Entries in DOT (6)


Drunk Driving Incidents Declining, Says DOT

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- States are making progress on reducing drunk driving incidents.

In 27 states there were declines in the number of deaths blamed on drunk driving last year, according to a report from the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. New York, Texas, South Carolina, and Tennessee had the biggest reductions.

There were still nearly 10,000 people killed in drunk driving crashes IN 2011, so the Department of Transportation is starting a holiday crackdown. Transportation officials remind partiers to designate a sober driver or arrange a safe ride home and keep drunk people from getting behind the wheel.

"The holiday season can be an especially dangerous time on our nation's roadways due to drunk drivers -- that's why law enforcement officers will be out in full force," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Our message is simple: drive sober or get pulled over."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


South Carolina Woman Sues Bar For Paralyzing Car Accident

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BLUFFTON, S.C.) -- A South Carolina woman is suing a bar that served her alcohol as a minor the night she had a car accident that left her paralyzed.

Chelsea Hess, 22, is also suing the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the town of Bluffton and Beaufort County for negligence for allegedly not maintaining the road shoulder she drove her car over in her accident.

Hess was 20 years old on Aug. 8, 2009 when she went to Jock's Sports Grill in Beaumont, S.C. for a game of billiards, according to her lawsuit.

She alleged that she ordered an alcoholic drink at the bar and was served without being asked for her identification. The legal drinking age in South Carolina is 21.

Hess accused the bar of several forms of negligence, including failure to "request and examine proof of identification," serving alcohol to minors, and "failing to ascertain whether Plaintiff was impaired by the consumption of alcoholic beverages at the time Plaintiff purchased the alcoholic beverage."

At about 1:05 a.m., Hess left the bar driving her own car and had a serious accident.

As a result, Hess "suffered serious, permanently debilitating injuries causing the plaintiff to be paraplegic." She blames the accident on the bar.

"The accident that resulted in Plaintiff being a paraplegic was due to and proximately caused by the negligence, recklessness, and willfulness and gross negligence of Defendant Jock's Sports Grill," the lawsuit said.

Hess is also suing the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the town of Bluffton and Beaufort County for negligence.

Hess alleges that the Department of Transportation was negligent "in having actual knowledge of the defect in the subject road shoulder and in failing to remedy the defect which was a dangerous situation for the Plaintiff and other similarly situated persons."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Florida DOT Website Showcases Graphic Death Videos

WFTS/ABC News(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A graphic campaign launched by the Florida Department of Transportation showing pedestrians being run over by cars is grabbing the attention of State Sen. Mike Fasano, who says the footage is uncalled for.

"They were truly graphic and something that shouldn't be on a state website," he told ABC News Tampa affiliate WFTS.

The disturbing video, housed on, shows people being run over by cars, their bodies flying over the hoods, crashing into windshields or lying lifeless on the street.

"You're watching the impact now," a video slate reads. "But will you be looking out for it tomorrow?"

"It's a little edgy, a little bold, but we're trying to get motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to all be aware of each other," said Marian Scorza, a Florida DOT spokeswoman. "It's an awareness campaign."

Fasano, a Republican, told WFTS it's time for the department to re-examine its campaign and "maybe, just away with those graphic videos. It's not necessary."

Florida Rep. Irv Slosberg, however, told WFTS he has a different opinion.

"We need something graphic on the air," said Slosberg, a Democrat whose teenage daughter Dori died in a 1996 car crash in which she wasn't wearing a seat belt. "We're going backwards instead of forwards. A lot of it has to do with driver distraction. Cellphones, texting and driving."

Dunn & Co., the Tampa-based marketing company that created the website, grabbed the videos of the Florida accidents from YouTube, according to account executive Sarah Waldie.

The goal, she said, was, "to be impactful and wake people up and make them pay attention."

Pay attention they have. The video has been viewed over 91,000 times since the website went live one week ago.

DOT required a couple of initial edits to the first version of the video, said Waldie, to tone it down.

So far, she says, the marketing company hasn't received any complaints, although they are following the brewing conversation online. The public has given DOT mixed reviews about the video, which first appeared on the agency's new website on Nov. 14.

