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Engineers, Trucking Industry, & Victim Advocates Collaborate at Side Guard Task Force

Engineers, Trucking Industry, & Victim Advocates Collaborate at Side Guard Task Force

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.

IIHS successful 40 mph AngelWing side guard crash test, 8/29/17
Zoom Video Recording of the Side Guard Task Force Meeting on February 26, 2021
NOTE: The meeting begins at around 7:00 minutes into the video.

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 TOUGHGuard Award 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?

This compelling video will show you why Death By Underride, though unnatural & preventable, still continues.

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.

MEETING RESOURCES:

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:

Underride Victim Photo Memorial – The Tip of the Iceberg

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:

Underride Hero Hall of Fame

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

History Marianne Karth Reflected On Today

History Marianne Karth Reflected On Today

(Written by Marianne Karth)

This morning, I was reflecting for a moment on how this drafted comprehensive underride protection legislation began back in March. Here are a few interesting things which I posted about during that time (and since):

2 Moms Share Their Safer Truck Message in Hallways & Hearings on The Hill
DOT Regulatory Priorities for 2017
2 Moms, Sick & Tired of Waiting, Draft Truck Underride Legislation
2 Moms Collaborate With Innovative & Insightful Truck Industry Leaders
Heading for DC to Discuss the Need for the Best Possible Underride Protection on All Trucks
If this had been a real-life crash, side underride would be avoided & people in the car would have survived!
Australian Engineer Comments on U.S. Underride Protection
2 moms going back to DC. Ready to shed light on the problem of truck underride & the need for change.
Sen. @CoryBooker gave me directions & carried my bag from Union Station to The Hill
Thanks @SenMarkey for pausing on the sidewalk to hear our stories.
In Memory of loved ones who died in Wars in this country, including over 3.5 million in “Car Safety Wars”
WUSA9 Underride Series Sheds Light on Deadly Truck Underride Tragedies & Solutions
Deadly crashes spur calls for tractor-trailer side guards AP, July 30, 2017
Animated Illustration of Airflow Deflector’s AngelWing Side Guard
-WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT? Because it is not necessarily always the collision of a passenger vehicle with a large truck which causes horrific deaths and injuries but rather the collision of the truck with the passenger occupant space in the SECOND COLLISION which occurs with truck underride. This is what we aim to end.

Truck Underride 101: Part V. Bipartisan Discussion of Legislative Strategy
Would you want to be in this car?

Moms Who Lost Daughters In Truck Underride Collisions Push for Greater Safety NPR

This has truly been a team effort!

Marianne

We also handed Senator Thune a petition consisting of over 10,000 signatures calling for side underride protection!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WUSA9 Exposes the Truth about Truck Underride

WUSA9 Exposes the Truth about Truck Underride

We have all been on the roads when we are either passing a semi tractor-trailer or they are passing us.  Along the sides of the truck, there are almost four feet from the pavement to the bottom of the trailer.  People are instinctively uncomfortable when they travel near trucks with open space between the front and rear tires.  Cars can … and do go under the sides of trailers with deadly consequences hundreds of times every year.

WUSA9 recently began a series of reports on truck underride. Marianne Karth described the horrific crash that claimed the lives of her precious daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary.   I also shared how a truck side underride claimed the life of my beloved daughter, Roya.  Truck underride IS preventable! Every truck and trailer in the USA needs comprehensive underride protection.  Let’s stop the truck underride carnage!

How You Can Help