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Sometimes, wisdom comes from unexpected corners. That's why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt partnership invite kids every year to create safety posters for the "Be ready. Be buckled." art contest. And this year's contest has begun!

The contest educates kids about highway safety and asks them to urge their parents and neighbors to buckle up for every trip, especially if they are commercial drivers. It's open from now through February 28, 2015, to students in kindergarten through sixth grade with relatives or sponsors in the commercial truck and bus industries. You can see the entry form for complete rules.

We know that seat belts save lives. But according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, nearly 700 occupants of large trucks were killed in crashes. Further analysis by the FMCSA reveals that approximately 40 percent of those drivers were not wearing safety belts...

Winning poster from 2010

Continue Reading Kids invited to share ››
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So, you've spent your Sunday setting the clocks in your home back an hour. Now, it's time to think about the road safety consequences of the time change and the onset of less and less daylight as fall turns to winter.

Generally, evening hours are the deadliest time on the road, so drivers and pedestrians should be on guard with the end of Daylight Saving Time when we essentially add an hour of evening.

The time change means that darkness abruptly falls an hour early. So today, if you're used to driving around in afternoon light at 4 p.m., the roads are going to look a lot different in what will now be evening light. Adjust your driving accordingly...

Graph showing time-of-day frequency for pedestrian fatailities in 2012

Continue Reading When the clocks change, so ››
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Remember when the Highway Trust Fund was running out of money, and state departments of transportation warned they’d have to cancel projects? That was a dark hour for America. But some thought that when Congress passed a ten-month funding patch in August, the worst was over.

It wasn’t over. Not even close. 

The Tennessee DOT is delaying $400 million in road projects. It turns out, the patch Congress passed didn’t end the uncertainty over transportation funding; it perpetuated it. As TDOT Commissioner John Shroer wrote in a letter to state legislators last Friday, "The instability in the flow of these dollars is certainly having an impact in Tennessee."

At USDOT, we knew this would happen. We said this would happen.

And now we’re seeing the terrible – and very predictable – outcome. 

Letter from TDOT to Tennessee state legislators

Continue Reading Not hiring: A Tennessee ››
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Is there any holiday that’s more fun than Halloween? My son doesn’t think so. Let’s see...he gets to dress up, act silly, and eat candy! Hard to top that.

But whether you’re a kid out trick-or-treating or a kid at heart attending a costume party, we should all recognize that several factors combine on Halloween that could ruin a good time:

  • Halloween arrives just as the days get shorter, and it signals that nights will soon fall even earlier thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time.
  • The holiday also means more pedestrians on the road—and many are excited young children who don’t always walk as safely as they should.
  • Even scarier, Halloween falling on a weekend night means more adults enjoying parties. Often, that involves alcohol—and then getting behind the wheel.

Halloween can unleash a witch’s brew of roadway dangers...

Photo of trick-or-treaters

Continue Reading Stay Safe this Halloween: ››
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Today in Throwback Thursday-land, we're dialing up a Fast Lane post from September 6, 2013.

Writing about a TIGER grant for Lee County, Florida, road and trail improvements to save the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists, Secretary Foxx says, "We want to be a partner with Lee County in improving the safety and vitality of the community."

That's exactly what the TIGER program--created by the Recovery Act that President Obama signed within less than a month of taking office--has allowed us to do.

And if Congress passes the Obama Administration's GROW AMERICA Act, we'll be able to continue supporting state and local efforts like those in Lee County. Efforts that boost safety, create jobs, and increase affordable transportation options for America's middle class.

Lee County TIGER Award an Investment in Safety

Thanks in part to DOT's TIGER program, Lee County, Florida, is on the brink of transformation...

Continue Reading Throwback Thursday: Lee ››
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When our transportation system is not as efficient as it needs to be, we don't just calculate the cost in congestion on our roadways. We must also measure it by our inability to get essential supplies to our armed forces overseas. The ability to move the food, equipment, and supplies our forces need to do their jobs and safely return home is a critical requirement for our nation’s transportation system.

When our transportation system is stronger, our military is stronger.

That's why the Department of Transportation works closely with the U.S. Transportation Command to ensure that America can meet its strategic deployment requirements and sustain our military. And yesterday, at the Fall Meeting of the National Defense Transportation Association and USTRANSCOM, it was clear that we must continue to do so...

Photo from wheelhouse of military vessel in busy port
Photo credit USTRANSCOM.
Continue Reading When our transportation is ››
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Eastern North Carolina struggles with persistent poverty.  The region was hit hard by the recession.

But what I saw during my visits with Congressman G.K. Butterfield to the towns of Kinston and Mount Olive really impressed me.  Eastern North Carolina is bouncing back.  And they’re doing it by rebuilding their economy around transportation.

Federal investments in passenger rail and transit are benefiting the region. In fact, in other cities like Los Angeles and Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh, passengers are riding trains that, in a sense, are powered by Mount Olive company, IMPulse...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at ImPulse
Photo courtesy U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield!
Continue Reading Eastern North Carolina ››
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If you're interested in transportation, one of the more exciting conferences that's come down the pike lately is this week's Transforming Access, Mobility, and Delivery in Cities forum in New York City. This meeting seeks to turn research on 21st century urban transportation into action that can make a practical difference for the people living in our cities.

I couldn't be happier to join a group of committed people who are putting their shoulders into the door of opportunity and holding it open just a little wider so more people can step through. Because 'access' means opportunity, and increasing accesss and connecting more people to more opportunity is exactly what we're trying to do at DOT...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at Transforming Access conference; courtesy Don Chen
Continue Reading Want 21st Century ››
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When Congress passed the current surface transportation law, MAP-21, they authorized a new role for the Federal Transit Administration: transit safety oversight. Since then, we have enthusiastically embraced that new safety mission and have committed to ensuring that safety will be the FTA's highest priority. We serve the public in a new way, and we take that seriously.

That new safety oversight authority must have the proper foundation, and we have called on the best and brightest to help lay that foundation. Today I had the opportunity to take part in the latest Transit Advisory Committee on Safety meeting.  TRACS, as it is called, informs and assists the Federal Transit Administration in strengthening our transit safety program.

TRACS was organized in December 2009 to provide information, advice, and recommendations to the Department on all aspects of transit safety. TRACS members consist of a cross-section of public transportation safety experts from bus and rail transit agencies, state safety oversight agencies, academia, and labor unions...

Photo of Metro transit bus in Minneapolis

Continue Reading On TRACS toward transit ››
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Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the dedication ceremony for the Englewood Flyover, a project funded largely by a $126 million High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program grant.

It’s a perfect example of the type of important projects that can be advanced with predictable, dedicated funding for rail...

Photo of passenger train passing over freight train via Englewood flyover

Continue Reading Englewood Flyover to reduce ››
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