Tag Archives: truck safety

whitehouse.gov PETITION: End preventable crash fatalities/Appoint Nat’l Traffic Safety Ombudsman

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/

We are asking for 100,000 Americans to sign our new petition on WhiteHouse petition site. Once we get 150 signatures, it will become searchable on their website.

If we are able to get 100,000 signatures in 30 days — by July 31, then the White House has promised that they will respond to our new petition, which calls on President Obama to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman, who will be an Advocate for Safer Roads.

SIGN  & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  https://wh.gov/i6kUj

PLEASE NOTE: If you sign the petition, be sure to go to your email. We the People will send you an email which you have to reply to in order to confirm your signature is valid.

What the Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition says:

Every average day in the U.S., 100 of our loved ones die in crashes and 400 more suffer serious crash injuries–along with $2 Billion in crash losses.

We propose that the President establish an independent Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to be an advocate to eliminate preventable crash deaths and serious injuries.

We need someone who has a mandate to advocate on behalf of the victims, someone who is not compromised by competing interests. We call on the President to take this action to protect our families and loved ones from one of the leading causes of preventable death.

Traffic Safety has not been a national priority. Without this Presidential action, too many lives will continue to be lost to vehicle violence.

Please SIGN the Petition: https://wh.gov/i6kUj. Then, SHARE this post. We have to get 100,000 in 30 days! July 31 is the target date.

 Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition
Read this post for Memes & Videos to help you raise awareness & promote this petition: Memes & Other Tools to Spread the Vision of a Traffic Safety Ombudsman to Advocate for Safer Roads
Read more about how a Traffic Safety Ombudsman could help us move more quickly toward ending tragic and preventable crash fatalities and life-altering crash injuries:

A grieving mom appeals to the President (short version):

A grieving mom appeals to the President (longer version):

Let’s demand safety, America, for We the People:

SIGN  & SHARE the WhiteHouse.gov TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  https://wh.gov/i6kUj

Questions? Comments? email me: marianne@annaleahmary.com

“Public health is about saving lives… a million at a time”.

When steps are taken to make roads safer, the impact can mean many lives saved globally.

Vision Zero is all about moving towards zero crash fatalities and serious injuries. If we would view road safety as a public health challenge, then we might begin to grasp the immensity of this problem.

As Professor Simon Chapman has quoted, “Public health is about saving lives… a million at a time”.  http://drinktank.org.au/2015/04/reflections-on-a-38-year-career-in-public-health-advocacy/

When I attempted to find the source of his quote, I stumbled upon this article by another public health expert, Dr. Arshini Daytan. I did a mental double-take when I read her quote from David Jernigan (John Hopkins) on the strategies of large corporations who actively seek to make us unhealthy:

“Associate Professor David Jernigan from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health gave the Basil Hetzel Oration and highlighted the significant influence large multinational corporations had on shaping the environment in which people make health decisions and the need for public health to understand these organisations. He proceeded to explain how these organisations, for example alcohol companies, operate to influence the debates around their products and why we need to know this in terms of public health advocacy. He went through the 10 principles outlined in the book ‘Lethal but Legal – Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health’ by Nicholas Freudenberg.

1. Make disease promoting products ubiquitous

2. Encourage retailers to promote their products

3. Supersize products

4. Target marketing to vulnerable populations

5. Price unhealthy products to promote sale and use

6. Create monopolies that reduce bargaining power of consumers and government

7. Support candidates who oppose public health policies

8. Lobby against laws that protect public health

9. Threaten to take jobs out of communities that oppose their policies

10. Organise Astroturf groups to oppose public health policies.”  http://sphpm.blogspot.com/2014/11/dr-darshini-ayton-writes-about-her.html

Okay, that made me learn about another concept/strategy: Astroturfing. What?! http://www.responsiblelending.org/media-center/center-for-straight-answers/astroturf-group-alert.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

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Digital photo/video montage of the countless people who have had their lives cut short by a tragic crash.

How did you react when you heard our crash story? I have been thinking about that a lot this week.

