AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety (ALMFTS) is collaborating with State Highway Patrols & safety groups to demonstrate engineering solutions at 2-day Underride Crash Test Events in at least 4 regions of the U.S.
Each Regional Event will include multiple crash tests — including one with & one without a side guard — as well as a keynote speaker & panel discussion to educate first responders, crash investigators, insurers, regulators, & the trucking industry on the deadly underride problem and solutions.
As plans develop, information will be provided here on the schedule and locations where Crash Test Events will take place during 2023. Potential sites under consideration include Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Indiana, New York, and New Mexico. Subject to change.
We are thankful for The Law Firm for Truck Safety, who graciously offered to match all donations up to $25,000. They were later joined by the Academy of Trucking Accident Attorneys (ATAA), who have added another $25,000 to our matching challenge. We welcome contributions of any size and wish to recognize all of our Business Partners and TEAM Underride Partners here.
How You Can Help TEAM Underride:
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to become involved in planning and/or participating in the Tour.
On September 14, 2021, a petition was submitted to NHTSA to investigate and recall semitrailers due to the lack of side underride guards which would prevent catastrophic injuries and deaths.
Dear Secretary Buttigieg:
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30162 and 49 C.F.R § 552.1, please find our petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to promptly initiate a safety defect investigation into van-type or box semitrailers because of a known safety hazard and defect from collisions with passenger vehicles and other vulnerable road users (pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists) resulting in death and significant injuries due to a lack of side underride guards. This investigation will clearly demonstrate that NHTSA should issue a recall order pursuant to 49 U.S.C. §§ 30118(b), 30119, and 30120 for all van-type and box semitrailers that lack side underride guards.
Eric Hein, Jerry & Marianne Karth, and Lois Durso
We welcome letters of support to reinforce the importance of this vital recall.
An informative story map that provides comprehensive information on truck underride. Thank you Eric Hein for putting this informative map together in loving memory of your son, Riley. Unguarded and Unsafe: Death by Underride
Also, see Eric’s side guard cost benefit analysis here.
On Monday, March 8, truck crash victims’ families hosted a news conference to discuss their stories and the recent introduction of the STOP Underrides Act of 2021 — on March 4, 2021 in the Senate and March 8 in the House.
It is a well-known fact that underride crashes (and, therefore, underride deaths and injuries) are undercounted. Investigating officers & reporters can help to improve reporting on underride crashes and deaths. Here are some tips, which we’d like you to consider: Truck Crash Investigation Underride Evaluation Checklist (2021)
We know that the trucking industry has expressed concern about potential operational issues which could occur when side guards are installed on large trucks. In order to address those concerns, we asked several trucking companies to give us feedback about their experience after installing side guards on their tractor-trailers. This is what they told us:
On a Friday afternoon — February 26, 2021 — over 50 people met via Zoom to discuss comprehensive underride protection. The purpose of the meeting was to report on progress which has been made by several subcommittees since an earlier meeting in 2020 — including Industry Engagement, Research, and Engineering Subcommittees.
The goal of the Underride Engineering Subcommittee — to which trailer manufacturers were invited — was to create a Consensus Side Guard Standard which would provide additional insight for the development of a side guard regulation. Lengthy conversation and exchange of information has led this group to submit the following recommendation:
A side underride guard shall be considered to meet the performance standard if it is able to provide vehicle crash compatibility with a midsize car, to prevent intrusion into the occupant survival space, when it is struck at any location, at any angle, and at any speed up to and including 40 mph.
The Task Force went so far as to suggest that the Truck Trailers Manufacturers Association (TTMA) discuss the Consensus Side Guard Standard at their upcoming annual meeting in San Antonio, April 7-10, 2021. We encouraged them to come together in a Joint Agreement to adopt or improve the Consensus Side Guard Standard, as an association, and fast track the manufacturing of side guards by their 80th Anniversary in 2022.
Accept the standard; build a guard.
Sean O’Malley, Senior Test Coordinator at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), gave a presentation at the Side Guard Task Force. He stated that, “Everything we do here, we do to save lives. I wasn’t kidding when I said the rear underride program (ToughGuard) is what I’m most proud of. ” Trailer manufacturers responded to the IIHS creation of a safety marketplace for improved rear underride guards by working to meet the TOUGHGuardAward level of protection at the rear of tractor-trailers. Why then would they not do the same to meet the Consensus Side Guard Standard of protection at the sides of tractor-trailers — particularly since the IIHS supports it with their 40 m.p.h. test?
Underride is underride no matter with what part of the truck you collide — because the bottom of large trucks sit up higher from the ground than the bumpers of passenger vehicles. All the way around.
So now what do we do? Will we wait another 100 years? How many more lives have to be sacrificed?
Trucking companies could demand trailers with side underride guards. Trailer manufacturers could supply trailers with side underride guards. Or the government could mandate side underride guards — ideally with the support of industry because a government law or regulation will place all manufacturers on a level playing field.
Families of underride victims and engineers appealed to trailer manufacturers to take the bull by the horn, embrace the Consensus Side Guard Standard, and move forward with developing and installing side underride guards ahead of government requirements.
