Tag Archives: Vision Zero

“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.

mary-at-john-ball-zoo-garden annaleah-knitting-at-cottage

(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

image2 (1)

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/

Violence

How can this country continue to turn a cold shoulder to preventable crash deaths?

How can this country continue to turn a cold shoulder to preventable crash deaths? It is so easy to point the finger of blame and not participate in solving the problem ourselves. And it is equally easy to act like it is just a risk that travelers take — and there is nothing that can be done about the problem!

This is a recent comment from a reader (which I did NOT approve to be published on our website) on a post which I wrote related to the Tesla side underride fatal crash:

“This Proves that the Autonomous vehicles are not ready for use. Only an Imbecile would have made millions of truck owners spend thousands to millions because a few Idiots refuse to be Attentive drivers . The time for the Autonomous car is not here ,and the Whole idea needs to be SCRAPED”

And here is another:

“Here’s a novel idea. Require drivers of cars to PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD! Ban self driving cars or anything else. The autopilot system failed. It did not recognize the white side of the trailer. It failed to distinguish between the trailer and the sky. Stop trying to put extra burden on the trucking industry. Learn to actually drive. Take a defensive driving course . Don’t rely solely on technology . Relearn to use your brain.”

Either orCar Safety Wars

How can my daughters be gone. . . how did it come to this, that innocent lives would be required to pay the price for this travesty?

CBA Victim

Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

I am thankful that there are many who are working on the problem of preventable crash deaths and I pray that we can make tangible progress — despite the evidence that opposition continues.

Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition: End Preventable Crash Fatalities: Appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman

When Will We Tackle Underride? – The Hidden Dangers in Trucks

Is it ethical to not use safety technology which could save human lives?

Petitions & Collaborative Efforts Are Making Progress In Ending Preventable Crash Deaths

I am thankful for the progress which has been made in traffic safety and underride protection. And I am asking you all to hang in there with us and keep pushing for more.

Please sign and share these two petitions:

  1. Just launched this petition directed to NHTSA calling on them to mandate side guards on trucks; they have been talking about it since 1969. Technology is available. Let’s get at it! Mandate Side Guards On Large Trucks To End Deadly Side Underride Crashes  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/104/026/213/mandate-side-guards-on-large-trucks-to-end-deadly-side-underride-crashes/
  2. Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition: We propose that the United States establish an independent Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to be an advocate to eliminate preventable crash deaths and serious injuries.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

Roads Safer

Reports on Past Petitions:

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

Together, we are indeed making the roads safer — one step at a time. Thank you.

New Care2 Petition to End Preventable Crash Deaths: Appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman

After one more awful truck crash tragedy last weekend, I decided to launch a new petition on Care2 where we had our previous petitions.

This happened on Sunday in Nebraska: Young family killed in I-80 crash was headed to Colorado for missionary training

Oh, and here is another deadly truck underride crash which just happened yesterday in Michigan! Car lodged under semi trailer in crash; 1 dead

Please sign, share & promote this needed action. Stand up with us & help us work to bring about effective strategies to address this problem which touches us all.

End Preventable Crash Fatalities: Appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman

Care2 Petition: http://tinyurl.com/hep29wg

Tragic deaths17hou5

 

Cool idea from #VisionZero Canada! If only the U.S. would adopt such a vision. Just sayin’. . .

Cool idea from Canada. Wouldn’t it be cool if the U.S. had such a vision!

Political Record on Vehicle Violence; #RepublicanConvention Theme: Make America Safe Again. Really?

Lou Lombardo can hardly believe the theme of the Republican Convention, Make America Safe Again, when he looks at the nation’s political record on Vehicle Violence. See his thoughts on this travesty:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

2016 Republican Convention
 
Today’s theme at the Republican Convention is “Make America Safe Again”.   Really?

Political Record on Vehicle Violence
 
Republican policies on vehicle safety have been tragic on a massive scale for nearly a century.  Hoover, Coolidge, Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2 carried out corporate policies.  See  http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/MonthlyReportforJanuary2016-Corrected.pdf

Democrats LBJ and Carter made the major historical positive contributions to reduce vehicle violence. 

However, President Obama has been a major vehicle safety disappointment.  See http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-NHTSAsResponsibilitiesForDeaths.php

The Need For a Safe America Is Real and Urgent

Today our clear and present danger of vehicle violence amounts to:

4 Million vehicle deaths in America – nearly 100 per day in the U.S.A. today

1 Billion vehicle injuries in America – nearly 400 serious injuries on an average day

$X Trillions Losses – about $2 billion per day

 

As we in the U.S. approach our 4 millionth death from vehicle violence, we must remember that we still have no goal to end vehicle violence.

There is a Vision Zero Goal that America still does not have – but others do.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_Zero

As my 7 year old grandson taught me “With great power comes great responsibility.”  (He learned it from Spiderman.)

Today we have an America where “With great power comes great immunity.”  Immunity is enjoyed by both government and industry executives regardless of how many people die, are disabled, and bankrupted by vehicle violence.
 

So why does the President of the U.S.A. not adopt a Vision Zero Goal? 

President Obama:  Meet Marianne Karth.  She has gathered 20,000 signatures on a petition to you to adopt a national Vision Zero Goal.  “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Proverbs.  See http://annaleahmary.com/ 

Lou

Violence

Can you hear me @POTUS? Appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman: What are we waiting for? #VisionZero

Can you hear me, President Obama, up there in the White House? Appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman: What are we waiting for?

