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Highway Safety: Foresight Issues Challenge DOT's Efforts to Assess and Respond to New Technology-Based Trends

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Fatalities on U.S. roads now total over 40,000 each year. Future reductions may require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to address new trends such as evolving crash-avoidance technologies and rapidly changing electronic devices that may distract drivers who use them on the road. (See figure.) GAO was asked to examine how DOT is addressing fast-moving trends such as these. This report examines how DOT is (1) deciding on responses to the crash avoidance and electronic distractions trends--given available evidence and uncertainties; (2) developing new evidence on these trends' safety impacts; and (3) communicating with the Congress about these and other trends and related issues. To conduct this study, GAO analyzed DOT reports, peer-reviewed literature, and other documents; interviewed DOT officials and staff; and interviewed over 30 experts."
Date: October 3, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Selected Cases of Commercial Drivers with Potentially Disqualifying Impairments

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), has established a number of key controls designed to prevent commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders from operating commercial vehicles while impaired. First, drivers are required to undergo regular medical exams by a certified medical examiner. Second, employers are responsible for drug testing employees at various points of employment. Third, state and federal roadside-inspection programs are in place to identify impaired drivers and perform other safety checks. If these key controls are operating effectively, they will help identify commercial drivers who are not capable of driving safely. However, GAO’s prior work has found that these controls were vulnerable to abuse or manipulation. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, enacted in July 2012, will require additional measures to ensure that disqualified drivers do not operate commercial vehicles, and could help address some of these vulnerabilities. For example, the law requires DOT to implement a national clearinghouse of commercial-driver controlled-substance and alcohol test results by July 2014. DOT has also taken some actions, and now requires CDL holders to provide a copy of their medical certificates to the State licensing agency."
Date: November 30, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Federal and State Efforts to Address Rural Road Safety Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Traffic crashes are a major cause of death and injury in the United States. In 2002, there were 42,815 fatalities and over 2.9 million injuries on the nation's highways. Crashes on rural roads (roads in areas with populations of less than 5,000) account for over 60 percent of the deaths nationwide, or about 70 deaths each day. Further, the rate of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled on rural roads was over twice the urban fatality rate. GAO identified (1) the factors contributing to rural road fatalities, (2) federal and state efforts to improve safety on the nation's rural roads, and (3) the challenges that may hinder making improvements in rural road safety. GAO obtained information from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and other organizations with knowledge of these issues. In addition, GAO analyzed fatal crash data on rural roads from Department of Transportation databases and visited five states that account for about 20 percent of the nation's rural road mileage. GAO also contacted academic experts and examined legislative proposals for improving rural road safety. We provided copies of a draft of this report to the Department of Transportation for its review and comment. In discussing this report, agency officials noted that safety should be part of every project designed and built with federal-aid highway funds."
Date: May 28, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Federal and State Efforts Related to Accidents That Involve Non-Commercial Vehicles Carrying Unsecured Loads

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects limited information on crashes involving vehicles carrying unsecured loads but plans to make changes to collect better information. Currently, NHTSA collects some data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System. However, the systems do not currently have a data category to distinguish between debris resulting from natural sources (such as a tree branch) and debris resulting from human error (such as an unsecured load). As a result, NHTSA cannot currently identify how many crashes involve vehicles carrying unsecured loads. NHTSA intends to make changes to both its systems to better identify crashes involving unsecured loads. These changes will go into effect in 2013. However, NHTSA may still face challenges collecting this data because 1) law enforcement officials face difficulties in determining whether a crash involved an unsecured load and 2) states do not collect uniform data on unsecured loads in their police crash reports. NHTSA officials stated that they would likely recommend changes to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC)—voluntary guidelines intended to create uniform data in police crash reports; however, the revised guidelines will not be released until 2017 because of MMUCC’s 5-year cycle of updates. NHTSA officials acknowledged that even with the changes in its data systems, data improvements will take time to implement and data on unsecured-load crashes will likely continue to be imprecise."
Date: November 15, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Improved Monitoring and Oversight of Traffic Safety Data Program Are Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Auto crashes kill or injure millions of people each year. Information about where and why such crashes occur is important in reducing this toll, both for identifying particular hazards and for planning safety efforts at the state and federal levels. Differences in the quality of state traffic data from state to state, however, affect the usability of data for these purposes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administers a grant program to help states improve the safety data systems that collect and analyze crash data from police and sheriff's offices and other agencies, and the Congress is considering whether to reauthorize and expand the program. The Senate Appropriations Committee directed GAO to study state systems and the grant program. Accordingly, GAO examined (1) the quality of state crash information, (2) the activities states undertook to improve their traffic records systems and any progress made, and (3) NHTSA's oversight of the grant program."
Date: November 4, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Further Opportunities Exist to Improve Data on Crashes Involving Commercial Motor Vehicles

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Large trucks make up 3 percent of the nation's registered vehicles, but they were involved in 11 percent of all fatal crashes in 2003. To reduce the fatality rate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets national safety goals and works in partnership with states to reach them. Crash data collected by states and submitted to FMCSA is key to these efforts, and to be fully useful, this data must be complete, timely, accurate, and collected in a consistent manner. GAO addressed (1) what is known about the quality of commercial motor vehicle crash data, and what states are doing to improve it, and (2) the results of FMCSA's efforts to help states make improvements."
Date: November 18, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Preliminary Observations on Efforts to Implement Changes in the Highway Safety Improvement Program Since SAFETEA-LU