Today, I was reflecting on the Side Guard Task Force meeting and a strategy for action going forward. As I was looking up information on an engineer from one of the manufacturers, whom I’d met several years ago, I noticed that the manufacturer is making plans to hire an engineering intern for the Summer of 2021. Beautiful! Brilliant! How about we show this young intern how engineers can save lives.
Imagine engineering students from universities around the nation spending the coming year doing internships or senior capstone projects at trailer manufacturing companies working alongside industry engineers on side underride guard development. Collaboration could take place and serve to more rapidly bring about the development and implementation of long-overdue, life-saving technology.
Note: The Side Guard Task Force meeting on February 26, 2021, was a follow-up to an earlier meeting. On April 17, 2020, over 40 people participated in a virtual meeting of a volunteer Underride Protection Committee’s “Side Guard Task Force.” This included two engineers from trailer manufacturers. As a follow-up, several subcommittees began to hold virtual meetings, including an Underride Engineering Subcommittee.
After listening to Andy Young interview Eric Hein about the loss of his son, Riley, in a side underride, participants viewed a photo memorial slideshow of some of the countless underride victims:
Some of the many individuals and organizations who have made contributions to the work on underride protection were celebrated in this Underride Hero Hall of Fame video:
Note: the video of the complete meeting is an unedited Zoom recording. As excerpts from the agenda are created, YouTube video links will be added. – Marianne Karth
Compelling New Documentary Tells the Stories of Underride Victims & Their Families
Cool Breeze Studio has recently released a documentary, Save Lives – STOP Underrides, that tells the stories of underride victims and their families.
Underride Crash Test Event in Washington, D.C. , March 26, 2019
If you were not able to witness the Underride Crash Tests in D.C. in person on March 26, then the next best thing is to see the media coverage of this important event and to view the video footage of all three tests of a car colliding at approximately 30 mph with the side of a tractor-trailer:
The first crash test was into a trailer with an AngelWing side guard — SUCCESSFUL because it prevented underride and Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI).
The second crash test was into a trailer with a SafetySkirt side guard — SUCCESSFUL because it prevented underride and Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI).
The third crash test was into a trailer with NO side guard (as is the situation with 99.9% of the trucks on the road today) — SUCCESSFUL in that the devastating underride which occurred clearly showed what it is that the other two tests so importantly prevented.
VIDEO FOOTAGE from MGA Research of all three crash tests can be seen here.
The Stop Underrides! Bill was co-led and introduced 12/12/2017, by Senator Gillibrand and Senator Rubio in the Senate and Congressman Cohen and Congressman DeSaulnier in the House, in a bipartisan effort to stem the tide of truck underride fatalities. It was reintroduced on March 5, 2019.
It’s not a new problem! As long as cars and trucks have shared the road, vulnerable road users (VRU’s), motorcyclists and vehicle passengers have been crushed and killed when they get trapped under a trailer. It happened to my daughter, to the Karth daughters and countless other souls. Underride can happen to anyone…at anytime…in any place.
How can you help? Join Team Stop Underrides! Send us an email letting us know you’ll support this life saving legislation. Please call your Senators and representatives to express support. Let your legislators know that you want them to endorse the Stop Underrides Act! Ask for a Stop Underrides bumper sticker to help spread awareness. Reach out to family, friends, neighbors and coworkers – ask them to disseminate information to their network of family and friends.
Ultimately, it’s those that share the road with tractor trailers that will decide if they want to protect loved ones from truck underride. Life is precious – please help us mitigate the risk of death by comprehensive protection around tractor trailers!
How do you ever get over the death of your child? You don’t! Sadness and loss are constant companions. I’m so grateful to God for the glorious memories I have of my precious daughter. Roya was beautiful, kind and so intelligent. Today, I’ve been reflecting on her sense of humor. She had a quick wit . . . laughter came frequently and so easy for Roya. I love thinking about her. . . remembering how special she was to me, her family and friends. People naturally gravitated to Roya because she was such a wonderful young lady. . . so many attributes. Roya’s untimely death was a HUGH loss for me and many others. The name Roya means dream – she feels like a very sweet dream. I miss her. . . so much . . . every day!
Can there be anything good that comes out of the loss of a loved one? It is my prayer that trailer manufacturers and trucking companies will voluntarily implement comprehensive underride protection. No other family should have to endure the profound loss and grief of a loved one. I’m hopeful that they will see the horror of underride deaths and will resolve to do something about it. I am praying that there will also be federal mandates to offer comprehensive protection for those we love. There will always be some companies that simply don’t care – profits are their priority- not human life. Truck underride is a hazard that has claimed countless lives- we MUST act now! Hundreds are needlessly dying every year! For sure, it takes integrity, character, strength and backbone to do what’s right. The RAMCUP ACT of 2017 is an effort to protect families from the pain and heartache I have experienced. Without a doubt – if truck underride could take the life of my child – everyone is vulnerable to this disaster. It doesn’t matter who is at fault – what matters is to mitigate the risk of truck underride fatalities. Together we CAN bring an end to the underride debacle.