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New Year's Resolutions

Posted by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao

Few traditions have proved so enduring as New Year’s resolutions.  There are over 167 million Internet search results on the topic of 2019 resolutions.  Most seek to improve health and well-being.  Of course, that is easier said than done.  Still, good to keep trying! 

As Secretary of Transportation, I’d like to propose some New Year’s Resolutions that are easy to accomplish and, if widely adopted, would save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of injuries in 2019.  Such as:    

  • Seatbelts:  every time, all the time -- for the driver and passengers.  And child safety seats for children until they are big enough to properly wear a seatbelt.  Nearly half (47%) of vehicle occupants killed in 2017 were unrestrained.  90% of drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, so clearly being unrestrained greatly increases the risk of injury or worse.  So, buckle up – it just takes a moment.
  • Stop Distracted Driving:  put the phone away when behind the wheel.  Failing to focus 100% on driving could be the most life-altering, deadly and destructive mistake one ever makes.
  • Stay Sober:  drunk or drug-impaired drivers are dangerous drivers -- killing and injuring tens of thousands of Americans every year.  To improve the odds that everyone in your car and on the road arrives safely at their destination, stay sober behind the wheel.  Or, have someone else who is sober do the driving.
  • Slow down:  nearly 10,000 (29%) of the traffic fatalities in 2017 were related to speeding.  Often speeding drivers are just getting to the next red light faster.
  • Be Considerate:  everyone else on the road is in the same boat, so to speak.   Traffic congestion inconveniences and aggravates everyone.  Unsafe driving due to impatience and recklessness causes traffic crashes, which cause even more traffic jams, etcetera, etcetera.  To quote Sgt. Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues:  “Let’s be careful out there.”  And let’s be kinder to fellow road users.      

There was good news last year in traffic safety as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures showed that fatalities on America’s roads declined 1.8 percent in 2017.  Still, over 37,000 men, women and children perished in traffic crashes.  Tens of thousands more were seriously injured.  These are preventable tragedies.  Let’s all resolve to do our part to make America’s roads safer in 2019. 


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