Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

For AnnaLeah and Mary


Many of you know that I volunteer for the Truck Safety Coalition, a nonprofit in Washington DC that works to make our roads safer by pushing for legislative and rule making changes.  We work both through our members of Congress and through the Department of Transportation and other agencies that regulate the trucking industry.  You know that I do this in memory of my Dad who was killed by a tired trucker in December of 2004.  So when you read a post dedicated to the issue of safety on our roads you run the risk of having to listen to me get on my soapbox.  I’m grateful that you humor me on this because I tend to get a bit passionate, and I know that most of you are already on my side and I’m probably preaching to the choir.  Still…

Humor me one more time and listen to the story of AnnaLeah and Mary.

Last May while my family and I were joined in Washington DC with many other families who have been touched by needless tragedy, while we were sitting in the DOT board room being told by different members of that agency why they hadn’t accomplished tasks they’ve been working on for years, while we listened to excuse after excuse why minimum insurance requirements hadn’t been raised yet, why stronger rear underride guards hadn’t been mandated, why there were no studies of side underride guards at all, why the federally legislated electronic onboard recorders weren’t already implemented ..well… while we were there listening to all these excuses AnnaLeah and Mary were dying in a horrific crash.  Two beautiful girls just gone, another family irreparably changed.

You can hear their mother tell her story here, she does a lovely job, but I understand if you don’t want to listen.  If you want to remain untouched.  If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone.  Best not to know, right?

Well, here’s the short version:  They were driving from North Carolina, heading to Texas for the wedding of their oldest sister.  In Georgia they were hit by another vehicle and were spun under a semi.  If that truck had had underride guards perhaps the girls would not have been killed.  Did you know that every industrialized country in the world has underride guards on their semi trucks?  But not the United States.    Next time you’re driving next to a semi glance over and see where that underside of that trailer would hit you in a crash.  Even a crash that you didn’t cause.

Think about that.  It doesn’t have to be your fault and you can still die.  Family and friends can still die.  Truck companies don’t want to put protection on their vehicles to save lives of people in cars.  They don’t think it’s their responsibility.  They don’t want to incur the costs.  It’s all about profit.  But who is really paying for their profit?  You and I and our families are paying that cost.  Every single day.

OK.  I’ll get off the soapbox now.  Please, just go to this site and read a little bit.  Sign the petition that we plan to take to Secretary of Transportation Foxx in May, one year after AnnaLeah and Mary died.  We want to convince him to join us in the fight on three issues:

1.  Increase the minimum insurance truck companies have to carry to cover the damage to families involved in crashes with them.  It hasn’t been raised in 30 years.

2.  Get the electronic onboard recorders implemented to keep drivers from cheating on their logbooks and driving longer hours than allowed.

3.  Act to improve the safety of trucks by requiring better underride guards.

Even if you can’t listen to AnnaLeah and Mary’s Mom talk about her girls and the trip across country that ended not in a family wedding but in family tragedy, take a moment to read to the end to find out what else you can do to help.  And think about these two beautiful kids next time you’re on the road driving behind or beside or in front of a semi.  Think about these kids and convince yourself it’s not your problem.

I dare you.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

23 thoughts on “For AnnaLeah and Mary

  1. No need to apologize for being passionate about an issue, an art, a hobby, a job — a dog. Things would be different if people were more passionate than complacent. You go, kiddo!


    • Thanks Jamie. Hopefully you were able to sign the petition. We’re trying to get to 15,000 by the end of April. We’re over 10K now. Thanks for your support.


  2. I get so frustrated when I hear most industrialized countries have certain measures in place to protect their people, yet those same measures aren’t present in the US. We’re always told we’re the best country out there, but in so many ways, we’re not. People need to come before big business, and until that happens, we’re not doing our best as a country.

    I’m so sorry to AnnaLeah and Mary’s family have had to join this fight. May they find strength and peace in this curve ball they’ve been thrown.


  3. Being passionate about subjects dear to our hearts is what educates and brings change to the world. Thanks for sharing. Very important topic.


  4. You have captured my heart, as you have before. Passion is what gets things done, so kudos to you.


  5. We read this a couple of days ago and we signed and shared it on facebook. You know we have these huge road trains back home in Australia – 3-4 semi trucks in length which are frightening to try and past. Thankfully they don’t allow them in city limits but they do have speed inhibitors on them, strict time allowances and even though they have the underide guards most also have roo bars or bull bars on the front – at one time they were even more dangerous but know they have shaped them so that cars get pushed to the side. Still not a great outcome but better then going under the truck


  6. Thank you for signing the petition Bree, and even more for sharing it. We’re trying to get to 15,000 signatures by the end of the month, so I’ll probably share it again a couple of times. We only want one signature per person but I think we can get to 15K, we are already over 10K.

    Those truck trains in Australia sound horribly scary. I don’t think we’ll get to that here, but if the American Trucking Association could they’d certainly get longer and heavier than they are now.


  7. Your passion is justified, and the only way to get things done is by passionate people. I’m on my way over to listen and read and sign the petition.


  8. I signed yesterday, when I got an e-mail notice from


  9. Losing t two children on the way to their sisters wedding. I imagine those parents life’s are just as over as their daughters. But what about the trucker? How does he go forward knowing the truck he was driving killed these two girls? How does it effect his family? Preventable accidents of this magnitude must be prevented. No financial cost is to high. Of-course, I’ll sign. Thanks for doing the hard work and sharing it.


  10. Signed. Petition has over 10,600 signatures now 🙂


  11. Pingback: With amazing technology advances, why are we slow as a snail to solve traffic safety problems? | AnnaLeah & Mary

  12. Pingback: Ongoing Tired Trucker (HOS) Controversy on The Hill Proves Need for Vision Zero Rulemaking | AnnaLeah & Mary

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