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At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we embrace good ideas that translate into safety improvements. We are always striving to protect the motoring public by removing unsafe commercial vehicles and drivers from our highways and roads.

Last year, Secretary Foxx tasked the Department’s Safety Council to oversee an independent review of FMCSA’s large truck and bus safety programs following a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into four commercial vehicle crashes.

That work resulted in a number of recommendations that will further strengthen FMCSA’s safety programs, and I am pleased to announce that we have implemented a number of them.

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As a mom, I live for long summer weekends packed with soccer tournaments, family cookouts, and road trips to the shore. But, as president of the National Safety Council, I’m all too aware that those fun times –moments we all live for– take place within the 100 deadliest days on our nation’s roadways.

It’s no coincidence that National Safety Month falls in June each year. Combine the high-exposure period when teen drivers are out of school and families log many miles to vacation spots with several holiday weekends where alcohol consumption is the norm, and it's no surprise that summertime sees the highest number of roadway fatalities of any season.

Most troubling this particular summer is that we're heading into the driving season with an already-elevated uptick in traffic fatality rates. According to National Safety Council estimates, every month for the past 6 months, the number of traffic fatalities per month has increased compared to the previous year by between 8 and 11 percent. This trend is alarming.

Cumulative monthly increase in motor vehicle fatalities

Continue Reading Summer is here - what do ››
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On June 30 at 23:59:59 GMT, the world's clocks will add an extra second to the day.  

This "leap second" is needed because the Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down by around two-thousandths of a second per day, and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the standard international time scale, needs to catch up with atomic time. Because atomic time uses vibrations within atoms --which occurs at consistent frequencies-- it is considered more reliable than time measured by the Earth's rotation.

Why are you reading about this here in DOT's Fast Lane?  DOT serves as the lead civilian agency within the U.S. government on Global Positioning System issues, through our office of Positioning, Navigation and Timing, and this little second can make a big difference to technologies like GPS...


Continue Reading Leaping ahead: what ››
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On Monday, I had the pleasure of attending the phase-one ribbon cutting ceremony for one of our country’s most important and innovative infrastructure projects: the US 36 Express Lanes Project in Broomfield, Colorado. 

Our USDOT Beyond Traffic study tells us that, by 2045, there will be 70 million more people on our roadways.  The population in Colorado alone is expected to reach 10 million by that time. So, how do we prepare for such a crowded future?

To answer this question, Colorado is taking the lead with the US 36 Express Lanes Project.

Deputy Secretary mendez helps cut the ribbon

Continue Reading US 36 Express Lanes answer ››
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The news for the air travel industry is looking good. With last week's release of Passenger Airline Employment data, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 2.6 percent more full time equivalent people (FTEs) in April 2015 than in April 2014.

And that year-over-year job growth is more than a blip.  It's the 17th straight month that airline employment exceeded the same month of the previous year. Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.9 percent from March to April, and that's the 4th consecutive monthly increase.

More importantly, the total number of FTEs --nearly 400,000-- was the highest since September 2008, the last month before airlines first felt the effects of the recession. And the recovery in air travel indicates the broader recovery we're seeing across the economy...

Chart showing airline employment over time

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I thank Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer for a good start on crafting a bipartisan six-year transportation bill. 

They, and members of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, took action on an increasingly urgent crisis: our roads and highways across America are falling apart.  If we want to lead the world in doing business and quality of life, we need an aggressive change of course in both transportation policy and in resources invested.

The committee advanced the ball today toward policy and funding goals that the Administration put forth in the GROW AMERICA Act, but there is still much work to be done to address several important policy issues and to bring funding to a level that will adequately address maintenance backlogs and needed expansion.  We saw some of these critical issues raised as amendments to today’s bill. 

Unlike last year, when progress stopped at this point, I hope that the EPW committee’s work this week is just the beginning – not the end – of actions by Congress to address America’s critical transportation issues and bring funding in line with our country’s needs.

Continue Reading Secretary Foxx responds to ››
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Even Fast Lane readers may not be aware that every transit bus whose purchase is supported by federal dollars must undergo testing at Pennsylvania State University’s Larson Transportation Institute in Altoona.

Bus testing has been a part of FTA’s oversight responsibilities since 1989. Over the years, both Congress and the FTA have periodically reviewed and modified the bus testing process to ensure that it continues to protect federal investments, provide valuable data for transit agencies, and incorporate advances in technology. The latest NPRM marks another step forward in updating our bus testing program for the next generation of buses.

Currently, the Bus Testing Program uses standardized tests to provide objective results for maintainability, reliability, performance, structural integrity, fuel economy, emissions, and noise.

The NPRM announced today introduces minimum performance standards for these bus performance categories...

Transit bus montage

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Our Nation is deeply reliant on its maritime industry, marine transportation system, and seagoing services. That’s why the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is proud to support and partner with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), and why I was extremely honored to address the USMMA Class of 2015 at their commencement last Saturday.

2015 Hat Toss

Since its establishment in 1943, USMMA has been training and educating young men and women in Kings Point, New York, to serve as officers in the U.S. Merchant Marine, the U.S. Armed Forces, and our Nation’s waterborne transportation industry.

And on Saturday, 227 midshipmen donned Service Dress Whites to celebrate successfully completing four years of coursework, exams, maritime instruction, regimental life, and 10-months of at-sea training.  The Class of 2015 was ready and eager to receive their Bachelor’s Degrees, U.S. Coast Guard Licenses, and U.S. Armed Forces Officer Commissions—and they didn’t come alone.  Over two thousand proud family members and friends made the trip to Kings Point and were in attendance to show their support, respect, and admiration for our newest graduates...

Continue Reading U.S. Merchant Marine ››
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This weekend, I landed in South Africa for the second time in my life. When I was last here, I was a sophomore in college and spending a semester studying abroad. This was in 1991, and although apartheid had been lifted, South Africa hadn’t yet transitioned into a democratic government. 

Needless to say, much has changed in South Africa. And today, South Africa and the United States not only share a commitment to democracy and equality; we share a future, and we share a strong connection in the global economy.

A survey of the 89 U.S. companies currently operating in South Africa found that more than 200,000 South Africans are benefitting from American enterprise. And we’re here to encourage even more trade and business development...

Secretary Foxx in South Africa

Continue Reading The U.S. and South Africa, ››
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Keeping Americans safe on the road is NHTSA’s mission, which is why we’ve worked hard to keep Americans informed of the Takata air bag recall, to help them identify whether their vehicle is affected, and to let them know what steps to take to protect themselves and their families.

Last week, we took another step forward in this effort by announcing that all vehicle identification numbers (commonly referred to as VINs) affected by the Takata recall are now loaded into NHTSA’s VIN search tool at safercar.gov so that consumers can quickly and easily check if their vehicle has been recalled as part of the Takata air bag case...

Screen capture of VIN look-up function on safercar.gov

Continue Reading Takata Update: All VINs Now ››
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