U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Thursday, August 21, 2003
Contact: Andy Beck, 202-366-8810
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Applauds America's Truck Drivers
Citing 2002 as the fifth consecutive year for decreases in large truck-related traffic fatalities, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, with 2003 National Truck Driver Appreciation Week coming next week, applauded America's truck drivers for their continuing efforts to improve safety on the nation's highways. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is Aug. 24-30.
"Trucking is an essential component of our American economy, and we greatly appreciate the attention to safety and professionalism of the 10 million drivers working in the industry," Secretary Mineta said.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics, trucks haul 60 percent of the nation's domestic freight as measured by weight and 62 percent as measured by value. The industry's contribution to the gross domestic product is more than $240 billion, including both for-hire and private trucking numbers.
The USDOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced last month that for the fifth consecutive year, fatalities in truck-related crashes decreased in 2002. The total number of people killed in truck-related crashes in 2002 was 4,897, compared with 5,111 people in 2001 - a 4.2 percent decline.
"We are saving lives by working together with commercial motor vehicle drivers and the rest of our industry partners to improve safety, the Bush administration's highest transportation priority," FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg said.
The FMCSA's safety goal is to reduce the large truck fatality rate by 41 percent from 1996 to 2008. This reduction translates into a rate of 1.65 fatalities in truck crashes per 100 million miles of truck travel.
Sandberg will celebrate the achievements of truck drivers nationwide at the 2003 American Trucking Associations' National Truck Driving Championships and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Inspectors' Championship Banquet in Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 23.
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