Don't Get Taken for an Underride

Our elected officials and the Department of Transportation must make our roads safer by enforcing current laws andrequiring more truck inspections.

Current truck size and weight limits and the freeze on longer combination vehicles must be maintained.

Criminal penalties should be imposed on truck drivers and companies when their negligence results in death or injury.

No commercial motor vehicle shall be stopped, parked or left standing, whether attended or unattended, excluding necessary traffic stops, on the traveled portion of any roadway or the shoulder of any roadway, when the speed limit of that roadway exceeds 25 m.p.h., except while in the act of loading or unloading, or equipment failure prevents the movement of the vehicle to a safer location. The driver shall as soon as possible activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers of the stopped vehicle and continue the flashing until the vehicle is moved. The driver shall as soon as possible, but within 5 minutes, place the warning devices with which his vehicle is equipped upon the roadway, conforming to standards and distances prescribed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, parts 392 and 393, and continue their use until the vehicle can be moved. The driver of the vehicle must spare no effort, in moving the vehicle as soon as is possible.

Retroreflective tape should be placed on the rear and sides of all commercial motor vehicles.

Flags, triangles, or flares should be properly displayed, whenever and wherever, a commercial motor vehicle is stopped, parked, or disabled on the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway.

When the front bumper of a commercial motor vehicle exceeds 16 inches from the ground a front underride guard should be required.

Underride guards should be placed on the side, and rear of all commercial motor vehicles, they should be energy absorbing, and no higher than 16 inches from the road. They should be constructed to withstand a major impact and extend to the edges of the vehicle.

The National Transportation Safety Board should be mandated to investigate a minimum number of truck crashes and include a truck safety advocate on its board.

Victim/survivors of all transportation tragedies should be written into the legal charters and missions of the Department of Transportation. Victim liaison personnel should be placed high up in the D.O.T., and in the case of commercial motor vehicles, in every regional Office of Motor Carriers.

In fatal truck crashes, when requested by survivors, the Office of Motor Carriers should be mandated to investigate the crash. Local officials are untrained, and often unwilling to investigate commercial vehicle violations.

Victim/survivors or their legitimate advocacy groups must be mandatorily involved in all decisions, committees, studies, funding, programs, grants, etc. of the D.O.T.

Safety education efforts should be directed to local law enforcement, which by admission are not enforcing the safety regulations. Parking violations, as an example, usually occur on the millions of miles of local roadways, not highways.

Minimum fines and or criminal penalties should be set at a national level for safety violations committed by interstate motor carriers.

During the evening hours, trucks blocking all through lanes in any one direction, on any highway, when performing maneuvering procedures, shall be required to post flares or triangles in all directions of affected oncoming traffic, with a flagman at a minimum distance of 500 feet towards oncoming traffic in the blocked lanes.

Parking lights shall be lit during the time lights are required, when parking or disabling the vehicle in the traveled portion or shoulder of a highway in all locations and lighting conditions.

tax credit should be available for expensive safety equipment upgrades.

Low-interest government loans should be made available to companies showing cash flow problems when upgrading to targeted new safety equipment.

 Headlamps shall be lit at all times a commercial vehicle is traveling upon a highway. 

We all need to work together for safer roadways.