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The Heavy Toll of Motor Vehicle Crashes in the U.S.

Every life lost on America’s highways is a tragedy that causes immeasurable pain to the families and loved ones of the person who died. Our work at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—making vehicles and drivers safer—is about sparing Americans such terrible heartache.

Fatalities and injuries aren’t the only costs involved in vehicle crashes; there are also enormous economic and societal costs to take into account.

According to a study we released last week, The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010, motor vehicle crashes cost Americans $871 billion in economic loss and harm every year. This includes $277 billion in economic costs –that’s nearly $900 for each person living in the United States based on calendar year 2010 data– and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries...

Photo of child on stretcher after crash

News Digest DOT 18-14

DOT to Call for Innovative Research Proposals from Small Businesses.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) seeks innovative proposals from small businesses interested in conducting research needed by the Department’s agencies.  On February 4, DOT’s John A.

V2V: Cars Communicating to Prevent Crashes, Deaths, Injuries

Communication is a key ingredient for success: in business, in personal relationships, and even in sports—as we saw in last night’s Super Bowl. Soon, it will also become an essential factor in automotive safety due to a technology known as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications.

Rendering of a vehicle braking abruptly and sending a signal to vehicles behind it via V-2-V technology

V2V allows cars to “talk” to one another—exchanging basic safety-relevant data, such as speed, direction, and relative position—10 times per second. When cars share this information at such a fast rate, they can "see" all of the vehicles around them, sense the possibility of a crash, and warn drivers to avoid the crash.

Today, I was proud to announce another big step in V2V: After years of research and unprecedented coordination between industry and across government, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is announcing its decision to begin taking the next steps toward implementing V2V technology in all new cars and trucks...

RITA becomes Office of Research and Technology

Today, I want to share news of a big change at DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration: as part of the Omnibus bill President Obama signed into law earlier this month, RITA was elevated into the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology.

While our name has changed, our mission remains the same. And now that we have been integrated into what we at DOT call OST--the Office of the Secretary of Transportation--we hope to have even more opportunities to collaborate with all modes of transportation on research, innovation, and technology.

2013 DOT Year in Review: RITA advances US transportation through research, technology

Photo of RITA Administrator Greg WinfreeYear in and year out, DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) coordinates the Department's research programs. From the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to universities across the country, we're working hard to advance new technologies and push the boundaries of American transportation.

I'm happy to say that 2013 was another productive year here at RITA with:

  • A new round of grants to University Transportation Centers;
  • Further developments in connected vehicles; and
  • A strong effort to improve safety through apps using publicly available data...

Greg Winfree sworn in as Administrator of RITA

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.

University Transportation Centers help solve nation’s transportation challenges

The innovations that we need to advance America's transportation system require research --research in new technologies, new materials, and new methods. And DOT is proud to work with educators, students, and researchers across the country to support our nation’s transportation goals.

Over the last 25 years, DOT has supported the crucial work done by students and faculty at America's research institutions through the University Transportation Centers (UTC) program.  And yesterday, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) announced approximately $63 million in grants to 33 UTCs to advance research and education programs addressing critical transportation challenges facing our nation, from environmental sustainability to safety. 

The participating universities play a vital role in developing both our transportation system and a professional workforce with the expertise and knowledge to tackle the transportation challenges of the future.

Photo montage of transportation modes