Underride Semi Collision

The Road Crash Victim Bill: A New Era in Road Safety and Advocacy

In a landmark move, U.S. lawmakers have introduced the DOT Victim and Survivor Advocate Act, targeting the growing concerns around road crash fatalities. This proposed legislation comes in the wake of increasing semi-truck collision deaths in Kansas and Missouri. At Kendall Law Group, our Kansas City semi-truck accident injury trial lawyers strive to keep you updated on critical road safety issues. This act aims to enhance road safety and give a dedicated voice to victims of vehicular accidents through the establishment of a career advocate within the Department of Transportation (DOT).

A Personal Tragedy as a Catalyst

Marianne Karth is an advocate for road safety who became involved in this cause after experiencing a personal tragedy. On May 4, 2013, Marianne and her family were involved in a severe traffic accident caused by a negligent truck driver who failed to stop in time for slowed traffic. The collision resulted in a devastating underride crash, where her car was forced underneath a truck’s trailer. While Marianne and her son, who was riding in the front seat survived the accident, her two daughters, who were in the back seat tragically lost their lives.

Since the accident, Karth has dedicated herself to improving truck safety regulations and advocating for measures that could prevent similar tragedies. She has been actively involved in pushing for legislation and regulations that enhance roadway safety, including the introduction of the DOT Victim and Survivor Advocate Act.

Legislative Framework

Introduced by Senator Ben Ray Luján and Representative Steve Cohen, the DOT Victim and Survivor Advocate Act aims to create a non-political, career-based advocate role within the DOT. This advocate will serve as a liaison between the DOT and road crash victims, ensuring their voices are heard and their recommendations considered in national road safety policies. The primary responsibilities of this advocate include:

  • Explaining DOT processes and technical information in plain language;
  • Publishing educational materials to improve stakeholder understanding of DOT activities;
  • Consulting with the DOT Secretary on stakeholder appointments to advisory committees; and
  • Regularly meeting with the DOT Secretary to discuss and resolve stakeholder concerns.

Significance of the Legislation

Creating a dedicated advocate within the DOT represents a significant step towards making road safety policies more responsive to the needs of victims and their families. This role provides a direct communication channel between victims and the DOT, ensuring that real-world impacts of road safety policies are considered in decision-making processes. Such an approach can led to more effective and empathetic road safety regulations.

Support from Safety Organizations

The legislation has received support from several safety organizations, including the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the Institute for Safer Trucking. These organizations recognize the importance of a dedicated advocate to address the complexities and emotional toll of road crashes. Eric Hein, a board member of the Institute for Safer Trucking, emphasized the critical need for a single point of contact within the DOT to support families affected by vehicle crashes.

Underride Crashes: A Critical Concern

Underride crashes, where a passenger vehicle slides underneath a truck trailer, are particularly deadly and highlight the need for stringent safety measures. Marianne Karth’s tragic experience underscores the necessity for improved regulations and advocacy. The proposed legislation aims to address these specific types of crashes by ensuring that safety recommendations from victims’ families are taken seriously and implemented.

Roles and Responsibilities of the National Roadway Safety Advocate

The national roadway safety advocate will have several key responsibilities, including:

  • Communication: Simplifying and explaining DOT processes and technical information to stakeholders;
  • Education: Publishing accessible and easy-to-understand educational materials on DOT activities and procedures;
  • Consultation: Recommending stakeholders for advisory roles on roadway safety committees; and
  • Advocacy: Regularly meeting with the DOT Secretary to discuss and address stakeholder concerns, summarizing input from various safety advocates, and recommending solutions.

Impact on Road Safety Policy

Institutionalizing the role of a victim and survivor advocate aims to create a more empathetic and responsive road safety policy framework. This can lead to better enforcement of existing regulations, the introduction of new safety measures, and overall improvements in road safety for all users. The advocate will also play a crucial role in ensuring that the DOT remains accountable to the public and considers the human impact of its policies.

Practical Advice for Road Users

While legislative efforts are crucial, individual road users can also contribute to road safety by:

  • Staying informed about new safety regulations and technologies;
  • Practicing safe driving habits and remaining vigilant on the road; and
  • Supporting advocacy groups and participating in road safety initiatives

It is essential to stay informed about legislative developments that can influence road safety. By supporting the DOT Victim and Survivor Advocate Act, you can help ensure that the voices of road crash victims and their families are heard and that meaningful changes are made to protect all road users. Reach out to your local representatives to express your support for this critical legislation and join advocacy groups dedicated to improving road safety standards.

Kansas City Trucking Accident Trial Lawyers

At Kendall Law Group LLC, we understand the profound impact truck accidents have on victims and their families. Our dedicated team of Kansas City truck accident injury trial lawyers is here to help you navigate the legal landscape, fight for your rights, and seek the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or death in a collision caused by a commercial vehicle, we are here to help you put your life back together. Contact us for a free consultation at (816) 531-3100.

Additional Resources

NHTSA Denies Families’ Request for Truck Rear Guard Probe Amid Rising Semi Collision Fatalities

The Rising Danger of Semi-Truck Fatalities in Kansas and Missouri

Skilled Truck Accident Injury Lawyers In Kansas City, Missouri

Posted in