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Safer People

Encourage safe, responsible behavior by people who use our roads and create conditions that prioritize their ability to reach their destination unharmed.

The safety of people is U.S. DOT’s core mission. Enabling people to be safer includes actions to encourage safer behaviors among the driving public, commercial drivers, and all road users. People generally use the roadway system in a safe manner on any given trip, but mistakes, lapses in judgement, and other more significant risky behaviors still occur. The three most frequent and persistent behavioral safety factors in fatal crashes are people in motor vehicles not wearing seat belts, driving while impaired from alcohol, and speeding.


Risky behaviors are a significant contributor to roadway fatalities.

2019 Fatalities Involving Risky Behaviors Bar Graph

*At least one driver with Blood Alcohol Concentration .08 g/dL or higher

Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System


Through the NRSS, the Department will focus on using all available tools, including education, outreach, engineering solutions, and enforcement to address persistent behavioral safety issues. A robust and comprehensive approach to influencing human behavior also requires deepening our understanding of underlying causes through research.

Key Departmental Actions to Enable Safer People

  1. Leverage new funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for behavioral research and interventions, and use education, technical assistance, and outreach to disseminate information to partners. Leverage public health approaches for implementation by engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders using a diversity of interventions. For alcohol and drug impaired driving research and interventions, focus on developing means to accurately measure impairment, reducing drug and alcohol impaired driving recidivism, as well as promoting assessment and treatment of drug and alcohol substance use disorders by working with the behavioral and public health communities. Support research and development of technology to detect and prevent alcohol and drug impaired driving.
  2. Update Departmental safety messaging so that it is unified across the entire Department and reflects the Safe System approach principle of human fragility.
  3. Implement the October 2021 final rule requiring State Driver Licensing Agencies to access and use information obtained through the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and take licensing actions against commercial drivers who have drugs or alcohol violations in the system and are not cleared to return to duty.
  4. Implement the July 2021 final rule requiring State Driver Licensing Agencies to develop systems for the electronic exchange of driver history record information. Work with State Driver Licensing Agencies to improve accuracy of CDL driver records and to evaluate additional opportunities to use these more accurate records to take unsafe drivers off the road more expeditiously.
  5. Work with State Driver Licensing Agencies to improve the accuracy of non-CDL driver records, and to evaluate additional opportunities to use these more accurate records to take unsafe drivers off the road more expeditiously. Further encourage State Driver Licensing Agencies to identify and educate repeat offenders of impaired driving and other behavioral safety issues.
  6. Support the development and accessibility of training designed to enhance equity in law enforcement.
  7. Encourage States to apply for the Section 1906 grant program that funds the collection of information on the race and ethnicity of the driver in motor vehicle stops.
  8. Increase commercial motor vehicle highly visible traffic enforcement against risky driver behavior focused on high crash locations.
Last updated: Thursday, January 27, 2022