August 3 Update: The link in those Tweets is to an expired petition on the White House site. Please sign our new petition at Care2: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

This is my plea (loaded with links, and even a typo!) in a nutshell:

What are we waiting for

Traffic Safety Ombudsman Message: Hoping the White House Can Hear My Plea! @POTUS #VisionZero

August 3 UPDATE: The petition on the White House site is expired. Please sign our new Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition at Care2;  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

Getting the message out loud & clear with multiple Tweets (loaded with links) to

End Preventable Crash Fatalities: Appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman!

What are we waiting for

Death by Motor Vehicle. Shattered World. Broken Hearts. Preventable. When will compromise end?

I was struggling yesterday with the sense that I am not adequately getting across the need for a Traffic Safety Ombudsman to facilitate a strategy to move our country more quickly toward zero crash deaths and serious injuries. And unless we embrace such a vision, too many lives will be lost when their deaths might have been prevented.

Why am I so convinced that we need a Traffic Safety Ombudsman? Because of the lives which I see shattered every day by preventable crash fatalities. And the 3.5 million traffic fatalities since the first one in 1898.

People like Mary and AnnaLeah. People like two of my facebook friends who lost loved ones (or have family members with life-altering injuries) due to truck crashes and were struggling yesterday with their frustration and anger and ongoing grief.

See the posts by these two families who shared their heartbreak, frustration, & anger about the devastation caused in their lives by preventable crashes:

https://www.facebook.com/vickie.w.johnson/posts/10204978833429271

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=639363682880602&id=100004209287945

How many broken hearts does that represent? How many more are yet to come?

And what do we get from those who could do something to stem the tide of Death by Motor Vehicle? Resistance. Opposition. And too often it leads to Compromise–settling for solutions that are ineffective and too often delayed. Basically, saving people from preventable crash deaths is not a national priority. And someday, it might impact you.

Take for example truck underride protection/prevention. The trucking industry has long resisted doing anything voluntarily above and beyond any shabby, inadequate regulations which might be imposed upon them. In fact, their opposition is quite probably the reason those regulations are so weak.

And they continue to resist an all-out, comprehensive technologically-possible solution to prevent DEATH BY UNDERRIDE. What is their biggest reason? Cost, of course. When the importance of crash testing a manufacturer’s underride guard with an actual crash test to prove its effectiveness is brought up, a concern is raised about whether small manufacturing companies can afford to do that kind of testing.

Well, I certainly know that crash testing is expensive and we have not been able to raise enough money through our non-profit, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, to support underride research crash testing. And in our efforts to find money for such an endeavor, I don’t see it as being made much of a priority. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how we have seen some of the trailer manufacturers step up to the plate after receiving our letters asking for voluntary improvement. But is it really enough?

As far as I am concerned, if crash testing is what it takes to ensure that their product is safe enough to protect my family and they can’t afford it, well then, I’m sorry, but I would prefer that they shut down than endanger the people whom I love (and countless others as well)!

Now, I am not convinced that a solution couldn’t be worked out to help those smaller companies get their crash testing done. In fact, it was mentioned at our follow-up underride meeting on June 24 that larger companies could perhaps do some testing for smaller companies. Well, will they? Is there enough of a cooperative spirit to prove to me that Safety is not just a buzz word–that there is some actual concern about saving lives whatever it takes?

I’d like to put a challenge to the trucking industry which Senator Bobby Kennedy put to the automotive industry back in July 1965 — 50 years ago. I read about it in Michael Lemov’s informative book, Car Safety Wars. [By the way, I just have to say how cool it is to be able to Google the quote which I am looking for and be able to include it as a link to take you right to that quote in that very book. So, go look at it! And here is a link to a report on the hearing itself!]

Kennedy: What was the profit of General Motors last year?
Roche [President of GM]: I don’t think that has anything to do. . .
Kennedy: I would like to have that answer if I may.
Donner [Chairman of GM]: The one aspect we are talking about is safety.
Kennedy: What was the profit of General Motors last year?
Donner: I’ll have to ask one of my associates.
Kennedy: Could you please?
Roche: (Pause)–$1,700,000,000 ($1.7 billion).
Kennedy: What. . .?
Donner: About a billion and a half.
Kennedy: About a billion and a half?
Donner: Yes.
Kennedy: And you spent about one million dollars on this [safety research]?
Donner: In this particular facet we are talking about. . .
Kennedy: If you gave just one percent of your profits [to safety research] that is $170 million.

This rare challenge to the car manufacturers was reported by the press. General Motors promptly released a “corrected” statement saying that it had actually spent $193 million on “safety programs.” The figure was immediately challenged, since it appeared to include many activities that were unrelated to automobile safety. But, even if true, the figure was a small percentage of GM’s $1.7 billion annual net profit. Car Safety Wars, Michael Lemov, Google Books

So my question is to the trailer manufacturing industry specifically (and the trucking industry in general): What was your profit last year?

Second question: How much did you spend on safety research? And, more specifically, how much did you spend on underride research?

I’d really like to know the answers — not just for 2015 but for many years before as well. Because I’m not willing to compromise. There are too many shattered families, broken hearts, and lives ended far too soon.

End Crash FatalitiesA truck crash shattered our world

SIGN  & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/