U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 8, 2000
Contact: Dave Longo
Tel.: (202) 366-5580
Secretary Slater Inaugurates
New Motor Carrier Safety Agency
Secretary Rodney E. Slater today marked an historic moment in American
transportation safety by formally inaugurating the new Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration (FMCSA). Secretary Slater called on the newest agency of
the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide the leadership, direction and
action necessary to continue to improve motor carrier safety, save lives and
guide the nation to reduce by 50 percent truck- and bus-related fatalities by
"Safety is President
Clinton's and Vice President Gore's highest transportation priority, and
America is depending on this new agency to bring about a renewed will to reduce
deaths in truck and bus crashes," Secretary Slater said. "This is a
fresh start, and we will take bold and aggressive action to create change. We
enthusiastically embrace this challenge."
On May 25, 1999, Secretary
Slater announced a long-range goal of reducing fatalities associated with truck
and bus crashes by 50 percent by 2010. There were 5,374 such fatalities in 1998,
the latest year for which data is available.
emphasized that the bipartisan leadership of President Clinton and Vice
President Gore, and key authorizers -- U.S. Senators John McCain and Ernest F.
Hollings, and U.S. Representatives Bud Shuster and James L. Oberstar -- was
instrumental in achieving passage of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of
1999, which created the FMCSA. He added that U.S. Representative Frank Wolf also
helped focus attention on enhancing motor carrier safety. The Secretary extended
his appreciation to the safety community, organized labor, law enforcement
representatives, and the truck and bus industries for their vision in helping to
shape the new oversight agency.
"This new agency,
like the Federal Aviation Administration, will hold the assignment and
maintenance of safety as its highest priority," said Representative
Oberstar, Ranking Member on the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure and an original co-sponsor of the bill. "Every year, crashes
involving large trucks kill more than 5,300 people and injure about 130,000.
These numbers are unacceptable. Today we are taking a major step toward reducing
"The size and stature
of the trucking industry justifies the creation of an agency with a clear,
preeminent mission to focus on truck and bus safety and economic issues,"
said U.S. Representative Thomas E. Petri, Chairman of the House Ground
Secretary Slater was
joined at the inauguration event by members of Congress and senior officials
representing many organizations.
"We are in the
business of saving lives," said Acting Deputy FMCSA Administrator Julie
Anna Cirillo. "All our efforts, our activities and our projects have been,
and continue to be directed toward this end."
In addition to recognizing
the new administration, the Secretary provided a copy of the new agency's
organizational chart, an update on progress made toward achieving the stretch
goals established in May 1999, and information on additional steps and actions
that will be taken to improve motor carrier safety.
These steps include making
improvements to the commercial driver's license program to more effectively
identify problem drivers, taking remedial action and getting high-risk drivers
off the road, ensuring the safety fitness of newly-formed motor carrier
companies, levying strong sanctions on foreign carriers who operate illegally in
the United States, denying entry to carriers who are not properly registered and
imposing stiff penalties on violators including fines and, where warranted,
In addition, new FMCSA
funding under the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act will provide resources to
help states conduct more inspections of vehicles, drivers and carriers. Also
funded will be a major study of causes of crashes as well as a new system for
collecting crash data.
The department's newest
agency is at the forefront of the move toward E-government. It operates a web
site that allows commercial truck and bus operators to use the Internet to apply
for registration and to pay fines for violations of federal motor carrier safety
regulations. The FMCSA's website is
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