Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
FMCSA Awards Ceremony
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Thank you, Jim.
Thank you for inviting me back to your annual award ceremony to celebrate our hard-working FMCSA career professionals and today’s award recipients, especially those individuals receiving the Colleague and Eagle awards.
As you know, the Department has three priorities. The first is safety, which is always #1. The second priority is rebuilding and refurbishing our country’s critical infrastructure. And the third priority is preparing for the future by engaging with emerging technologies to address legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy, without hampering innovation.
The work of FMCSA and its 1,100-person team is key to achieving all of these goals.
As you know, there are approximately 12.5 million commercial motor vehicles on America’s roadways. FMCSA has launched many initiatives to increase the safety of our country’s commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. These include public outreach and engagement programs to promote safe driving around trucks and buses. FMCSA also continues to engage industry, providing the trucking, bus, and related industries with safety presentations, events, and hands on trainings.
And FMCSA touches the lives of millions through its regulatory activities. So let me also commend all of our colleagues here and across the country who, in Fiscal Year 2019, worked with stakeholders to conduct:
- More than 29,000 new entrant safety audits,
- More than 2.5 million commercial motor vehicle inspections, and
- More than 9,000 investigations.
FMCSA has also helped reduce burdensome regulations that do not enhance safety by proposing and finalizing multiple rules. These rules will save the motor carriers industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year that can be better spent on creating new jobs, training and safety. They are commonsense ways to reduce unnecessary, duplicative, and burdensome regulatory costs that don’t help to advance safety on our roads.
Your hard work and dedication is helping improve the safety of American drivers and vehicles. It is also helping to curb human trafficking—a critical goal of the Department and the Administration—by developing partnerships and training programs. These programs expand state police training across the country and permanently ban drivers convicted of human trafficking from operating commercial motor vehicles. These are important steps in the Department-wide campaign to keep America’s roadways, railways, airways, and waterways from being used for human trafficking.
Efforts are also underway to build programs that address the industry’s need for more skilled drivers, including the Under-21 Military Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Pilot Program. Our country has a shortage of skilled truck drivers and this resource will help military service members translate their training into good-paying jobs safely operating commercial vehicles across the country. And the grants awarded in September to 16 education institutions to help train veterans and others for commercial vehicle jobs will round out the Military CDL Program and help ensure the safety of our roads.
Another very important responsibility FMCSA holds is its role in detecting and fighting moving fraud by predatory movers. In March, we received a message from the daughter of a woman whose belongings had been misplaced by a disreputable moving group that took advantage of her during a cross-country move. A team of FMCSA investigators was assigned to the case and eventually located the company, found the woman’s household possessions, and had them returned to her!
This is one of several success stories regarding FMCSA enforcement efforts. Through efforts like these and resources like ProtectYourMove.gov FMCSA provides first-rate protection for consumers against moving fraud.
The work of FMCSA in 2019 has been critical to ensuring the safety of our country’s roads and strengthening economic growth and job creation.
So congratulations again to this year’s award recipients. The Department appreciates everything you do. And let me wish all of you a very happy, safe and joyous holiday season.
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