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For more than half a century, seat belts have been commonplace in cars, and they have saved thousands of lives and prevented millions of injuries. Now, thanks to a final rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts will be saving lives and preventing injuries in America's motorcoaches, too.

NHTSA's rule requires lap and shoulder seat belts for every passenger and driver seat on newly manufactured motorcoaches and other large buses by November 2016. The rule will improve road safety by reducing the risk of death and serious injury in frontal crashes and lowering the risk of occupant ejection in rollover crashes.

As Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro said, “Buckling up is the most effective way to prevent deaths and injuries in all vehicular crashes, including motorcoaches."

Continue Reading Seat belt rule another step ››
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Cross-posted courtesy Huffington Post.

Nothing gives you a new perspective on life like raising children. Mine have made me look at almost everything in a new light, including technology. As the father of two young kids, I know the invaluable role that technology plays in keeping families close.

It helps keep us close when I'm traveling -- I can call to hear about their day, and I even maintain a running game of Words with Friends with my daughter (she lets me win). But here's what I also know: As much as mobile devices can keep families connected, there is one place where they can disconnect families permanently.

And that's on the road.

Photo of texting driver

Continue Reading Winning The Distraction ››
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With the U.S. population projected to grow by 90 million people over the next 30 years, and strong evidence that access to affordable transportation plays a significant role in social and economic mobility, we must face this challenge head on. Even in a difficult fiscal and political climate.

But, let's remember one of the key lessons in American history: challenging times can present opportunities to find new allies, a fresh vision, and creative, new approaches to long-standing problems . I am proud to say that this Department is pressing forward in a number of exciting and transformative policy areas. And yesterday, at the launch of Transportation For America's (T4A) new alliance to help revitalize our nation's investment in transportation, I highlighted one of my favorites --Ladders of Opportunity. 

As a former mayor, Transportation Secretary Foxx is especially focused on transportation investments and policies that connect people safely to jobs, education, and health care; that grow local economies and the U.S. economy; and that improve quality of life.

Transportation for America logo

Continue Reading Transportation Investment ››
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From the President and Vice President to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, and many others at DOT, the Obama Administration is working to keep the economy--and the freight that fuels it--moving forward. From ports to rail to roads, America needs a coordinated effort to keep our economic arteries flowing as effectively as possible.

Yesterday, as part of that ongoing effort, we proposed designating a series of highways as a Primary Freight Network.

Photo of truck approaching cargo port

Designating these sections of highway will help the States direct their road maintenance and improvement resources where they can have the biggest economic impact. As Administrator Mendez said, "By identifying critical freight highways, we will focus more attention on the routes upon which America’s businesses rely."

Continue Reading Primary Freight Network ››
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With the opening Friday of a fourth tube in the Caldecott Tunnel, commuters in the Bay Area will turn the page on a new chapter in transportation.

It’s a chapter about the effectiveness of partnership, a partnership of dedicated workers, a 130-ton rock-cutting drill, the state of California, and –I’m proud to say– the U.S. Department of Transportation. How effective? As the Contra Costa Times reported, the new lanes opened ahead of schedule and under budget.

Photot of workers putting finishing touches on Caldecott Tunnel tube
Workers put finishing touches on new Caldecott bore; all photos courtesy Caltrans.
Continue Reading 4th bore partnership helps ››
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Yesterday, I addressed the members of the National League of Cities, and it was a pleasure to be among leaders who understand the value of investing in America's transportation. Because League members know that, last year, drivers in this country's cities spent an average of 42 hours stuck in traffic. That's more than a week of full-time work.

Photo of a congested suburban road

This isn't to say the United States doesn't have the best transportation system in the world. We do.

Rather, the problems we’re witnessing in our cities are in large part problems of congestion. And those are problems that we know won’t go away on their own; in fact, population pressures will make them worse.

By 2042, America’s population will swell by nearly a third, up almost 90 million –with 19 new metropolitan areas reaching the million-person mark...

Continue Reading Working together, investing ››
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"Significant and Seamless" initiative will accelerate new technologies to reduce key safety risks

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that, while highway deaths over the past five years continue to remain at historic lows, the number of deaths on U.S. roads increased to 33,561 in 2012, up 3.3 percent from 2011.

To a Department where safety is always our number one priority, any increase in the number of traffic fatalities is cause for concern. 

That’s why NHTSA today announced a new effort that involves the agency and the automotive industry working together to aggressively accelerate technologies that would improve safety by targeting some of the most persistent causes of traffic fatalities.

Graphic of crash avoidance technology

Continue Reading NHTSA seeks to improve ››
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Historic consumer rules keep air travelers protected

The holiday travel season is upon us, and it's an exciting time of year for visiting loved ones, hitting the slopes, or escaping the cold.  Wherever you and your family are heading, we at DOT want your travel to be as stress-free as possible.

That’s why we’re pleased to report that airline consumer complaints filed with our Aviation Consumer Protection Division between January and September 2013 were down 14.1 percent from the first nine months of 2012. In addition, complaints filed in September 2013 were down 6.8 percent from September 2012.

Photo of travelers moving through airport

Continue Reading As holiday travel heats up ››
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I often say that, for all the work we do at the Department of Transportation, safety is by far the most important. 

Nothing else comes close. 

The fact is, we could have the most state-of-the art vehicles in the world, but none of it would matter if the roads they drove on weren't safe --or vice versa. And thanks to the efforts of this Department and of automobile and truck manufacturers, State DOTs, and so many others, we've been able to make progress through the decades toward greater safety.

Photo of a road crew installing safety edge pavement

The work of making our roads safer doesn’t get easier--the more progress we make, the harder it is to move the needle further on safety.

Continue Reading 2013 National Roadway ››
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Today, the Obama Administration is holding its 5th Tribal Nations Conference, and we at DOT are proud to be part of the President’s initiative to build a more respectful, collaborative relationship that moves our nations closer to our shared goals. One of those shared goals is improving transportation.

And that is a key part of our mission at DOT. We are committed to ensuring that everyone –regardless of where you live– has access to safe transportation.

Today, I’m happy to announce the latest evidence of that commitment as we award $8.6 million to 183 tribes to increase transportation safety on their lands. These new funds will help improve and protect the roads for everyone who depends on them.

Photo of Secretary Foxx at the White House Tribal Nations Conference
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior.
Continue Reading DOT awards road safety ››
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