Family petitions for more lights, no ‘dark colors’ on big rigs following fatal crash

From Cathy Forman's Change.org petition

A new petition is asking transportation officials to require several changes to commercial motor vehicles to make them more visible at night in hopes of saving lives.

The Change.org petition was created by Cathy Forman and is addressed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and state transportation departments.

The petition describes an October 2018 crash at Highway 21 and FM 1362 in Burleson County, Texas, that left Forman’s sister Leslie Rosenberg, 62, and niece Sophie, 19, dead.

“A tanker truck pulled onto the unlit highway from a side road, crossing three lanes of traffic.  My sister – driving in the rightmost lane – in a mini van plowed into the underside of the tanker … There were no skid marks.  The reason for there being no skid marks is simple:  my sister never saw the tanker. She never saw the tanker because it was painted dark blue and had no lights on the sides that were clean and clearly visible.  It was the highway version of a Stealth vehicle,” Forman writes.

Forman goes on to argue that if the tanker had been painted silver and had “lights illuminating the entire outline of the tanker” the crash could have been avoided.

The petition asks transportation officials to require the following three changes for tankers and tractor trailers:

  1. Have lights down the entire sides of the vehicle so that drivers can see the presence and the length of these vehicles at night
  2. Are not painted in dark colors
  3. Have regular inspections on the presence of working side lights and clean retroreflective tape – these could be part of the Weigh Station process, vehicle registration, etc.

The petition also points to two statistics that relate to fatal truck crashes and night time driving:

In 2018, 96% of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck were occupants of the passenger vehicles. (IIHS, 2019) (Source: https://driving-tests.org/driving-statistics/

In 2018, 37% of all fatal crashes, involving large trucks occurred at night (6:00 pm to 6:00 am). (FMCSA, 2016) (Source: https://driving-tests.org/driving-statistics/

The petition currently has more than 6,800 signatures.