The United States Department of Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, gave a speech at the annual meeting of the leaders of transportation in the country. During his speech, he expressed his concerns regarding safety in the new year, pushing for stakeholders to truly focus on safety. Also, due to threats of a government shutdown, he urgently pushed for Congress to remain strong and avoid the stalemate.
Recently, higher risks have come from all forms of transportation, including flying, train travel, driving, and boat travel. Buttigieg expressed the need for all transportation experts to redirect attention away from profit-making for a moment so that they can rework their systems to highlight safety again.
Buttigieg’s speech was the headlining speech for the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting.
Even though some of his speech could have been viewed as undermining to some transportation leaders, it actually was quite well received. The industry leaders listened as Pete discussed how quick in reaction we are whenever there are incidents of safety in the air but brush off incidents on roads. He said, “If we apply that same seriousness of purpose to the crisis of road safety in America that claims more than 100 lives — which is to say as many people as fill an airplane — every single day.” He expressed that this data came directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to this administration, in 2022 about 43,000 fatalities came as a result of motor vehicle accidents.
The secretary proposed a plan known as the National Roadway Safety Strategy.
This strategy is known as the guide for safety precautions being put in place throughout the country. He stated that his goal is to make it so that driving mistakes are no longer lethal, stating that it would be an impossible task to eliminate all possible driving mistakes. He described the only acceptable number of deaths in the future related to transportation accidents as “zero.”
Also, in his speech Buttigieg pushed for lawmakers to make stronger rail legislation. Currently, there is a hold on the Railway Safety Act in Congress, so Buttigieg urged for a decision to be made on this law, especially as we reach the one year anniversary of a derailment of a train car in Ohio.
Overall, Buttigieg hit points regarding all forms of transportation, urging for safety to become a bigger priority in 2024.