Karth Family to Deliver Truck Safety Petition To U.S. DOT

In 2015, 4,067 people were killed in large truck crashes in the United States

Karth Family to Deliver Truck Safety Petition To U.S. DOT

Contact: Beth Weaver beth_weaver@verizon.net 301.814.4088

NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY MARKS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FATAL TRUCK CRASH THAT CLAIMED THE LIVES OF THEIR TWO TEENAGE DAUGHTERS

Karth Family To Deliver Truck Safety Petition To U.S. DOT

On Monday, May 5, Marianne and Jerry Karth and members of their family, will deliver their “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington, D.C. The petition asks DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx to use his authority to immediately make truck safety improvements to issues that may have contributed to the loss of the Karth daughters AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13).  Photos of the Karth family and the petition delivery will be available at www.trucksafety.org.

The Karth petition, a grassroots effort which received over 11,000 signatures, asks the Secretary to make long overdue improvements to truck safety by immediately increasing the minimum insurance level to account for over 30 years of inflation without a single increase, releasing a rule for improved rear underride guard standards to protect car occupants in truck crashes, and releasing the final rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs) to reduce truck driver fatigue. The Karth family will meet with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator (FMCSA) Anne Ferro and National Highway Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator David Friedman to deliver the petition and discuss truck safety issues.

“Advocating for these changes helps with the grief because it gives us an opportunity to make a difference,” said Marianne Karth. “There is some healing that goes with that, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Fighting for these changes stirs up all those memories that we went through, but it gives us hope that other families won’t have to go through what we’ve been through.”

On May 4, 2013, as the Karth family drove to Texas to celebrate four graduations and a wedding, their car was hit from behind by a truck that was unable to stop in time for slowed traffic. The impact spun their car around and forced it backward and underneath a second truck’s trailer. Marianne and her son were in the front seats and survived the impact with injuries. AnnaLeah and Mary were in the back seats, which went underneath the trailer, and died as a result of catastrophic injuries.

On September 12, 2013, Marianne Karth joined Truck Safety Coalition members and safety advocates for a meeting with Secretary Foxx, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro and then NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Secretary Foxx promised tangible progress within a short period of time on the truck safety issues discussed at the meeting. Administrator Strickland added that there would be a decision for underride guards on his desk by November 2013. To bring attention to these safety issues and honor the memories of their daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, on the first anniversary of the crash the Karth family began a petition asking Secretary Foxx to fulfill his promise.

“We are asking Secretary Foxx to take three specific actions to implement tangible solutions which will bring immediate improvements in truck safety issues,” said Marianne Karth. “Unnecessary delays may have cost Mary and AnnaLeah their lives. How many more lives will be lost due to delay?”

The Truck Safety Coalition, www.trucksafety.org, is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policymakers and media about truck safety issues.

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Karth Family Journeys to Washington, D.C.
Deliver “Anna Leah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” Petition to U.S. DOT

On May 4, 2014, the first anniversary of the devastating truck crash that claimed the lives of AnnaLeah and Mary Karth, Marianne and Jerry Karth and six family members will begin their journey from Rocky Mount, North Carolina to Washington, D.C. The Karth family will hand deliver their “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administer Anne Ferro and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator David Friedman on Monday, May 5. The Karth family, including Marianne and Jerry Karth, parents, Rocky Mount, NC, Isaac Karth, brother, Rocky Mount, NC, Peter Karth, brother, Midland, Texas, Danelle Karth, sister-in-law, Midland, Texas, Susanna Karth, sister, Rocky Mount, NC, Marcus Karth, nephew, Midland, Texas and Vanessa Karth, niece, Midland, Texas, will then meet with Administrator Ferro and Acting Administrator Friedman to discuss the truck safety issues that likely contributed to their family’s crash.  The Karth family’s agenda for the meeting follows.

The Karth Family requests Secretary Foxx to take the following actions:

  1. Minimum Liability Insurance Limits for Truck Drivers: We are respectively requesting that, effective immediately, the minimum liability insurance limit be raised to $3.2 million and indexed yearly to the Medical CPI costs which are listed on page 11 of the FMCSA report (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Financial-Responsibility-Requirements-Report-Enclosure-FINAL-April%202014.pdf ).
  2. Rear Underride Guards: We are requesting, effective immediately, that the DOT—for the present—adopt the Canadian standard for rear underride guards and that DOT continue to study the situation, as we are well aware of a trailer manufacturer which has gone beyond these standards and “raised the safety bar.”
  3. Electronic Logging Devices: We request immediate progress on rule-making for electronic logging devices, as driver fatigue is a very real concern. It is, in fact, a life and death matter. Please expedite this process as quickly as possible.

