our roads seems like.

Work Zone crashes often involve multiple factors, including the actions of the drivers on the road. Hear this heartfelt plea from the widow of a highway construction worker that we all be a part of the solution:

Amy Fletcher, 7 hrs
Another Horrible crash on the Ohio Turnpike today. Something we’re all getting way to used to hearing about and, for some of us, re-living the terrifyingly devastating day of our loved one’s death. Fatal crash in construction zone on the Ohio Turnpike.

WHY should YOU care?…. “accidents” happen all the time, right? . . .

READ MORE HERE:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/494507530713925/permalink/685054441659232/

Do we have to just accept this situation as inevitable? I happen to think that we could make a big dent in it if we would set a national goal of Vision Zero Preventable Crash Deaths & Serious Injuries. I have lots of ideas on how we could work toward that — together — all of us. And I think that we need to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to help us accomplish it.

Unfortunately, the political climate does not favor that solution. President Obama doesn’t even seem to think that our 35,200 vehicle violence deaths in 2015 (compared to 32,514 deaths from gun violence in 2015) warrant any special attention.

And, also unfortunately, I’m thinking that some people think that we are already addressing the problem through the work of DOT. Yet their hands are too-often tied politically. Working collaboratively with them is a bit of a challenge when they can’t usually have open discussions because they can’t show even a hint of favoritism. And cost/benefit analysis restrictions have a stranglehold on any attempts to do something as radical as save lives.

It is insane that four decades have gone by without a comprehensive solution being implemented to protect us against Death by Underride. We who have gone to the moon and can have face time with someone on the other side of the globe. And that deadly problem is one example among thousands of safety issues that still need to be tackled.

Sign our Petition calling for a Traffic Safety Ombudsman (an advocate for past & future crash victims): http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

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