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This past month has been extraordinarily challenging for our fellow citizens in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico, as two extremely powerful hurricanes caused loss of life and extensive damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Impassable road in Puerto Rico

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The Secretary was the keynote speaker celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Seafarers International Union’s Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education at Piney Point, MD, which provides entry level and advanced training for seafarers.  She also delivered remarks at the Annual Convention of the Seafarers International Union of North America.  

Secretary Chao meets with ship operators, SIU

Secretary Chao noted the contributions of Seafarers to the rescue and recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico...

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Young artists - get ready to show off your talent! Federal Motor Carrier Administration's (FMCSA) 2017 Road Safety Art Contest encourages children to use their creativity and artistic skills to raise awareness on how everyone – including large trucks and buses, cars, bicyclists and pedestrians – plays important roles in keeping our roads safe.

Road Safety Art Contest Poster

The contest is open to all students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Previously known as the “Be Ready, Be Buckled” Safety Belt Art Contest, this year’s contest expanded from emphasizing the importance of commercial truck and bus drivers using safety belts to educating passenger vehicle drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to coexist on the same roadways as commercial motor vehicles and work together to reduce crashes.

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Your child’s safety comes first. That’s why one of the first things you did was buy a car seat. You know that car seats protect kids. In fact, in passenger cars, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.

But did you know that many car seats aren’t used properly? If you’ve ever wrestled with a car seat, you know it’s not easy. Call in the pros: Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. During Child Passenger Safety Week, certified technicians will be in your community helping parents protect kids by ensuring their car seats are properly installed. You can check here to find a technician near you.

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At USDOT, our hearts have been heavy with concern for everyone affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.  Many of our colleagues live in the affected areas and many more have been worried about loved ones who do.  So we are connected to these communities along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast not just through our professional responsibilities, but also in deeply personal respects.    

On Labor Day, at 8:14 a.m., I received an e-mail containing the USDOT Crisis Management Center’s (CMC) Hurricane Harvey Executive Summary #21.  Two minutes later, CMC’s Executive Summary #1 for Hurricane Irma appeared in my inbox.  Irma was over 900 miles east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

I looked at those reports and thought about all the people in the CMC and in USDOT’s modes who had begun their hurricane-related efforts before Harvey made landfall.  Now they were mobilizing in the face of another historic storm.  There was no doubt they would perform just as effectively in response to Irma as they had with Harvey.  A strong sense of duty pervades this department and there is no greater calling than helping people in a disaster. 

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Many of America’s leading companies are exploring one of the most exciting innovations in recent transportation history—automated driving systems (ADS)—commonly referred to as automated or self-driving vehicles.


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In the wake of Hurricane Irma's destructive path through the Caribbean, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is supporting storm recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands with a fully-staffed mobile air traffic control tower at Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas. The tower was fully operational at 9:40 a.m. this morning and is now supporting relief flights by the U.S. military, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, general aviation and limited commercial flights.

Picture of mobile air traffic control tower at Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas

The existing air traffic control tower at the airport was badly damaged by the storm, and controllers were managing air traffic from a tent on the airfield for several days before the mobile tower arrived this morning. The FAA is shuttling controllers back and forth from San Juan, Puerto Rico to St. Thomas every day to staff the facility.

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September 11, 2001 was a tragic and horrible day – a day when terrorists attacked America.  I was U.S. Secretary of Labor at the time, holding an early morning staff meeting. When we first heard the news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, many thought it must have been an accident, not a deliberate coordinated attack!  We were so innocent.  But the reality soon dawned upon us as we watched-- in stunned disbelief-- the images of the Twin Towers coming down.  We tried to reach the White House for confirmation -- but couldn’t reach anyone because they were being evacuated.  As people poured out of the U. S. Capitol, and we streamed out of DOL, we looked south toward Virginia to see the smoke rising from the Pentagon. Later we learned of the heroism of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93.

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Now is a great time to review back-to-school safety tips. However they travel to school—by bus, family car, carpool, on bike, or by foot—we need to talk to our kids about safety. From 2006 to 2015, there were 301 school-age children (18 and younger) killed in school transportation-related crashes. Make sure you discuss the tips below with your child to keep them safe on the road to and from school.

By any measure, school buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school. But it’s critical that children are taught how to stay safe when they’re around school buses. Over the last decade, nearly two-thirds of the school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school transportation-related crashes were struck by school buses or vehicles functioning as school buses. Teach your child to always wait five giant steps from the road, look left-right-left to make sure no cars are coming, and wait until the driver signals it’s safe to board.

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Starting today, the U.S. Department of Transportation is launching #TransportationTuesday, a new vehicle to highlight the untold stories and work throughout the Department and its operating administrations. Through our posts, we hope to share the Department’s stories in written word and graphic detail. You can find our content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the #TransportationTuesday webpage – including our first post on first responders and emergency preparedness.

 Image of TransportationTuesday Banner and twitter tag

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