"There are people who don't like it. There are people who think it's too much," said Scorza. "We just want to get people directed to the website and hopefully get past that and look at the statistics."

The Tampa Bay area, a district encompassing five counties, is not only one of the most dangerous areas in Florida for pedestrians and bicyclists, this year it was named one of the worst in the nation.

Between 2007 and 2010 an average of 79 pedestrians were killed every year in the Tampa Bay district.

DOT's goal, stated on the agency's website, is to decrease Tampa Bay pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent before 2015.

The project cost the state $125,000.

"We're not trying to shock or horrify anybody just to get attention," she said. "We want people to take something away from this, open their eyes and be careful."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NJ to Pay Feds $95 Million Over Stalled Tunnel to New York City

Office of the Governor, State of New Jersey(WASHINGTON) -- If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie one day enters the race for the Republican presidential nomination, he’s going to have to write some big checks.

None are likely to be as big as the nearly $100 million the governor’s state agreed to pay Friday over a stalled $3 billion tunnel project that was supposed to link northern New Jersey to Manhattan. The project, called the “ARC” tunnel, was the largest transit project in history, according to the Department of Transportation.

In a press release issued Friday, the DOT announced that it had signed an agreement with Christie to recoup $95 million of the $271 million federal dollars that have been committed to the project.

“The $95 million settlement will permit DOT to recover all of the $51 million in New Starts money provided to New Jersey for the ARC project, so that those funds can be made available to other communities for public transit projects,” said the DOT.

Additionally, the agreement struck between New Jersey and the Feds requires the state to spend another $128 million on transit projects.

A Department of Transportation official praised the efforts of New Jersey’s two Democratic senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, in helping broker a deal.

“Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez deserve the lion’s share of the credit for helping to broker a solution that will ensure New Jersey taxpayers have to pay back a much smaller amount than what Gov. Christie owes and that the state must now proceed with other transit projects that benefit residents,” said this official.

Christie released a statement praising the deal, saying it won’t cost New Jersey residents any money out of their pockets.

“I am pleased to announce that we have negotiated a good-faith settlement with the Federal Transportation Administration that puts the interests of New Jersey taxpayers first by substantially reducing the federal government’s original demand,” said Christie.

As for the tunnel connecting New Jersey and Manhattan, for now there’s just a hole in the ground.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


U.S. DOT Issues New Mitigation Rule

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday a final rule aimed at decreasing occupant ejections in passenger vehicles. The new U.S. Department of Transportation standard, which will help reduce the number of people partially or completely ejected through side windows during rollover crashes, will begin phasing in during 2013.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said Secretary LaHood.  “This new standard will help save lives and reduce injuries by requiring vehicles to have a safety system that keeps occupants in the vehicle in a rollover crash.”

Under the new rule, issued by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle manufacturers must develop a countermeasure for light passenger vehicles under 10,000 lbs that prevents the equivalent of an unbelted adult from moving more than four inches past the side window opening in the event of a crash.  The new standard will begin phasing in during 2013 -- all newly manufactured vehicles will be required to provide this protection by model year 2018.

“Rollover crashes are the deadliest of all crash types and this is another important step in our efforts to reduce fatalities and serious injuries that result from them,” said Administrator David Strickland, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.   “When fully implemented, we believe this standard will prevent on average 373 fatalities and 476 serious injuries every year.”

Thursday's announcement is part of NHTSA’s initiative to improve the overall safety for occupants in the event of a rollover crash.  Previously, the agency issued rules requiring that all new vehicles come equipped with electronic stability control to keep vehicles from losing control and also upgraded its roof crush standard to keep the occupant compartment intact.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


EPA and Transportation Department Propose New Fuel Standards for Trucks and Buses

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation are proposing new national standards to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from heavy trucks and buses.

"These new standards are another step in our work to develop a new generation of clean, fuel-efficient American vehicles that will improve our environment and strengthen our economy,"  EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls the proposals a "win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer" due to a reduction in transportation's environmental impact as well as a reduction in the cost of transporting freight.

These proposals, the firsts of their kind, will be phased in starting in 2014 if approved. 

The government says the new standards will reduce GHG emissions by nearly 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil within the first five years.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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