Last week, I wrote here in the Fast Lane that we at DOT must work harder than ever before to give the American people what they need when it comes to transportation. And the most important thing the American people are counting on us to deliver is safety.
For generations, Americans have ridden on planes, trains, buses, cars, boats, and bikes--not having to think about whether their chosen mode of transportation is safe or not. They trust that our system will work, and work safely.
The good news is that, over the last four and half years, DOT has already been doing this.
- In 2011, DOT passed a milestone rule that gives pilots the opportunity to get more sleep before flying. This ensures our airline pilots are fully rested and more alert when they report for duty. And just last week, DOT finalized a rule that requires more hours of in-flight training for co-pilots to fly a U.S. airline. Both of these measures are a win for aviation safety.
- In 2011, we saw the lowest rate of deaths on our nation's highways since 1949. That's the lowest rate ever recorded. Today, seat belt use is at an all-time high. DOT helped start a national conversation about distracted driving, and today 41 states ban texting while behind the wheel.
- 2012 was the safest year in railroading history. In fact, train accidents have decreased five years in a row.
- And, for the first time, DOT now has oversight in transit safety--thanks to the transportation bill that President Obama signed last year.
Each of these accomplishments is great news for transportation safety. But as we are reminded by recent events, our work is never complete.
We must be even more vigilant when it comes to safety.
The American people trust us to keep them safe. And we will.
Anthony Foxx is the 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation