When we say that safety is our number one priority, we mean that for every mode of American transportation--airplane, truck, car, ship, train, transit, bicycle, and even your own feet. One great thing about our safety mission is that we don't have to do it alone. We get help from terrific people and organizations across the country.
And earlier this week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration welcomed the newest members of our safety family, the incoming class at the National Training Center Safety Investigator Academy in San Marcos, Texas. When these candidates graduate, they will play a vital role in protecting lives and preventing injuries by conducting inspections of the many commercial trucks and buses traveling the roadways across America.
These students have left their homes and families for 10 weeks of demanding training to become part of FMCSA's constant pursuit of commercial motor vehicle safety. They have left challenging careers--as state troopers, border patrol officers, financial analysts, home builders, service members, and firefighters--to take a direct role in preventing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and motorcoaches.
On Tuesday, the Academy's incoming class heard the story of John Lindsay, whose wife Wanda described their 2010 crash. John and Wanda were on their way to visit family when they slowed to a stop for a traffic jam. Suddenly, a large tractor-trailer slammed into the back of their car, sending it down an embankment into a ditch. Wanda suffered fractured vertebrae and ribs, a broken nose, and a concussion. John never woke up.
By sharing the story of her loss, Wanda provided additional inspiration for the class and motivated them to intensify their commitment to safety.
This tragic toll is what we hope to end with the help of our newest training class.
As FMCSA Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott told them, "The good news is that there is something we can do about this. And you are our best hope for wrapping our collective arms around this enormous challenge. Every highway user will be counting on you to be their front-line eyes and ears who won't compromise our safety-first promise."
He is exactly right. And I wish the new class every success both during their training and during their valuable service as FMCSA safety investigators.