On Saturday, we heard other crash stories at Truck Safety Coalition’s Sorrow to Strength conference in Arlington, Virginia. It is hard to hear the same problems with truck safety over and over again and know that too many things are not getting any better. Yes, we heard of the successes over the years. But some of these families have been advocating for safer roads for over 20 years–including for safer underride guards.

17 Video Stories from past conferences http://trucksafety.org/get-involved/personal-stories/

Something’s wrong with this picture.

On Monday morning, Isaac and I met with Russ Rader at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s DC office. We discussed some of the details for the Underride Roundtable that we are planning with them for May 2016 at their Ruckersville, Virginia, conference & crash testing center. I am getting excited as it is getting closer to becoming a reality.

We arrived early for our meeting and, while we were waiting to start, we sat in the reception area, drank some water, and watched the video loop which they show on a wall monitor. I have seen many of their crash test videos before but learned many new things. It had my attention.


Later that afternoon, Isaac and I joined other Truck Safety Coalition volunteers for meetings at DOT with FMCSA and NHTSA. As we got off the elevator, Scott Darling, FMCSA Administrator, pointed out the framed photo collage of truck safety victims (a fraction of the total number) which was presented to them in 2009. FMCSA staff see it every day as they pass by on their way to work.

Montage Honoring Truck Crash Victims  http://truckcrashlawyers.com/jeff-burns-national-truck-safety-advocacy

The next morning, when I woke up, an idea came to me: create a video loop (which could be updated) of crash victim stories and raise money to put it on monitors throughout DOT. I told Isaac about my idea and he said that it should be on The Hill as well.

Then, as we headed for our meetings on The Hill, we encountered rush hour traffic at the Metro. People piled into the first train that stopped and it was so full that they were packed like sardines and the door couldn’t even shut until the riders pushed themselves closer together.

Washington DC October 2015 019Washington DC October 2015 013Washington DC October 2015 017

The woman just in front of me, who was a regular Metro commuter, commented that one time she had seen someone’s backpack get stuck in the door. We continued to talk and, after getting on the next train, eventually got a seat next to each other some stops later.

She asked me about the buttons on my lanyard:

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When I told her that two of my daughters were killed in a truck crash, she had tears in her eyes and held my hand. Imagine the power of our story and the impact it could have on the future of highway safety.

I want the faces and voices of once-alive truck crash victims and their surviving families to be seen and heard daily throughout Washington, DC. And then just maybe we will have their attention so that, armed with facts and figures and reasonable solutions, we will be able to bring about dialogue to solve trucking safety problems which take into account the needs of the industry without unnecessarily sacrificing the lives of our families.

Australian engineers champion the cause of better truck underride protection

I have spoken and corresponded with George Rechnitzer and Raphael Grzebieta from the Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research Centre in Sydney. I have also written about their work on underride protection in Australia.

Yesterday, I received from them a copy of their submission to the Public Comments on the Underride Protection of Single Unit Trucks. It is worth a read to find out what is being said in other countries about this vital issue.

NHTSA-Docket-Submission-Grzebieta&Rechnitzer 20 Sept 2015

Here are some highlights:

    • Whilst there are force based design rules, e.g. in USA, Canada and Europe, it is apparent that these rules are inadequate. In our submission we strongly recommend crash test based performance requirements for under-run protection catering for both centred and off-set impact.
      Around 10 people per year on average are killed in Australia in rear under-run crashes resulting in horrific injuries such as decapitation.13 Yet the Regulation Impact Statement (RIS)14 for Underrun Protection publish by the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch at the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government in July 2009 recommended that only front under-run protection be applied to all rigid and articulated trucks. Their conclusion was that the cost-benefit ratio for frontal under-run barriers was greater than one whereas for side and rear under-run the benefit was negative, and hence such protection should not be mandated in an Australian Design Rule. Yet despite these numerous calls for changes over the past three decades, we continue to consistently kill people in such crashes, ignoring the fact that practical low cost effective under-run barriers can be fitted. That is the real unforgivable tragedy.
    • The Vison Zero and Safe System approach adopted by most of the world now and on which Towards Zero Deaths is anchored, boldly moves away from the economic- rationalist ‘cost-benefit’ models (cited in this Docket as still being used by NHTSA), to a humanistic more rational model. The important aspect of a ‘Vision Zero’ principle is that it introduces ‘ethical rules’ to guide the system designers. In other words:
      Life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society
      Whenever someone is killed or seriously injured, necessary steps must be taken to avoid similar events.
    • The Authors of this submission would further point out to those at NHTSA considering how the Rear Impact Protection for Single Unit Trucks should be revised; they should consider placing themselves in the position of the gentleman being asked in the following Australian Government advertisement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsyvrkEjoXI&feature=youtu.be. This advertisement was commissioned and paid for by the Victorian State Government in Australia. We would ask the NHTSA staff responsible for this NPRM which members of their family would they allocate to die that would be acceptable to them and would meet the NHTSA cost benefit ratios being considered?

  • To break the impasse between safety stakeholders and regulators, the Authors of this submission have proposed to incorporate into the revision of the ASNZS3845.2 Australian Road Safety Barrier Systems and Devices a crash test performance requirement for rear under-run barriers for heavy trucks, shortly to be released for public comment. In that standard test requirements for under-ride barriers, called Truck Under-run Barriers (TUBs), has been developed and now included. We hope that this standard will be approved by committee members (members include Australian State Government regulators) and hopefully will be published in early 2016. The tests requirements are in part based on the US Manual for Assessing Road Hardware (MASH) and are presented below.
    We would strongly recommend that NHTSA consider such dynamic performance tests when they deliberate their development of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for under-ride barriers.
  • TUB’s are designed to prevent a vehicle impacting the rear of a stationary truck under-riding the back of the truck in a manner where the truck structure intrudes into the impacting vehicle’s occupant compartment. The TUB’s main function is to protect the occupants in the impacting vehicle.
  • If the car is designed to such ANCAP and IIHS test protocols with the maximum crashworthiness rating, it is likely that the occupants would not sustain serious injuries in a vehicle impacting such a TUB in the configurations shown in Figure 1.
  • The manufacturers of such TUBs and operators of heavy vehicles are encouraged to explore the application of energy absorbing systems for TUBs including rear air bags mounted on the rear of trucks.

This latter recommendation is relevant to our goal of seeking research money to provide to Dean Sicking whose proposal intends to do just that: explore the application of the SAFER Barrier — an energy absorbying system — to the prevention of truck underride tragedies.

Dean Sicking’s Research Proposal: Development of Trailer Underride Preventive Measures

As soon as their Public Comment is published, I will post a link so that you can read the entire document online for a better understanding of their detailed analysis and proposal for crash test based performance requirements for truck underride protection, for both centred and off-set impact, in contrast to the force based design rules in the current U. S. federal underride standards. The Australian recommendations are based on 30 years of research and experience. (Note: the document in its entirety can be accessed at the top of this post.)

The formal period for submission of Public Comments ends today, September 21, 2015. Upon the request of several groups, I made a request that the period be extended for a short time. That request is under consideration by the agency. All published Public Comments can be found at this site, which is updated as submissions are made:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR+PR+N+O+SR;rpp=10;po=0;D=NHTSA-2015-0070

George Rechnitzer and Raphael Grzebieta have, unfortunately, faced similar challenges in Australia in trying to persuade the powers that be to make rules which would prevent unnecessary and horrific deaths and injuries. However, they  are encouraged by potential upcoming changes in their country:

To break the impasse between safety stakeholders and regulators, the Authors of this submission have proposed to incorporate into the revision of the ASNZS3845.2 Australian Road Safety Barrier Systems and Devices a crash test performance requirement for rear under-run barriers for heavy trucks, shortly to be released for public comment. In that standard test requirements for under-ride barriers, called Truck Under-run Barriers (TUBs), has been developed and now included. We hope that this standard will be approved by committee members (members include Australian State Government regulators) and hopefully will be published in early 2016.

Other posts on their work include:

We look forward to working with George and Raphael at the Underride Roundtable in the Spring of 2016 and know that our country can greatly benefit from their expertise.

