Tag Archives: Vision Zero

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/

Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition calls for a Visible, Vigilant Voice for Vulnerable Road Users (Us)

Why on earth am I asking for another government-funded worker — a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman? And whatever would that person do anyway?

It would be a lot easier for you to understand if you were in my shoes. But I don’t want you to be in my shoes — continuing to grapple with the grief of losing a loved one in a preventable traffic crash. So I will try to describe, as briefly and clearly as I can, what I have in mind with this Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition.

Basically, in the aftermath of losing two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), due to a truck underride crash on May 4, 2013, we have discovered that millions have died in traffic crashes since the first one in 1898, that there are many reasons for that, and that trying to do something about those reasons is very difficult, time-consuming, and resisted. Meanwhile, while solutions are being delayed, people continue to die — often needlessly, because something could have been done to prevent their death, but was not.

There is often a political tug-of-war over these issues. An Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman (TSO) would be established to function outside of the political realm — untainted by the pressures of powerful lobbyists. Instead, the TSO would work with the existing government agencies, industry representatives, researchers, and safety advocates —  listening to traffic safety concerns and speaking forth on behalf of matters of importance to traffic safety.

Currently, Traffic Safety is not even listed on whitehouse.gov as an Issue.  This has got to change. It needs to become a national priority and we need an Advocate to listen to traffic safety concerns which are raised (in fact, actively seeking to make sure that they come to the surface) and then identify solutions and inform those who can do something about them.

Now I can do many things as an individual to raise national awareness about traffic safety issues. But my ability to motivate and facilitate change is way too limited. I don’t truly have the ear of leaders essential to the process. In fact, although my family and I have taken two petitions to Washington — with the agreement of thousands of people, they can too easily brush me away like a pesky fly. We need someone with the authority to demand an audience with the powers that be.

I have not heard one word from Washington, D.C., about our 20,000 Vision Zero Petition signatures. That’s a problem. Either they think they are already doing what that Petition requests (with which I would disagree) OR they don’t think that it is important enough to do anything about. That is something which we should all rise up about.

In fact, how I envision it is that the Traffic Safety Ombudsman would be the person to implement the requests of the Vision Zero Petition. Small businesses have a National Ombudsman. Why not do the same for the victims of tragic, preventable traffic crashes?

What are we waiting for?! This would be the perfect complement to our Vision Zero Petition requests for a National Vision Zero Goal, a White House Vision Zero Task Force, and a Vision Zero Executive Order. In fact, the Traffic Safety Ombuds(man) (Advocate) would fit in extremely well with this plan and, now that I think about it, is actually probably the missing piece of the puzzle for making Vision Zero a viable goal:

  1. The Traffic Safety Ombuds would develop, refine, and monitor the pursuit of a National Vision Zero Goal.
  2. The Traffic Safety Ombuds would oversee the White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  3. The Traffic Safety Ombuds would be the watchdog to make sure that the Vision Zero Executive Order and Vision Zero rulemaking were carried out appropriately on behalf of travelers on the road.

Makes sense to me. Because, really, who would be given the responsibility and authority to oversee these things otherwise?!

When I was reading my Bible this morning, I read a verse about Jesus ascending to sit at the right hand of the Father. What is He doing there? Advocating on our behalf, interceding for us, speaking to His Father and ours about our needs. Hmmmm, kind of like I would expect a Traffic Safety Ombudsman would do — only not in heavenly places (or not only) but getting the ear of those who can move heaven & earth to make our roads safer!

I don’t think that you need to worry about this costing the taxpayers a lot of money or creating an enormous new agency.  Look at what our family has already done voluntarily and with the help of other concerned parties with our petitions and the Underride Roundtable, which we helped to organize, and the Tired Trucker Roundtable, which I have proposed. We have pulled together in communication and actual sit-down-together meetings diverse groups, such as government regulators, law enforcement, trucking industry, safety advocates, researchers, media, and victims. Organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Truck Safety Coalition (with their non-governmental funds), along with citizen contributions, have helped to finance such events — without emptying the pockets of taxpayers.

The Traffic Safety Ombudsman would not be replacing the safety functions of the government or watchdog efforts of safety advocacy organizations. Rather, the TSO would be working with them and getting them to work together — with the goal of SAVING LIVES as their primary and, in fact, sole responsibility. And there would still be the need to raise national awareness and involve citizens in advocacy efforts through social media and my recommended national network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety Community Action Groups.

With a relatively-small budget for travel, office rental, equipment & supplies, and salary & benefits, even a one-person Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman — with endless possibilities for internships — could accomplish a lot.  A lot more than I would be able to do here in my home in Rocky Mount, North Carolina — a retired home school mom, truck crash survivor, and broken-hearted mother.

Note: And I am not the only one who thinks so! Among others. . .

  • Bill Bronrott, Media, government & public affairs for healthy, safe & sustainable communities. Past US DOT Appointee, Maryland State Legislator, Congressional Press Secretary, sent out a Tweet last night about the petition:

  • Roger Lanctot, Associate Director in the Global Automotive Practice at Strategy AnalyticsDriverless Policy Making, “I was reading an impassioned letter to the President by Marianne Karth on the issue this morning – impassioned because Karth lost two daughters to a motor vehicle accident involving a truck lacking under-ride protection. . .Karth binds her thoughts into a five-point appeal: ‘Would you (President Obama), in fact, make Traffic Safety a national priority–placing it on the list of important issues listed on whitehouse.gov and then do something about it, e.g., Appoint a Traffic Safety Ombudsman who would oversee all of this and be an  Advocate for vulnerable road users (which includes us all) —untainted by political pressures?'”
  • Lou Lombardo, Care for Crash Victims, Let’s help the Karth family: Only when enough of us do our part will we be able to end vehicle violence. Write about her story of struggle.  See and encourage others to sign her petition to do simple doable actions by the President at: http://annaleahmary.com/2016/07/victims-of-underride-collision-demand-vision-zero-and-an-independent-traffic-safety-ombudsman/ 
  • Lloyd Alter, treehugger.com, ” Marianne Karth is right- there has to be someone looking out for victims, there has to be more balance.”
  • Well that just goes to show you: A U.S. Traffic Safety Ombudsman is definitely needed!
  • Neil Arason,  Author of ‘No Accident’, and believer in vision zero and the need to re-think everything about our roads, told me this after signing the petition, “I have signed the petition, and have just Tweeted about it. Having  a traffic safety ombudsman is such a great idea!

16xm0s 16xm2y What are we waiting forTraffic Safety Ombudsman Petition

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

End Crash Fatalities

Too many shattered worlds. Too many broken hearts.