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "About 43,000 traffic fatalities occur annually, and another 290,000 people are seriously injured on the nation's roads. To reduce these numbers, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) nearly doubled funding for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), authorizing $5.1 billion for 2006 through 2009. SAFETEA-LU also added requirements for states to develop strategic highway safety plans that cover all aspects of highway safety, including infrastructure, behavioral (education and enforcement), and emergency medical services projects; develop crash data analysis systems; and publicly report on the top 5 percent of hazardous locations on all their public roads. SAFETEA-LU also set aside funds for a legacy rail-highway crossing program and a new high-risk rural road program. This testimony provides preliminary information on the implementation of HSIP since SAFETEA-LU. It is based on ongoing work that addresses (1) states' implementation of HSIP following SAFETEA-LU, (2) FHWA's guidance and assistance for states, and (3) results of HSIP to date, including for the two set-aside programs. To conduct this study, GAO visited 6 states, judgmentally selected based on highway safety attributes, analyzed plans and reports from these 6 states and 19 randomly selected states, and interviewed FHWA and state safety officials."
Date: July 17, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Research Continues on a Variety of Factors That Contribute to Motor Vehicle Crashes

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Nearly 6.3 million motor vehicle crashes occurred in the United States in 2001, or one crash every 5 seconds. On average, a person was injured in these crashes every 10 seconds, and someone was killed every 12 minutes. Since the 1970s, progress has been made in reducing the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation's roads. From 1975 through 2001, fatalities decreased from 44,525 to 42,116, while the rate of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased from 3.35 to 1.51. However, the decline in fatalities has leveled off in recent years. In the 1970s, Indiana University conducted one of the most significant studies to date on the factors that contribute to motor vehicle crashes. This study examined human, environmental, and vehicle factors that contribute to crashes. As requested, this report provides more recent information from data, experts, and studies about the factors that contribute to motor vehicle crashes and information about major ongoing and planned Department of Transportation research into factors that contribute to crashes."
Date: March 31, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Effectiveness of State .08 Blood Alcohol Laws

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed: (1) the policies and positions of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) laws and other drunk driving countermeasures; and (2) seven published studies on the effect of .08 BAC laws on the number and severity of crashes involving alcohol, including three studies released on April 28, 1999."
Date: June 23, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Better Guidance Could Improve Oversight of State Highway Safety Programs

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In 1998, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21St Century funded a series of highway safety programs. These safety programs, administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), increased funding to the states to improve highway safety through activities designed to encourage, among other things, the use of seat belts and child passenger seats and to prevent drinking and driving. The states implement these activities through a "performance-based" approach under which they establish highway safety goals and initiate projects to help reach those goals. NHTSA reviews the goals and provides oversight to the state highway safety programs. GAO was asked to provide trend data on highway safety, determine how much highway safety funding was provided and how the states used the funds, and review NHTSA's oversight of highway safety programs."
Date: April 21, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety: Factors Contributing to Traffic Crashes and NHTSA's Efforts to Address Them

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "From 1975 through 2002, annual traffic fatalities decreased from 44,525 to 42,850, while the rate of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased from 3.35 to 1.51. However, decreases in fatalities have leveled off since the early 1990s. Since 1999, the number of alcohol-related fatalities has risen. In 1998, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century funded a series of highway safety programs. These programs, administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), increased funding to the states for activities designed to encourage, among other things, the use of seat belts and to prevent drinking and driving. The states establish highway safety goals and initiate projects to help reach those goals. NHTSA provides advice, training, and technical assistance to states and can use management reviews and improvement plans as tools to help monitor and strengthen the states' performance. This testimony is based on two recent GAO reports that discuss the causes of motor vehicle crashes and related research, provide highway saftey trend data and information on federal highway safety funds and the states' uses of those funds, and review NHTSA's oversight of state highway safety programs."
Date: May 22, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Safety Improvement Program: Further Efforts Needed to Address Data Limitations and Better Align Funding with States' Top Safety Priorities

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "About 43,000 people died and another 290,000 were seriously injured on the nation's roads in 2006. To reduce these numbers, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) nearly doubled funding for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). SAFETEA-LU added requirements for states to develop strategic highway safety plans that include four key elements and to publicly report on at least the top 5 percent of hazardous locations on all of their public roads. The act also set aside funds for a legacy rail-highway crossing program and a new high-risk rural road program. As requested, GAO examined (1) states' implementation of HSIP following SAFETEA-LU, (2) HSIP results to date, and (3) FHWA's guidance and assistance to states. GAO analyzed plans from 25 states, including 19 randomly selected states and 6 states that GAO visited. GAO also interviewed FHWA and state safety officials."
Date: November 21, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

[News Clip: Bumpers]

Description: Video footage from the KXAS-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, to accompany a news story. This story aired at 6 P.M.
Date: March 1, 1990
Creator: KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections