Aaron Kiefer:I like it, but it’s all a matter of resources and priorities. Volvo has a crash recon team that analyzes all accidents involving Volvos within a radius of Gothenburg…
AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety:So, what would be the most effective use of resources to reduce deadly crashes? So, Volvo has their own team? What would it look like if every Vehicle Manufacturer put some of their profit into safety in the form of a Crash Reconstruction Team of crashes involving their vehicles? That is the sort of thing which I called for in our Vision Zero Petition Book.
AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety: Here is a quote from that book: “The current means of regulating the manufacture of underride guards requires the trailer manufacturer to design its underride guards to meet certain specifications. Once the manufacturer has met those requirements, then, currently, it cannot normally be held liable for any failure of the guard to withstand a crash–along with any resultant property damages, injuries, or death.
We would like to propose a change in the approach to regulating truck underride guards. We are requesting/recommending that the manufacturer be required to design and crash test a guard which would withstand a crash at any speed up to 50 mph and at any point along the back of the trailer.
Furthermore, we are requesting that, when a real-life underride crash does occur with one of their trucks, the manufacturer be held financially responsible for the cost of a thorough crash reconstruction, which would identify—at minimum—the speed which was traveled and whether the guard gave way with the impact of the crash.
With this new approach to regulating underride guards, the manufacturer would thereby be accountable for any failure of the guard to withstand a crash and thus be held responsible for ensuring a very important public outcome: prevention of horrific injuries and deaths due to underride crashes.
Eight EU transport ministers have called on the European Commission to ‘speed up’ plans to upgrade vehicle safety standards saying road safety should be ‘top priority’.
In a letter to the European Commissioner for industry Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the transport ministers of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands said ‘ambitious’ new vehicle safety standards are needed ‘to help Member States halve the number of road deaths by 2020’. . .
The refusal of the federal government (White House and legislators) to respond to my requests for Vision Zero Rulemaking is negligent and indicative of a less-than-wholehearted commitment to a Vision of Moving Toward Zero Crash Deaths and Serious Injuries.
It’s a simple conclusion to arrive at: the lack of Vision Zero Rulemaking is responsible for the blocking and delay of many safety measures. If those safety measures had been implemented in a timely and compassionate fashion, countless lives would have been saved.
Would the current freeze on federal rulemaking mean that there could be no action taken to initiate side underride protection [side guards] rulemaking? It is my understanding that rulemaking related to health and safety is allowable. And, in fact, side guards have already been included in multiple communications related to current rulemaking on underride guards for commercial motor vehicles:
The underride rulemaking on rear guards on trailers is still open, not completed. They have previously told me that, even though the official Public Comment is closed, they will take into consideration other comments which they receive after that period.
It fits under President Trump’s category of not-new rulemaking.
NHTSA, as far as I know, can re-write the current rulemaking — based upon feedback which they receive — to produce a Final Rule.
I don’t know if additional comments submitted at this time would get posted to the Federal Register online, but it is my understanding that NHTSA would receive them.
Besides which, this conversation was well underway as far back as 1969, and the victims of side underride crashes — past, present, and future — deserve to have this issue addressed here and now. To do otherwise would be negligent and unconscionable.
Oh, wait! What does that say about what we have already allowed to happen?
The Road to Zero Coalition Steering Committee organized the meeting on December 15 for 130 participants to spend an hour in groups of 4 and then 16 to identify Actions to Reduce Traffic Fatalities.
The participants were first divided into six groups based on these key areas/categories:
Safer vulnerable users
Enhanced emergency medical services
Then, each person was asked to come up with at least one action to reduce traffic fatalities and the following questions:
Will it work? What could go wrong? How certain are we?
What does it enable? What does it prevent or closeout?
What is the potential impact? How certain are we about this?
How will it affect the other 5 categories other groups are discussing?
These instructions were sent to us ahead of time, so I had spent some time as I traveled on Amtrak the day before to come up with these proposed actions–not knowing for sure in which group I would end up:
Organize and facilitate a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero community action/advocacy groups. (Develop a pilot project for a state-based Road to Zero Coalition which would reproduce its efforts through and support the development of RTZ groups in local communities throughout the state. Write a grant proposal for an Americorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America — I was one in 1977-78 when I worked as a nursing home patient advocate) corps of Community Organizers who would develop these grassroots traffic safety advocacy groups. Kennedy launched the Peace Corps as a result of the seed of an idea suggested to University of Michigan students during a campaign stop; let’s follow that example and harness the energy of today’s college graduates to mobilize the citizens of this country to be personally involved in this battle against the Goliath who is slaying our loved ones through Death by Motor Vehicle!
Develop an interactive Vision Zero map website — with pages devoted to information intended to influence driver and decisionmaker actions, including crash details and personal crash stories. This could include pages or links to crash maps which highlight specific crash causes or factors, e.g., the National Speed Fatality Map recently launched by the National Coalition for Safer Roads and the Vision Zero Network.
Mandate comprehensive underride protection (rear, side, front) on all large trucks. I was in a horrific truck crash on May 4, 2013 and survived because, unlike AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13) in the backseat, I did not go under the truck when our car was sent backward into the rear of truck ahead of us. How many might be saved if this were to be made a priority to address?
Develop innovative human/technology interface training to provide for ongoing improvement in ability to capitalize on advances in traffic safety technology.
Redefine a vehicle as a weapon rather than simply a means of transport.Call for/initiate appropriate Vision Zero laws, along with effective law enforcement and justice for victims of vehicle violence. Specifically, expose those who oppose Vision Zero and counteract the forces that contribute to the perpetuation of an Unsafety Culture. Counteract “doubt science.”
I was placed in the Safer Vehicles group and had some lively discussion with other participants. Out of all my ideas (I only shared ones which would directly promote safer vehicles), I got support from another participant on #4 Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force. Several times, hebrought up the impact which resulted from the Commission on Drunk Driving established by President Reagan.And, in my opinion, if the Road to Zero Coalition backed this goal, it could have comprehensive and far-reaching effect on each of the six categories of Actions to Reduce Traffic Fatalities.
The Road to Zero Coalition hosted a meeting today with 130 people (100 more online) participating in lively discussions about promising actions to take us down the Road to Zero crash deaths and serious injuries.
I especially appreciated the opening remarks by Debbie Hersman, National Safety Council CEO & President, including inspiring thoughts from the Kennedy Presidential Library and reminding us that we are not doing this because it is easy but because it is hard (paraphrase). And she went on to say that hard is being hit by a car. Hard is being extricated from a vehicle. Hard is burying your daughters. . .
Debbie also said, “Safety delayed is safety denied.” Well said, for every safety measure which gets waylaid or delayed for whatever reason means that more people will die who might have been saved.
Debbie also mentioned that, from the time the Road to Zero Coalition was launched back in October until this day, 7,000 more people died on the roads in the U.S.
It was encouraging to see so much attention directed to solving the problem of vehicle violence. I even got to promote our Vision Zero Goals, including a White House Vision Zero Task Force. A few people might have even noted that I did it with a bit of passion!