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Federal Highway Administrator on Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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Acting Federal Highway Administrator, Brandye Hendrickson

As autumn approaches, daylight gets shorter, children head back to school and we all settle into new routines. Winter is right behind it, and icy weather can make roads more dangerous. For these, and many other reasons, it is crucial for drivers to behave responsibly behind the wheel. It is imperative we all put our cellphones away, buckle up and be conscientious about other drivers.

Fortunately, though the calendar still says it is fall, America's roads are blooming with new safety innovations.  From rumble strips to new "mumble" strips, to connected-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies, a host of cutting-edge tools are being deployed to keep drivers safer throughout the nation. We are also exploring a number of new safety data collection and analysis tools to help us track trends to better determine where safety investments should be made.

All of us at the FHWA are working with the Kansas DOT and other state and local counterparts to address the challenge of making America's highways safer - and to reduce America's roadway fatalities each year. As is widely known, there were 35,092 fatalities on America's roads in 2015. That is absolutely unacceptable. While we have spent years improving construction, repair and overall design of roads and bridges, most roadway fatalities are not due to the road but, instead, to driver error. Too many drivers are texting, drinking or just behaving recklessly behind the wheel. Sometimes pedestrians or bicyclists are not paying attention either.

So while futuristic-sounding "autonomous vehicles" may help make our roads safer, we must continue to work with our partners in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Departments of Transportation in each state to educate the public. We ask that you join us on the road to zero to end roadway fatalities. We all must do a better job of promoting a very simple concept - members of the public must recognize the responsibilities they carry when using our roads. With the FMCSA, NHTSA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the FHWA is an active member of the Road To Zero Coalition and hopes you will be too. 

Please help us put the brakes on fatalities, because any roadway fatality is too many.

By Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye Hendrickson.

Read more about Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day and how to get involved.