2 Moms Collaborate With Innovative & Insightful Truck Industry Leaders

After two full days of attending the ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council conference in Nashville, I am having a hard time figuring out what to talk about first.

It has been very good to spend that time with Lois Durso, a mom who also lost a daughter to truck (side) underride. We first began talking on the phone a couple of weeks ago and planned to meet at the conference. Having a bond of similar grief, we have talked almost non-stop — both about our daughters as well as strategies for truck safety.

In fact, we were both guests of Stoughton Trailers at the conference and they asked me to share our family’s crash story and the safety advocacy which followed, as well as our appreciation of how Stoughton stepped up and voluntarily improved their rear impact guard and are able to offer it as standard on all new dry van trailers — at no added cost or weight penalty to their customers.

Gary Fenton, VP Engineering, Stoughton Trailers, Marianne Karth, Bob Wahlin, CEO Stoughton Trailers

I received a wonderful surprise this morning when I unexpectedly found out that Stoughton now has a rear impact guard (RIG) retrofit kit available for purchase to install as a replacement on all existing (compatible) Stoughton trailers, as far back as 2007. I talked with the Products manager and she roughly estimated the cost to trailer owners to be around $500-600.

I am not indicating that Stoughton’s new RIG is necessarily better than any of the other manufacturers who have also stepped up to the plate and designed rear guards to receive the Toughguard award. But I am commending them for making the safety of the driving public a priority.  In fact, I do not have specific crash test information to rate one new design compared to the others.  At the end of the day, Jerry and I are thankful to the many persons and companies which have helped to bring about this progress in underride protection.

We will continue to advocate for the strongest possible underride protection on all trucks. That, of course, includes side underride protection, which Lois and I discussed with many industry leaders this week. It also means that Single Unit Trucks still need to be addressed, along with front override, retrofitting, maintenance, and identifying the outer limits of underride protection.

We are not done yet. They haven’t seen the last of us. We’ve got more lives to save.

Lois Durso, Dick Giromini, CEO of Wabash Trailers, Marianne Karth

Stay tuned for news from IIHS on trailer manufacturer underride protection awards.

Update: IIHS announcement at 10 a.m. on March 1; Trucks.com article: Insurance Institute Launches New Safety Ranking of Truck Trailers

Other articles covering this story:

  1. Trucks.com article: Insurance Institute Launches New Safety Ranking of Truck Trailers
  2. Today’s Trucking article on the Stoughton Press Conference: Activist applauds Stoughton for tougher guards
  3. Trucknews.comStoughton improves rear impact guard
  4. Fleetowner.com: New refrigerated model on the way from Stoughton Trailers
  5. Truckinginfo.com: Stoughton Underride Guard Earns Kudos from Crash Survivor, Insurance Institute

Thank you, IIHS for your commitment to this crash testing project, which has highlighted the continuing underride problem and guided the way to a solution. Thank you, as well, to the trailer manufacturers who have voluntarily improved the rear underride protection on the trailers which they produce and sell (and/or lease).

Here is a Youtube video, posted by Cars-Trucks TV, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the improved rear underride guards designed by five of the major trailer manufacturers — Great Dane, Manac, Stoughton, Vanguard, and Wabash — from 2013 to 2017.
They have proven that creative minds can come up with better underride protection. The cars are damaged from the crash, but underride is prevented and lives are preserved.

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