In : "Last Ride Home"
SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
BLOG by Virginia Chomo
I have exciting news for the Trucking industry. Being part of Trucker Charity has gotten me even more involved with the trucking world than just being a part of a trucking family. The ones that have really made a huge impact to my heart is being part of our “Last Ride Home” program. Dealing with the unfortunate families that have lost their loved ones out on the road has made me question what is happening to our Drivers. I have been a truck driver; I am third generation of a four generation trucking family, and have gained a multitude of truck driving friends and families of drivers.
To many of our drivers are developing heart disease, vascular disease, breathing problems and other conditions that have been too easy for the general public to blame other things than what I have come to believe is long term exposure or frequent exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning. I have no proof, there are no studies, no data and no one has any sure answers. I have talked to coroners, unless there are clear signs of extreme exposure it is not tested for. Here is the data I have found.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:
Dull headache Weakness Dizziness Nausea Vomiting Shortness of breath Confusion Blurred vision Loss of consciousness
In my research I came across stories like these:
Well all this was unacceptable. I didn’t want it to get tied up and as so often is the case if you are not a person affiliated with this industry. So I called UL…. That started the exciting journey I have been on. One Feb 24th, I talked to a product specialist. I talked with him and told him what I was after and what was needed and he told me that I needed to talk to the head engineer that developed the standards or smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. I said great. Thinking this would take me forever. I was wrong. I gave me his name, phone number and e mail address. I called him and left a message and had plans to call after a few days. Well to my amazement he called at 7:30 the next morning. We discussed what I was looking for and what we needed. He was very understanding and supportive.
It has been an experience that I will never forget. I was accepted to the STP (Standards Technical Panel) committee that the UL uses to assist them to basically cover all the bases for the certification process. These teams are made up of professional and technical people from different corporations and manufactures and industries all over the United States. I was invited on March 17th and 18th 2014 to Raleigh NC for a meeting and to give a presentation about what I was asking them to do. It had to go before this panel for approval in order to proceed with STP and UL. I of course accepted. I decided to fly there because of the time situation as I was also getting things together to go to Mats in Louisville and driving to both places from Michigan would just be too much for me. I stayed at the Doubletree/Hilton. The place was so beautiful. The meeting was being held in one of their ballrooms. It was a journey getting there. The plane was delayed out of Grand Rapids which knocked my connecting flight out of whack, so they rerouted me through LaGuardia in NY. I finally got to the hotel about midnight, my luggage got there the next morning about noon. I went to the meeting, although a little late, but just in time for lunch which alone was quite a spread. It was quite interesting and informative. I had a name plate and got quite a few questions about who Trucker Charity was. It was nice to see how many were interested. The reason I was there was on the agenda so it helped peak there interest in what I was after. My turn was last on the agenda, per my request. I gave a presentation on the need for these in semis. I started with numbers of semis on the road and drivers. I showed pictures of truck fires and had stories about our “LAST RIDE HOME” and articles on carbon monoxide illnesses and effects. I gave several personal stories that also demonstrated the need. One about my brother that suffered a stroke after prolonged exposure to CO, and one President of Trucker Charity, Inc , Lance Wood, had told me about how his dog had saved his and his wife, Kacie, lives by waking them up to find their truck full of fumes from a neighboring APU unit’s exhaust thus saving their lives. In the end I asked them to please help save our drivers. It was well received, and there were questions and discussion on possible solutions and I told them that I would have a semi truck there afterwards. The certification process has been accepted and has already started. I have been asked to head the task group that will work with UL to get the certification we need to get UL Standards set for affordable Carbon Monoxide and Smoke detectors for Semi Trucks. My son Joseph Shelton showed up, albeit it was an hour and a half after the meeting because of delays of traffic and construction getting there; it let the 12 of them that stayed see for themselves the many obstacles that our people are exposed to. My son is very mechanical capable as well as a driver so all that was interested could see one up close and he went over everything from under the hood to the back, including an APU. There were several UL members, scientific/technical persons, and manufactures that stayed over. All I can say for certain is the testing is proceeding rapidly and several manufactures have shown sincere interest in this project. I will keep you update through this blog as things progress.
This is a huge step in the protection of our Truck Drivers. Not Just in the United States but possibly worldwide.
Diesel Fumes Do Kill: A Case of Fatal Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Directly Attributed to Diesel Fuel Exhaust with a 10-year Retrospective Case and Literature Review*
Article first published online: 17 JUL 2008
© 2008 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 53, Issue 5, pages 1206–1211, September 2008