Secretary Mineta Plans to Drive Home Traffic Safety Message

Transportation Secretary Mineta will discuss the impact of drunk and distracted drivers on road safety at the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives annual meeting next week.

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In 1999, motor vehicle accidents claimed 41,300 lives and caused over 2 million disabling injuries. Highway accidents are the number one cause of fatal occupational injuries in this country.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and California Governor Gray Davis have been invited to discuss their administrations'' highway safety programs and policies with more than 350 top transportation and health officials from across the country at the National Association of Governors'' Highway Safety Representatives (NAGHSR) annual meeting at the Westin Hotel in Long Beach, Calif., Oct. 14-17.

This year''s program, "Drunk, Distracted & Dangerous," will explore solutions to reach high-risk drivers -- those least likely to respond to traffic safety messages. Seventeen sessions over the three-day meeting will feature panelists from across the country discussing highway safety challenges, and answers to topics ranging from distracted driving and red light running to booster seat issues, drugged driving and unlicensed drivers.

NAGHSR Chair John Moffat, pointing out that events last month have caused many people to choose to drive to their destinations, noted that the likelihood of injuries and fatalities on U.S. roads have increased. "It remains critical for the states and the federal government to forge a strong traffic safety partnership to prevent further lives from being lost. Cutting-edge solutions, innovative technology and aggressive education and enforcement programs discussed this week will help us attain our ultimate goal: getting every American home safely."

Newly appointed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Dr. Jeff Runge, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Marion Blakey and California Highway Patrol Commissioner Spike Helmick also will address the latest traffic safety trends and policy issues in California and throughout the country. They, along with federal and state agency staff, nonprofit safety groups, and representatives from the private sector and law enforcement will discuss the challenges posed by high-risk drivers.

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), a department within the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, is hosting the 2001 NAGHSR Annual Meeting. NAGHSR is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Indian Nations. Its members are appointed by their governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans.

For a complete listing of session topics and speakers call Jonathan Adkins at 202-789-0942 or visit www.statehighwaysafety.org.

by Sandy Smith

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