Families seek to reduce fatal tractor-trailer accidents

by: Jim Strickland Updated:


ATLANTA - The aftermath of a deadly crash on a Georgia interstate could lead directly to new laws designed to make the road safer. 
Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland learned federal safety regulators are paying close attention to the deaths of two teenagers from North Carolina after family members delievered a petition with 11,000 signatures.

Mary and Annaleah Karth's family car was pinned beneath a big rig on Interstate 20 in Greene County last year. 

Strickland reported in November that the crucial safety device often fails and can be deadly.

The department's regulatory arm, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has announced it will begin the process of strengthening the standards for the under ride protection bars installed on trailers. The current standards are 15 years old.

"Their lives were abruptly ended and we want to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to others," said Marianne Karth the day the petition was delivered.
The trailer under which the family car was pinned actually complied with current federal standards.  The current standards are 15 years old. In a filing in the Federal Register the government admits Canada requires stronger guards.
"It's painful.  It's painful and it's sad to think that more people had to die before they wound up doing anything about it," said Ken Palazzo, whose son Kyle died under-riding a Hyundai manufactured trailer in 2009. The brand, which confirmed to standards, failed initial tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 
The test trailer's support bolts snapped and its guard buckled in a 30 mph straight-on crash.  The brand has since made improvements.
There's no timetable on when a new law will be put in place.  Regulators may decide to do nothing.

Crash records show six Georgians were killed between 2010 and 2012 in cars pinned under the backs of big trucks.

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