Press Conference on Safety Deficiencies of the
Surface Transportation Investment Act (S.2016)
July 20, 2021

Good morning. I am Eileen Kosc.  Nearly 8 years ago on August 12, I was driving home with my 2 sons, Bryan, age 7 and Brandon, age 12.  We had a wonderful vacation at Ocean City, Maryland, where Bryan finally learned to ride the waves for the first time.  August 12 is a day I will never forget for two reasons. Bryan was not scared of the waves anymore and had so much fun playing with his older brother.  And that was the day my beautiful child died.

We were almost home when in Smyrna, Delaware, we experienced a traffic back-up and cars were at a complete stop.  My car, while almost fully stopped, was hit by an inattentive box truck driver traveling approximately 65 mph at 10 pm that night.  Part of the truck came through the back window striking my son Bryan in the head and he experienced severe head trauma.  The truck continued on and hit four other vehicles before finally coming to a stop.  We were all taken to the hospital with injuries, but Bryan did not survive.   If this box truck had been equipped with automatic emergency braking (AEB), maybe I would still have my Bryan today.

Right now, the U.S. Senate is taking up an infrastructure funding bill that directs our government to require AEB but only on the largest types of trucks.  It excludes this lifesaving technology for Class 3 to 6 trucks, like the one that killed my 7-year-old boy. These trucks also are large and dangerous and responsible for more than a quarter of all the truck crash deaths occurring throughout the nation every year.  Unfortunately, politicians are listening to special trucking interests who want this carve-out. I am speaking out today because I want them to listen to me, a grieving mother whose young son was needlessly killed.  They must act now to save the lives of children and parents by requiring AEB protection in all trucks.  That is an unnecessary sacrifice that I find impossible to accept.

In addition to the Senators who are making this decision, I call on President Biden to support this crucial upgrade.  We both are Delawareans and we both know the pain and suffering of losing precious family members in a preventable truck crash.  Also, like me, the President must feel the frustration of inaction when cost-effective solutions are available to prevent catastrophic truck crash deaths and injuries.

Now is the time to mandate AEB for ALL trucks.  No exceptions and no excuses.  Please do this for Bryan and for other families like ours.  It should not be a difficult decision.