It’s happening regularly across our country. Over and over, it seems daily, I read the stories. This one happened yesterday, and not so far from me.
Look at the photos; the SUV is wedged entirely under the trailer of the semi truck. It was a dark and rainy morning, the SUV was traveling on the divided highway when the semi pulled out in order to make a turn.
The SUV driver is dead but he might have had a chance if the truck had side guards installed on the trailer. Most industrialized countries around the world have these safety devices on their trucks.
Our country doesn’t, because the trucking industry protests the weight that would be added to the truck. They say the guards will cost them money – by making those loads that are already at maximum weight be reduced. They say the guards will mean more trucks are on the road.
The truth is most trucks aren’t at the maximum weight and won’t have to decrease their load. The truth is we could probably get the weight limit increased for the 800 pounds side guards might add. The truth is we might be able to get tax credits or other benefits for truck companies willing to help make our roads safer.
Some truck companies and trailer manufacturers are beginning to consider adding guards, not because it’s legislated, but because it’s the right thing to do. They’re willing to absorb the weight and the cost because it could save lives.
There are a lot of potential solutions, but none of them came in time for the driver of this SUV. He was 75, the same age my dad was when he was hit from behind by a semi and pushed into the semi in front of him. This man’s name is William. So was my dad’s.
It just hits so hard. Another man, probably a husband, a father, maybe a grandfather, someone’s brother, neighbor, church friend, local man about town, another man is dead.
And it didn’t have to happen.
We’re working on it but we’re slow and we’re fighting uphill. We don’t have the money that the truck industry has, and it’s harder for us to influence decision makers.
But we’re not giving up and we’re not going away.
Please, if you can, support our efforts. We’re working both with industry directly and within government to get side guards installed on trailers. You can donate to the Truck Safety Coalition via PayPal at their website. Funds donated will go toward our work to make the highways safer for all of us.
And there’s another way to help. A bill is being worked on that will require side guards, and I’ll ask you to call your Senator to ask for support. I’ll let you know when to call.
In the meantime – stay safe.
October 12, 2017 at 8:44 am
How sad! Am absolutely with you on the need for the guards. No matter how careful YOU may be there are others not watching out for you and making foolish decisions.
I also cringe every time there is a rear-end collision with a truck and the vehicle is wedged underneath, because of texting while driving. Just this morning I was trying to pull into a convenience store parking lot and a woman is in her SUV, blocking the entrance/exit, just sitting there with her head down over the glowing screen. I honked, someone behind her honked and she just sat there, tapping away. Being connected 24/7 is actually a curse.
October 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm
Distracted driving in all sorts of forms is a huge problem among truck drivers and car drivers alike.
We’re also working on stronger rear guards, there’s a better standard now and we’re working to get more trailers outfitted with better guards to keep cars from going under a trailer from the rear.
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October 12, 2017 at 11:52 am
DAMN. But — more work to do….
October 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm
Heartbreaking. And yes, always more work to do.
October 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm
It’s hard to read that story and see those photos. What a crying shame! There, but for the grace of God, go any one of us. Wish we could turn the clock back and haul stuff across the country by rail, not those big rigs!!
October 13, 2017 at 6:56 pm
Yes, it can happen to anyone, even the most careful driver. Often we hear talk about wishes that there were separate roads for trucks, to keep them away from the rest of us. We remind those people that that’s called a train. Sigh.
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October 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm
You’re right — it didn’t have to happen. My heart still hurts, and now more of us will have hurting hearts. This doesn’t have to happen.
I thank those trucking companies that are considering adding the guards because it is the right thing to do. I want to assume their vision, like our vision, is safer roads.
I hope their empathy and their vision is contagious.
October 13, 2017 at 6:57 pm
I hope that we’ll be able to formally thank those truck trailer manufacturers and truck companies that decide to use the additional safety features on their own because it’s the right thing to do.
October 12, 2017 at 10:31 pm
I am so sorry for the loss of your father and this too sad reminder of another senseless loss. I hope for headway on your quest for appropriate safety standards.
October 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm
Thank you Martha. We’re working hard, though sometimes it feels like we’re making no headway. And then there will be a breakthrough and we get hopeful.