With 2012 here, we're sharing some of the top accomplishments from each of DOT's agencies over the last year. Today, we look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Every day, millions of Americans travel on our nation's roadways to connect with their jobs, schools, and families. And it's the mission of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make sure everyone gets to their destinations safely.
NHTSA continued its important work in 2011 by conducting research, encouraging safe driving habits, and holding vehicle manufacturers to the highest standards possible. Some of the agency's accomplishments include:
- Overseeing a record drop in traffic fatalities.
Despite a significant increase in the number of miles Americans drove in 2010, the number and rate of traffic fatalities fell to their lowest level in recorded history. According to NHTSA's early projections, traffic fatalities declined three percent between 2009 and 2010.
- Unveiling a more accurate measurement for distracted driving fatalities.
As part of a broader effort to refine its data collection practices, NHTSA released a new measure for calculating fatalities related to distracted driving called "distraction-affected crashes." This new methodology focuses on distractions that are most likely to result in crashes, like dialing a cell phone or sending a text message. This produces more accurate data that will allow NHTSA to better focus its anti-distraction efforts.
- Advancing drunk driving, hyperthermia, and child seat safety programs.
In order to better protect drivers and passengers, NHTSA raised awareness about a number of safety issues in vehicles over the last year. The agency launched a new advertising campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," to help get drunk drivers off the street; worked to prevent heatstroke in hot cars by conducting a series of town halls on hyperthermia; and issued new safety guidelines for child seats that keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research and take advantage of new child restraint technologies.
There's no doubt that NHTSA has made significant strides to ensure driving is safer for all Americans. So I congratulate Administrator Strickland and all of our employees at NHTSA for their hard work in 2011, and I thank them for their ongoing efforts.