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FMCSA Report Confirms Minimum Insurance is Too Low

Contact: Beth Weaver

301.814.4088/beth_weaver@verizon.net

 FMCSA Report Verifies Financial Responsibility Requirement Deficiency

Safety Groups and Truck Crash Victims Urge FMCSA To Act Quickly To Increase Requirement Level

Families and Taxpayers Should Not be Forced to Bear Uninsured Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2014) – Truck crash victims and safety advocates responded positively to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report on commercial motor vehicle financial responsibility requirements, Examining the Appropriateness of the Current Financial Responsibility and Security Requirements for Motor Carriers, Brokers, and Freight Forwarders – Report to Congress, and at the same time rejected the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) claim that increases are unnecessary. The report, directed by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112 – 141, Section 32104), found that current financial responsibility minimums are inadequate, and supports efforts by Members of Congress, safety groups and responsible truck industry participants to secure an increase in financial responsibility requirements.

“Over 30 years ago, Congress set the minimum insurance rule for trucks and motor carriers at $750,000 to cover everyone impacted in a crash, whether it’s two, ten or twenty people killed and injured,” said Kate Brown, Illinois Volunteer Coordinator, Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) and Member, Illinois State Freight Advisory Committee, whose son was severely injured in a truck crash. “The amount of coverage has not changed in over 30 years. During that time, trucks have gotten bigger and heavier, inflation has gone up, medical care costs have skyrocketed and many truck crashes now result in damages that exceed several million dollars. When the insurance coverage falls short, the American public is left to foot the bill for these injuries and losses like I had to do when my son was injured.”

In 1980, the Motor Carrier Act was passed in response to deregulation of the trucking industry, setting financial responsibility levels for motor carriers to “assure that public safety is not jeopardized,” and to reduce concerns that safe drivers would be pressured to cut costs in order to be competitive “…by operating in violation of minimum safety standards.”  Financial responsibility levels were to be set at a level “sufficient to require ‘on site’ inspection by the insurance company, with minimums to be updated regularly.” Unfortunately, levels were not set high enough to accomplish this goal, and regular updates have never occurred. In effect, this lowered the minimum required, and allowed undercapitalized carriers to enter the market with minimal or no underwriting from insurance companies, which is the complete opposite result that was intended when the federal government set a minimum level.

Jackie Novak, TSC North Carolina Volunteer, whose son Chuck Novak and his girlfriend Theresa Seaver were killed in a crash in Henderson County, North Carolina said, “The total number of fatalities and injuries in the crash that killed Chuck was 15. The motor carrier that caused the crash only held a $1 million policy, slightly higher than the minimum now required, which had to be split among five families who lost loved ones and ten injured, as well as all other parties who had a claim to the settlement, such as emergency responders. The insurance did not come close to covering medical costs, or providing for surviving families and children, like my grandson.” Novak added, “The American people unknowingly subsidize the uninsured costs of the trucking industry through programs such as Medicaid and Social Security. When financial responsibility is set so low, and costs are passed on to the victims, there is no deterrent for unsafe behavior.”

Marianne Karth, who lost her daughters AnnaLeah and Mary nearly one year ago in a truck crash that also injured Marianne and her son, said, “I couldn’t believe it when I learned how low financial responsibility requirements were set and that they hadn’t been increased in decades. No one, and that includes truck drivers, should have to deal with astronomical medical costs and potential personal financial ruin on top of the tragedy of losing family members. I ask OOIDA to reconsider their position on this issue, and to acknowledge that they sell truck insurance and are therefore not themselves a neutral party.” Karth continued, “My family and I have launched our ‘AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety’ petition to urge Secretary Foxx to immediately increase minimum insurance levels to, at the bare minimum, account for 30 years of medical care inflation, as well as, to address outstanding truck safety improvements. We hope to personally present him with over 15,000 signatures in a couple of weeks, and that the message we bring will prevent other families from unnecessarily suffering when there are readily available solutions to truck safety issues.”

To add your signature to the “AnnaLeah and Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety” petition, please go to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/957/501/869/stand-up-for-truck-safety/

The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policymakers and media about truck safety issues. More information is available at www.trucksafety.org.

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Florida Volunteers Pay a Visit to the Offices of Members of Congress

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, our Florida volunteers, Jane Mathis (St. Augustine, FL) and Tracy Quinichett (Orlando, FL), visited the Florida offices of Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Jane and Tracy are both mothers who lost a son and daughter, respectively, in preventable truck crashes. At the meetings, the two women shared stories of their loss and spoke about critical truck safety issues, including the dangers of increasing truck size and weight limits, the importance of equipping trucks with improved rear and front and side underride guards, and increasing minimum insurance—which has not been done in 30 years. We look forward to continuing to work with these offices in the future.

Many thanks to our volunteers for their efforts to improve truck safety.

 

One CRASH Board Member’s thoughts on the Deadly Orland Crash

On Thursday evening, a FedEx truck crashed head on into a bus carrying prospective college students. Ten are dead and dozens more are injured from this tragic crash.

Dawn King, CRASH board member, had this to say,

The news media is slow to mention that it all started with a semi crossing the center median.   That’s not the most news worthy aspect of this crash so it’s getting little press.  Rightfully we need to concentrate on the families of those killed and injured, on the students who were headed toward bright futures as college students who will never see another day, on the survivors who are traumatized, and on the drivers, both of the truck and the bus who were also killed.  But when things calm down we need to take a serious look at why that semi crossed the median in the first place.

Please read the rest of Dawn’s thoughtful post on her page.

Watch a Broad Coalition Speak out against Increasing Truck Size and Weight Limits

The videos from the Truck Size and Weight press conference are now posted. Thank you to all the speakers for doing such a fantastic job. Please watch below:

U.S. Representative James McGovern (D-MA)

Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC), Board Member, Truck Safety Coalition, and Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee – Her father was killed in 1983 in a truck crash in North Carolina

Joan Claybrook,Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Former Administrator, NHTSA

Mark Burton, (Knoxville, TN) Director, Transportation Economics for the Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee

Bruce Gower (Clyde, OH), Chief of Police

James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

 

Truck Size and Weight Press Conference – 04/09/2014

Today, a broad coalition of public health and safety groups, truck drivers, law enforcement, and families of truck crash victims joined U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (DMA) on Capitol Hill to oppose any increases to federal truck size and truck weight limits as Congress debates the next multi-billion dollar surface transportation reauthorization bill. Concerns about a dangerous and deadly policy change in federal law are heightened because the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently conducting a study on truck size and weights which has significant flaws and potential biases …

Download Full Press Release below.

Press

Statements

Fact Sheets

Studies / Research

Advisory: Labor, Law Enforcement, Health and Safety Groups, and Victims of Truck Crashes Join to Oppose Bigger and Heavier Trucks

Contact:  Beth Weaver 301.814.4088 or beth_weaver@verizon.net

UPDATE — MEDIA ADVISORY

BREAKING NEWS – Transportation Research Board (TRB) Peer Review Committee Issues Report Condemning Methods Used in U.S. DOT Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study

Serious Concerns Raised by Safety Groups Validated – Report Exposes Significant Weaknesses which Will Render Study Results Inaccurate and Unreliable

WHAT:           NEWS CONFERENCE – Serious concerns raised by safety groups and others about potential bias and data shortcuts in the conduct of the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study (Study) required by MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (Pub. L. 112-141), have been confirmed today by a newly-released report by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Peer Review Committee.  The report, TRB First Report: Review of Desk Scans, found that there are significant shortcomings in the study methodology which means the Study will not be able to predict the impact of large truck size and weight policy changes on safety, the environment and enforcement with a high degree of accuracy.

The purpose of the Truck Size and Weight Study was to gather objective data on the impact of longer, heavier trucks on safety and the infrastructure.  The results of the Study will likely influence Congress about future policy on truck size and weight limits.  Today’s TRB Report reveals a short-circuiting of the Study process and critical flaws with the Study.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), a broad coalition of law enforcement, labor, victims and health and safety groups will join with U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) to oppose bigger, heavier trucks and discuss the on-going problems plaguing the U.S. DOT study. This comes at a critical time as Congress debates reauthorization of the multi-billion dollar bill that funds surface transportation programs.

Additionally, findings from a recently released report, An Analysis of Truck Size and Weight Issues, Phase I – Safety, will be publicly introduced for the first time. Conducted at Marshall University by the Multimodal Transportation and Infrastructure Consortium (MTIC), a University Transportation Center recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), this report found a higher fatal crash rate when double trailer trucks are involved in a crash as compared to single trailer trucks, and a significantly  higher fatal crash rate for trucks with six or more axles, presumably the heaviest of trucks, as compared to those with five axles.

WHEN:            Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 10 a.m.

WHERE:        Cannon House Office Building, Room 421

 WHO:             U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Jacqueline Gillan, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Emcee)

Georges Benjamin, MD Executive Director, American Public Health Association

James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Bruce Gower (Clyde, OH) Chief of Police

Mark Burton (Knoxville, TN) Director, Transportation Economics for the Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee

Joan Claybrook, Chair, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Former Administrator, NHTSA

Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC) Board Member, Truck Safety Coalition and Safe Highways, and Member, Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee – Her father was killed in 1983 in a truck crash in North Carolina.

 

BACKGROUND:  Truck crash fatalities and injuries have increased three years in a row. The number of fatalities has increased by 16 percent since 2009 from 3,380 to 3,921. The annual number of injured has increased by 40 percent during this time, from 74,000 to 104,000. In fatal crashes involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle, 98 percent of the deaths occur to car occupants.

Polls show a majority of the public does not want bigger trucks, nor do they want to pay for them. Overweight trucks accelerate the destruction of roads and bridges. One third of America’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition and one fourth of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Increasing truck weights will make our roads more deadly and create an unfunded mandate of infrastructure repair and maintenance needs paid by taxpayers.

More information is available at www.trucksafety.org.

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