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As motor vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of teen fatalities, The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has marked this week, October 15-21, National Teen Driver Safety Week to urge parents and teens to take the essential steps to prevent accidents behind the wheel. Throughout the week, NHTSA and its many highway safety partners across the country will be encouraging you to get the facts and start the conversations- this week and every week – to talk with your teens and help keep them safe behind the wheel.  NHTSA’s 5 to Drive Campaign encourages safe driving behaviors in teen drivers. Let your young driver know that obeying the rules is a prerequisite for the privilege of driving.

To see more #TransportationTuesday graphics and topics, visit our webpage.

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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 U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to supporting the 86.3 million Americans living in rural areas.  The Department’s INFRA grant program will award at least 25% of funding to rural projects, and will consider rural projects to the greatest extent possible.  For rural communities in need of funding for highway and multimodal freight projects with national or regional economic significance, INFRA is an opportunity to apply directly for financial assistance from the federal government.  You can find out more at www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/infragrants.

Importance of Rural Transportation

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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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About every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. To raise awareness and improve safety, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration are recognizing September 24-30, 2017 as the first national Rail Safety Week. At the end of 2015, there were 129,582 public highway-rail grade crossings and 80,073 private crossings. Rail collisions are not only dangerous, they are often deadly.

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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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With pedestrian fatalities on the rise, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s support, is evaluating pedestrian detection technology to help prevent crashes and injuries. To learn more about pedestrian crash avoidance and mitigation technologies (PCAM) and the methodology developed by Volpe to estimate the safety benefits of PCAM systems, visit bit.ly/2vYaQLG

USDOT's Volpe center, in support of NHTSA image

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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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