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Remarks to the Toward Zero Deaths Stakeholder Workshop

Remarks by Anne S. Ferro
FMCSA Administrator
Toward Zero Deaths: A National Strategy for Highway Safety
Stakeholder Workshop
Washington, DC
August 26, 2010


Good morning to all and a special hello to those joining us on the web.

Thank you to Tom Sorel (Sor-el), Vern Betkey and the entire steering committee for your leadership in putting together this workshop and the TZD strategy development effort.

You have covered a lot of ground here; from examining the scope of highway deaths and injuries, exploring how to shift in our safety culture, and honing in on how we can make drivers, vehicles and our infrastructure far more safe.

You have identified a wide range of steps to move our nation dramatically Toward Zero Deaths and you’ve challenged each other to step outside of your comfort zones. A major challenge as we move forward is staying united and helping each other stay outside of those comfort zones as we implement this visionary strategy.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proud to be an integral part of this effort because our top priority is your top priority – safety.

Our employees, 1100 nationwide, come to work every day with a mind to save lives…and they don’t do it because people can see and thank them for their life-saving work, they do it because it matters to them that all drivers get home safely to their families each night.

The fact is… in 2008 alone, more than 4200 people were killed and another 100,000 were injured in crashes involving large trucks and to a lesser extent, buses.

FMCSA’s workforce is dedicated to eliminate these severe and fatal crashes, and we are determined to do so one driver, one vehicle, one bus or truck company at a time.

FMCSA Core Principles

FMCSA’s strategic focus is shaped by three core principles:

One is to raise the safety bar to enter the motor carrier industry. Two – to make sure those who operate and hire commercial transportation operations maintain high safety standards to remain in the industry; and our third is to remove high risk behaviors and operators from operating.

FMCSA carries out its safety mandate in a variety of ways:

  • Develop and enforce data-driven motor carrier safety regulations and policies.
  • We are putting into place a core set of IT systems to better identify higher risk carriers.
  • We target education messages to carriers, commercial drivers and the public – We need to be sure those messages reach younger, inexperienced drivers who represent a disproportionate share of crashes with CMVs.
  • And, we rely on our partnerships with state and local enforcement and licensing agencies, the motor carrier industry, safety advocates, and labor organizations on collaborative efforts to reduce bus and truck crashes.

Seven out of 10 of our employees work outside the Washington Beltway, and on any given day across our nation, you will find these safety investigators, inspectors and others working with state and local officers on strike force crackdowns against illegal and unsafe carriers, protecting highway safety at our nation’s borders, strengthening our commercial driver’s licensing program, and growing our medical program that focuses on driver health and wellness.

This year, FMCSA is implementing a more finely-honed set of tools and strategies which utilizes current performance data, collected from over 3 million roadside inspections per year, to detect and intervene with high risk carriers.

The program, Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, CSA for short – drives truck and bus companies, drivers, and others engaged in commercial vehicle improvements to raise the bar on Compliance, Safety and Accountability. It is built on 3 components – system, process, rule.

Through CSA, and the sharper set of tools it offers, we expect to prevent many roadway tragedies from happening in the first place.

We know that to achieve a truly safety-oriented culture, safer drivers, safer vehicles, and a safer infrastructure, it comes down to the combination of the many E’s of highway safety you’ve discussed here: effective laws and regulations, education of highway users, enforcement using highly visible and high tech methods, an EMS system that’s second to none, and E for empowering citizen engagement in moving families, friends, neighbors and colleagues collectively toward zero deaths – they’ll care about getting to 0 deaths because YOU care about it.


In closing, thank you again for this outstanding forum on how to win the race to Zero Deaths. Some of the best minds and best ideas have converged here. As Vern said this morning, we will be judged not by the goals and action items we put on paper, but by the actions we take and — bottom line — the results of those actions when we leave here.

The teamwork, unified strategies and unwavering commitment begun here must carry on. On behalf of Secretary LaHood and my USDOT colleagues, I want you to know… we are energized and committed to our partnership with you to bring our nation swiftly and surely toward zero deaths on our highways.

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