Underride Research Meme


Donate toward the  Underride Roundtable & Research Now: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

Be a part of this timely push to prevent unnecessary deaths.

It could save someone you love.

Same Old, Same Old: Trucking Safety Debates Impact Spending Bill

When the trucking industry uses the appropriations bill process to sway votes, what do you think is their primary motivation: Safety or Profit?

See what you think:

“Foxx said Republicans are conducting an end run around the normal legislative process by including the trucking provisions in his agency’s funding bill.

What’s happening is the appropriations process is now being used to create policy, which, when it comes to safety, that’s a real problem because it leaves us without a process with which we can articulate the concerns we have, he said. You can expect us to be very vocal about these issues, and my hope is that folks won’t only reconsider the merits of some of the issues, but also some of the processes that some of these issues are dealt with, because there’s a much better process available.

The trucking industry offered a starkly different perspective, saying the provisions that are included in the THUD bill have been on Congress’s agenda for a long time.

These issues have been debated for years, American Trucking Association spokesman Sean McNally told The Hill on Wednesday morning, noting that lawmakers will be holding a hearing on the appropriations bill in the afternoon.

They’re the same issues we’ve been talking about for years, and now we’re going to talk about them again, he said.

McNally added the appropriations bill is fair game for the trucking provisions because it is a piece of legislation that is moving through Congress.

We obviously take a different view of the safety ramifications of these provisions, he said, describing the changes as a number of things we believe will increase output and safety.”  http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/240453-gop-spending-bill-reignites-trucking-debate

Sounds good, but just exactly how will their actions increase SAFETY? That is what I want to know.

The Truck Safety game 001

Truck Crash Moment: A truck driver’s actions forever divided time into Before & After

AnnaLeah and Mary Mary & AnnaLeah Before

IMG_4464Truck Crash Moment

headstoneAnnaleah  & Mary After

Bloomberg News: In-Depth Reports on Trucking Safety Issues

Check out these in-depth articles on issues related to safety on the road.


IIHS Reports on New Crash Testing for Improved Underride Guards

IIHS October 2014 Status Report Article First Page

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released a report on recent crash testing for one trailer manufacturer’s improved design for their rear underride guard. Vanguard has now passed the 50% overlap test–with testing still needed for the more narrow overlap test at the edges of the trailer’s guard.

Additional companies have plans to get their guards tested in the future.

Our story is featured in this fall’s edition of the organization’s Status Report. We are thankful for their efforts to research and report on this vital truck safety issue. Their previous reports helped us to better understand the weakness of the current federal regulations for underride guards.

Read the report hereIIHS Status Report October 2014

Also, the Truck Safety Coalition has issued a press release on this issue:  http://trucksafety.org/press-release-industry-makes-improvements-while-rule-for-better-underride-languishes/

Link to IIHS Status Report Issueshttp://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr

November 2015 IIHS Status Report with an update on Single Unit Truck Underride Rulemaking:  http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/50/9/2


IIHS October 2014 Status Report Cover

Entry Level Truck Driver Training


We have come to realize that it is way too easy for someone to obtain a CDL to drive a truck–whether or not they have been adequately trained to do so or even are proficient in the language needed to understand all of the regulations involved and to communicate while on the job.

So we are glad to see the recent action taken to call for Secretary Foxx to issue minimum entry level training requirements. Please read about it here:


Truck Driver Training Requirements Long Overdue

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Would AnnaLeah & Mary be here now to enjoy another beautiful autumn day. . . if the truck driver had been required to go through more rigorous and complete driver training before he got his CDL?

Yesterday, a number of safety groups announced that they are suing the federal government in an attempt to increase the requirements for obtaining a CDL. Read about it here: http://trucksafety.org/safety-advocates-teamsters-sue-u-s-dot-failing-issue-long-overdue-truck-driver-training-requirements/

“Congress initially told the agency to finish a rulemaking process on driver training by 1993, but the agency still has not done so.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency charged with issuing the rule. Public Citizen is representing the groups.”

Let’s stop dragging our feet. . . this is not rocket science (as Jerry likes to say)!

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