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Entries in Department of Transportation (DOT) (7)


US DOT Conducts Over 3000 Surprise Passenger Carrier Safety Inspections

Benjamin Smith
Principal Technical Analyst

The US Department of Transportation (US DOT) announced on May 27 that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its local and state law enforcement agencies conducted over 3000 surprise passenger bus inspections during a two-week period in May. These inspections resulted in 442 out-of-service citations for 127 drivers and 315 passenger transport vehicles. Additionally, the FMCSA and state safety inspectors launched 38 full safety compliance reviews of commercial passenger bus companies.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “During this heavy summer travel season, we will remain alert and remove from our roads any passenger bus or driver that places motorists at risk.” According to the US DOT, over the last five years, the number of unannounced commercial passenger bus roadside safety inspections and carrier compliance reviews has doubled. To learn more about this, read the US DOT news release

In an effort to reduce all commercial motor vehicle crashes, the FMCSA has developed a new safety program called Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA). CSA includes a Safety Measurement System (SMS), which uses crash data and inspection results to identify unsafe motor carrier companies, including passenger carriers. The SMS system evaluates seven different safety performance categories, or BASICs (Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories). These are: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, and Crash Indicator.

The US DOT estimates that passenger carriers or buses transport 750 million people each year in the US. The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that there were 221 bus-involved fatality crashes in 2009. The number of bus-involved fatality crashes has dropped steadily since 2006, when there were 305 fatality crashes.


Good News: Traffic Fatalities in 2010 Fell to Lowest Levels in Reported History

Kelly Messerschmidt
Technical Communications Manager

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Friday that despite the fact that American drivers drove significantly more miles during 2010, the number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to their lowest levels in recorded history.

Factors that may have contributed to the reductions include:


New Anti-Distracted Driving Rules Announced at the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced at yesterday’s second national Distracted Driving Summit that the federal government is initiating a new rulemaking to limit commercial truck drivers’ use of all electronic devices while hauling hazardous materials, as well as seeking to ban text messaging by all drivers hauling hazardous materials.

These announcements came on the heels of last week’s proposed rulemaking submitted to the White House for final review, which would prohibit all truck drivers from texting while driving. It is likely that this rule will be published in the Federal Register as early as next week, in which case the rule would take effect in late October.

Read more about LaHood's announcements during yesterday's Distracted Driving Summit.

Learn about distracted driving and the summit at DOT's site.


National Two-Second Turnoff Day: Sept. 17, 2010

A lot can happen in two seconds. For example, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles your chances of being in a car crash. However, it only takes two seconds to turn off your cell phone before you get behind the wheel.

National Two-Second Turnoff Day takes place tomorrow. The campaign, sponsored by AAA, Seventeen Magazine, and the US Department of Transportation (DOT), urges teens to pay special attention to the risks of distracted driving. Research conducted by AAA and Seventeen found that 86% of male and female teens have driven while distracted, even though 84% admitted they know it's dangerous.

Seventeen Magazine's "Viral Video Challenge,” part of National Two-Second Turnoff Day, is actively helping teens spread the news of the dangers of distracted driving. Winner Emily Langston's anti-distracted driving video, "It Can Wait," will be featured at DOT's 2010 Distracted Driving Summit, in Washington, D.C., on September 21, 2010.

Congratulations to Ms. Langston, AAA, Seventeen Magazine, and DOT for working hard to promote safe driving.

Visit the official US Government website for distracted driving.


Smart Cars of the Future are Closer than You Think

Automobiles that communicate with drivers have been around for a while. However, under a new initiative from the Department of Transportation, cars will soon be communicating with each other. US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the initiative during a speech at ITSA 2010.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology would give cars a standard method to communicate by combining a GPS system with a wireless communication system similar to Wi-Fi. Drivers would be warned if they were making a lane change and a car was in their blind spot, or the car could automatically apply the brakes when the driver doesn't notice the stalled truck ahead.

According to DOT statistics, an estimated 76 percent of crashes involving unimpaired drivers could be prevented using the technology. The technology is already an option in some newer cars, but the Intelligent Transportation Systems being proposed are much more advanced and comprehensive.

"We are fully committed to dedicated short-range communications that can deliver real-time information and data to and between vehicles on the road," said Secretary LaHood. In a related story, CNET reports that IBM will partner with the Texas Transportation Institute to test the next generation of vehicle communications and analytical tools. Read more about this partnership.

Read an article about the DOT’s IntelliDrive Initiative.

Visit the IntelliDrive website.