My kids introduced me to Leverage a few weeks ago. So, lately, my husband and I have been watching episodes of the program nightly with them.
This is a description of the television series: Leverage is an American television drama series, which aired on TNT from December 7, 2008, to December 25, 2012. The series was produced by Electric Entertainment, a production company of executive producer and director Dean Devlin. Leverage follows a five-person team: a thief, a grifter, a hacker, and a retrieval specialist, led by former insurance investigator Nathan Ford, who uses their skills to fight corporate and governmental injustices inflicted on ordinary citizens.
Last night, after watching a couple of episodes, I was thinking about our nation’s careless negligence of, and seeming indifference to, the senseless, preventable crash deaths which occur every day. It made me wish that the Leverage team could join us in taking on the hard-to-pin-down conglomeration of traffic safety factors*–many of which could be overcome or prevented and which result in the devastation of individual and family lives. Changed forever. No coming back.
*Underride crashes are a prime example of a problem which can be solved, but for which no one has truly been held responsible/liable/accountable for decades.
Mary (13) wrote a letter to herself a few weeks before the crash that took her life. She intended to read her letter 10 years later in 2023. One of the things she wrote was that she hoped to be famous someday; she didn’t know how, she just did.
A Leverage movie drawing attention to the widespread problem of traffic safety deaths (especially due to manufacturing defects) could highlight Mary’s and her sister AnnaLeah’s untimely end to their lives. And she would get her wish.
Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, and Aldis Hodge
Dear Leverage team,
I am asking you to champion a National Vision Zero Goal and Strategy to reduce crash deaths and serious injuries. Traffic safety is of great interest to me following the deaths of my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), due to a truck underride crash on May 4, 2013.
My kids introduced me to Leverage a few weeks ago. So my husband and I have been watching it nightly with them. Last night, when I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking as usual about the frustrations of corporate negligence and indifference to the senseless, preventable crash deaths which occur every day. It made me wish that your Leverage team could join us in taking on the Goliath which ignores the problem and perpetuates the devastating impact on individual and family lives.
Since our horrific crash, my family and I have become vocal advocates for highway safety improvement, including a petition signed by 11,000+ people which we took to DC on May 5, 2014. Following that meeting with NHTSA and FMCSA, a rulemaking was initiated in July 2014 to study the need to improve rear underride protection on tractor-trailers, as well as additional proposed rulemaking in July 2015 for underride protection on Single Unit Trucks.
We are not stopping at that but are collaborating with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition to plan an Underride Roundtable to be held at the IIHS’s crash testing facility in Ruckersville, Virginia, on May 5, 2016. We hope that by bringing together the trucking industry, regulatory officials, law enforcement, attorneys, truckers, engineers, and safety advocates, we can bring about more effective underride protection. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/10/underride-roundtable-save-the-date-may-5-2016/
In addition, we believe that it is not enough to seek improvement through rulemaking but that there needs to be an overhaul of how rulemaking is handled. In light of that, we have launched a Vision Zero Petition online to request that DOT/OIRA approach highway safety rulemaking with a Vision Zero policy. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/
Furthermore, we think that the regulatory approach to highway safety rules should not be strangled by cost/benefit restraints that hold up human life and health dollar for dollar against corporate profit and economic stability. That is why we are asking you to back our petition to President Obama for a Vision Zero Executive Order which would modify President Clinton’s Executive Order 12866 and pave the way for stronger safety measures to be established in a more timely manner.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience if this is a cause which you can champion.
In memory of AnnaLeah & Mary–who occupy our thoughts daily,
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not looking for vengeance or ruin. I’m looking for justice — for accountability in matters of personal and corporate actions which can make the difference between life and death for someone and can ravage someone else’s life. . . forever.
Nothing will ever, ever bring AnnaLeah and Mary back in this life. No way, can’t happen. Not in this life, but only in the life to come. (Hang in there.) And that hurts so freakin’ bad. Every single day.
But I know that more, much more, can be done to ensure that other people don’t go through the same (and thankfully they will never really realize it). And there are forces that are working against our attempts to truly make saving lives matter more than saving money. Hard to believe, right?
Whereas I feel powerless right now to bring about lasting, far-reaching change, I know that it does not depend on me. And so I am hoping that all the right pieces will fall in place at the right time to open eyes to the truth and a better way to protect ourselves and our families.