U.S. & Canadian safety advocates are calling for an end to preventable truck underride tragedies. Hundreds of people die every year when pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and passenger vehicles go underneath trucks.
It can happen to anyone -- even if their car has a 5-Star Crash Rating. It can happen anywhere. It happened to AnnaLeah (17) & Mary Karth (13), when their car went under the rear of a semi-trailer on May 4, 2013, in Georgia. And it happened to Jessica Holman-Price (21) when she went under the side of a truck as a pedestrian on December 19, 2005, in Canada.
So far, the work on improving truck underride protection has taken place in silos. It is past time to break the walls of silos and the silence which ensues, to stop working behind closed doors, and to bring the discussion to the light so that we are all working together with open and transparent communication.
Therefore, in light of the tragic and unnecessary countless loss of lives which delays in underride prevention have already cost, as well as the continued tragic and preventable loss of life sure to occur if decisive action is not taken now, we are hereby petitioning the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to immediately take the following step in order to bring about comprehensive underride protection:
Issue a memorandum to establish a Joint/International Underride Task Force to actively address this global public health problem.
Speak up for victims like Jessica, Mary, and AnnaLeah. Let our government regulators & trucking industry leaders know that you want them to act NOW to SAVE LIVES.
"In February 2011, President Obama & Prime Minister Harper launched the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). . . to facilitate closer cooperation between our two countries . . . to protect the safety & welfare of our citizens." UNITED STATES – CANADA REGULATORY COOPERATION COUNCIL Joint Forward Plan
September 27, 2016
President Obama, Prime Minister Trudeau, Secretary Foxx, Administrator Rosekind, Administrator Darling, and Minister of Transport Garneau:
On May 5, 2016, almost 100 people participated in an Underride Roundtable hosted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety at their Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia, with cosponsors Truck Safety Coalition and AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety. Participants included researchers, safety advocacy groups, the trucking industry, truck trailer manufactures and government officials, including members of NHTSA staff.
Discussions during the meeting ranged from descriptions of the nature and magnitude of the underride problem to potential solutions including better conspicuity, new rear underride guard designs and the potential for side guards to prevent runovers of pedestrians and cyclists in urban environments, as well as prevention of side underride by passenger vehicles. Information shared during our meeting clearly illustrated the need to do more to address underride crashes as well as the possibility of doing so.
Since underride fatalities are a universal problem, cross-border regulatory cooperation between the U.S. and Canada is essential. Duplication of efforts is not efficient, whereas cooperative efforts will move North America more quickly toward zero preventable truck underride deaths.
On September 23, we submitted a Comprehensive Underride Consensus Petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation. It was signed by engineers and safety advocates who know that the problem can be solved. Similar efforts are being launched in Canada as well.
So far, the work on improving truck underride protection* has taken place in silos. It is past time to break the walls of silos and the silence which ensues. Stop working behind closed doors. Take action to bring the discussion to the light so that we are all working together with open and transparent communication.
Therefore, in light of the tragic and unnecessary countless loss of lives which delays in underride prevention have already cost, as well as the continued tragic and preventable loss of life sure to occur if decisive action is not taken now, we are hereby petitioning the U.S. and Canada to immediately take the following steps in order to bring about comprehensive underride protection:
Immediately issue a memorandum to establish a Joint/International Underride Task Force to actively address this global public health problem.
Appoint to the Task Force at least 12 individuals with expertise in areas related to the underride issue, including—but not limited to—government regulators, engineers, crash reconstruction, the automotive industry, the trucking industry, law enforcement, injury prevention, truck drivers, attorneys, and safety advocacy. At least two members will be persons who have been directly affected by an underride fatality.
The Task Force shall work with U.S. and Canadian federal agencies to develop a coordinated solution to the truck underride problem. The functions of the Task Force are advisory only and shall include making recommendations to meet the following objectives:
(a) providing all stakeholders with evidence-based best and promising practices for preventing underride fatalities and serious injuries;
(b) building on the Federal Governments' existing regulations and enforcement efforts to ensure that institutions comply fully with their legal and ethical obligations to prevent underride fatalities and serious injuries;
(c) increasing the transparency of the Federal Governments' underride rulemaking;
(d) broadening the public's awareness of truck underride issues; and
(e) facilitating coordination among agencies engaged in addressing underride issues and those charged with helping bring institutions into compliance with the law.
In accordance with applicable law and in addition to regular meetings, the Task Force shall consult with external stakeholders, including the Governors Highway Safety Association, MADD, other safety groups, ATA, TTMA, paramedics, coroners, ER professionals, law enforcement agencies, DMVs, DAs, American Association for Justice, research and crash test organizations, educational organizations, truck drivers, and others as deemed wise and appropriate.
Within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop and submit proposals and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation and the Ministry of Transport for a Comprehensive Underride Action Plan. This will include specific strategies for moving toward the reduction of underride crash deaths and serious injuries.
Within 1 year of the date of this memorandum, and then on an annual basis, the Task Force shall provide a report to the President and the Prime Minister on implementation efforts with respect to this memorandum.
With gratitude for past efforts to reduce underride crashes and with entreaties to go further,
Jerry Karth, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety
Marianne Karth, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety
Jeannette Holman-Price, The Jessica Campaign
And all those who join with us in this petition.
* Truck underride protection throughout this petition refers to underride prevention devices as installed on large trucks to prevent underride all around the truck, including "side guards," rear impact protection, and front override.