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Just a few days ago, I finished a ride-along with Leo Wilkins, an owner operator I met at the OOIDA Safety Awards presentation in Kansas City. Leo has logged 21 years of accident-free driving, and from Sunday morning until Monday afternoon, I rode with him from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, to St. Louis--with stops along the way in Harrisburg, Indianapolis, and Riverton, Illinois.

My goal was to experience what drivers experience when they are on the road and see how the programs we put in place at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration really mean to an owner operator.

Photo of Anne Ferro with truck driver Leo Wilkins

FMCSA Administrator (right) joined Leo Wilkins in his 2012 Peterbilt 379 from Marlboro, MD, to St. Louis. Photo courtesy OOIDA.
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Photo of NASCAR number 34 car safer-car-dot-gov marketing

For the second straight season, NASCAR driver David Ragan's #34 car carried safety messaging from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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Air travelers, their loved ones, airlines, pilots, and the men and women here at the Federal Aviation Administration have at least one thing in common: we all want air travel to be as safe as possible. And when it comes to the cockpit, we expect our pilots to have extensive training and the skills and confidence to appropriately handle any situation.

That's why, today, we're introducing a final rule on commercial air carrier pilot training. This new rule requires our pilots to have the most advanced training available to handle emergencies they may encounter. Like earlier rules on pilot fatigue and pilot qualifications, today's rule is in part a response to the tragic, February 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407.

Photo of Michael Huerta at press conferene announcing the new F.A.A. rule. Secretary Foxx stands behind Huerta.

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Most of you are familiar with the high cost of congestion and its impact on our nation’s roadways, our economic competitiveness, the environment, and the time commuters needlessly lose stuck in traffic each year.  According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the total financial cost of congestion in 2011 was $121 billion. Of that total, about $27 billion worth was wasted time and diesel fuel from trucks moving goods on the system. 

So what to do?

I’ll tell you what Northern California has done. Just recently, I joined Congressman Jerry McNerney and other state and local officials at the Port of Stockton for the dedication of M-580, an important Marine Highway project known as the “California Green Trade Corridor.”

Photo of marine corridor with port

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At DOT, we believe that all airline passengers deserve to be treated fairly when they fly.  And we’ve been hard at work introducing consumer protections to ensure equal access to hassle-free transportation for all air travelers.

Today as part of that ongoing effort, we announced a new rule requiring airline websites and automated airport kiosks to be accessible to passengers with disabilities.

Photo of man in a wheelchair using an accessible airport ticketing kiosk

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In addition to raking leaves, one thing many of us can also look forward to this weekend is setting our clocks back one hour. And in addition to checking the batteries on your smoke detectors, the end of Daylight Saving Time should also mean a change in your safe driving habits.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds us that the seasonal combination of increasingly less sunlight and a return to Standard Time means that darkness falls at least an hour earlier.

Graphic of a clock amid fallen leaves

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Tonight, we advise you to be less concerned about that eerie howling in the woods.  There's something scarier on Halloween that we can actually prevent: pedestrian and drunk driving fatalities.

Photo of 4 kids in Halloween costumes

The traffic statistics for Halloween tell a frightening but all-too-true story. 

And that's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges motorists and pedestrians to use extra caution on Halloween night.

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Congratulations are in order this week to Greg Winfree, who was sworn in on Monday as the new Administrator of our Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).

Though prior to Monday, the sign on his door read "Deputy Administrator," Administrator Winfree was very much prepared on his first day. After all, he had already been at RITA's helm in an "Acting" capacity since October 2011.

President Obama nominated him for Administrator in July of this year, and he was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month.

Photo of Secretary Foxx swearing-in Administrator Winfree as his wife holds a Bible
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx administers the oath of office to new RITA Administrator Greg Winfree while his wife, Frances, looks on.
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The Federal Aviation Administration is allowing airlines to expand passengers' use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight--yes, that means while your aircraft is taxiing, taking off, and landing.

Now, expanded use will not happen overnight. But eventually, passengers will be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions.

Photo of a middle aged man playing Angry Birds on his laptop aboard an airplane

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At DOT, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a ride to earn a paycheck, attend school, see the doctor, or buy groceries has that opportunity – whether they live in an urban center, a rural community, or on tribal land.

That’s why I was pleased to speak to the National Tribal Transportation Conference in Prior Lake, Minnesota, about the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to improving tribal transportation resources and safety.

Photo of NHTSA Administrator Strickland at Tribal Transportation event

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