The truck accident crash that’s changing safety laws

In May 2013, Marianne Karth and the three youngest of her nine children were driving from their home in North Carolina to Texas to visit family.

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Warning: although it is not overtly graphic, some images of the crash may be disturbing.

The Karth’s Crown Victoria came upon a traffic back-up on the interstate, the result of an accident two miles ahead.

Behind them, a trucker was pulling a trailer stacked with cars attempted to change lanes.

He swiped the Karth’s car.

It spun and was hit again by the truck, which pushed the back of the car under a second tractor-trailer truck.

AnnaLeah, 17, and Mary, 13, were passengers in the back seat.

AnnaLeah was killed instantly. Mary sustained serious head injuries, and died several days later.

Marianne herself sustained serious head injuries and a collapsed lung; her son, who was in the front seat, was also seriously hurt.

A family takes action

Shortly after the truck crash, Marianne and Jerry Karth learned:

1). Underride guards, which are steel bars along the back of tractor-trailers, are supposed to prevent a car from sliding under the trailer in a truck accident crash – which is exactly what happened to their family.

2.) The truck safety laws that are supposed to regulate these guards are weak and outdated.

3.) The government knows this: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been asking the implement this safety requirement for years.

“Right now it’s safer to hit a brick wall than to run into the back of a truck,” – Marianne Karth

The Karths family decided Mary and AnnaLeah would not die in vain.

They started a campaign to make tractor-trailers safer. They put together a petition, asking the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) to reconsider the underride rule.

It worked.

Thousands of people signed their petition. NHTSA evaluated the request, and decided that the request for improvements in truck guards warrants consideration.

 

Learn more about the Karth family’s campaign for truck safety.

 

 


*Update: The original title of this post was “Family spurs government to action after tragic truck accident”.  It has since been updated to reflect Coluccio Law’s change in language surrounding preventable motor vehicle crashes. 

 

Why we say crash, not accident (and you should, too).