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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable Ray LaHood, United States Secretary of Transportation

Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Tom Petri (R-WI) today took the lead to address concerns in the motorcyclist community. Several Members of Congress joined Sensenbrenner and Petri in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to inform him of numerous concerns regarding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations Grant Program.

The widely criticized program creates motorcycle-only checkpoints that only take into account factors that contribute to motorcycle safety and do not help prevent crashes, such as USDOT-approved helmet compliance, tailpipe standards and motorcycle modifications.

"Crash prevention is the first priority for motorcyclists. It makes little sense to me why NHTSA continues to advocate programs that haven't proven to prevent motorcycle accidents in the first place," Congressman Sensenbrenner said.

Congressman Petri added, "What's the safety benefit of this? We have limited resources, and motorcycle checkpoints won't get us the biggest bang for the buck. Also, it's outrageously intrusive."

The State of New York has implemented the check-point program. The letter urges Secretary LaHood to detail the benefits of the program, including the types of infractions that have been recorded that will help prevent accidents. The letter also seeks the criteria NHTSA will use to determine whether motorcycle-only checkpoints have been successful crash prevention methods that help to ensure motorcyclist safety.

"Until these concerns are addressed, we encourage you to suspend Administrator Strickland's Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations Grant program. The funding for this program would be better spent on awareness programs and crash causation studies unless evidence suggests otherwise." the Congressmen noted in the letter.

Congressman Sensenbrenner, along with several of his colleagues also introduced H. Res. 1498 on July 1. The resolution "supports efforts to retain the ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's ability to lobby state legislatures using federal tax dollars and urges NHTSA to focus on crash prevention and rider education" to bring attention to the concerns of motorcyclists in Wisconsin and around the country.

Congressman Sensenbrenner raised concerns over NHTSA's lobbying efforts while Chairman of the House Committee on Science in 1997. Congressman Sensenbrenner included anti-lobbying language in several bills under his jurisdiction and also supported the anti-lobbying language that eventually became law.

September 30, 2010

The Honorable Ray LaHood
Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Secretary LaHood:

We write to inform you of our concerns with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations Grant program. NHTSA recently expanded the widely criticized program that creates motorcycle-only checkpoints.

As supporters of H.Res. 1498 in the House of Representatives, we believe that the safety of motorcyclists is best addressed by increasing motorcycle awareness and focusing on crash prevention. The motorcycle-only checkpoints, however, take into account factors such as USDOT-approved helmet compliance, tailpipe standards and motorcycle modifications. While these factors may contribute to motorcyclist safety, they do not help prevent crashes. Crash prevention must be the primary focus of improving safety. We do not understand why NHTSA continues to focus on secondary factor that do not prevent motorcycle crashes.

You are aware that New York has implemented the checkpoint program. Please detail the benefits of this program, including the types of infractions that have been recorded that will help prevent accidents. We would also like to know the criteria NHTSA will use to determine if motorcycle-only checkpoints have been successful crash prevention methods that help to ensure motorcyclist safety.

Until these concerns are addressed, we encourage you to suspend Administrator Strickland's Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration Grant program. The funding for this program would be better spent on awareness programs and crash causation studies unless evidence suggests otherwise.

Please address these concerns by October 13. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Member of Congress

Thomas E. Petri
Member of Congress

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress

Aaron Schock
Member of Congress
Doug Lamborn
Member of Congress

Thaddeus G. McCotter
Member of Congress

Paul Ryan
Member of Congress

Denny Rehberg
Member of Congress

Lee Terry
Member of Congress

Ron Paul
Member of Congress

Joe Wilson
Member of Congress


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