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U.S. Department of Transportation Sponsors Capitol Christmas Tree During Journey Across the United States

Highlights critical role of commercial trucks during holiday season and reminds public to share the road safely

QUESTA, N.M. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor CarrierSafety Administration (FMCSA) today helped kick off the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree’s journey from its origin in Carson National Forest in New Mexico to the nation’s capital.  FMCSA’s on-the-ground team conducted a full safety inspection of the commercial truck that will transport the 60-foot blue spruce to its destination at the United States Capitol.  

“As this very special Christmas tree travels across America to the U. S. Capitol, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will partner with communities to emphasize safety, especially safely driving around trucks and buses during the holiday season,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. 

This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree was harvested by the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico’s Carson National Forest and will be transported by large truck to the U.S. Capitol.  The truck will stop for more than 25 Capitol Christmas Tree community events and celebrations in towns and cities across the United States before it delivers the tree in Washington, DC on November 24.  FMCSA will be participating in-person at the whistle-stop events, conducting public outreach to promote safe driving around trucks and buses.

“This cross-country trip is an excellent example of the critical role large vehicles play moving people and goods throughout our nation.  FMCSA is excited to be part of this effort and we ask the public to do their part in sharing the road safely, especially during the high-traffic, busy holidays,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen.

FMCSA is partnering with Choose Outdoors, a non-profit organization which works with the U.S. Forest Service to harvest and transport the Capitol Christmas Tree.  The agency’s goal is to raise awareness for passenger vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians about the importance of sharing the road safely with large vehicles, particularly during the spike in travel around the holiday season. Commercial truck traffic increases in the last months of the year to accommodate holiday shipping.  According to AAA, Americans are packing up for holiday road trips more than ever before, forecasting last December that more than 102 million Americans would travel for the holidays by car.

There are approximately 12.5 million commercial motor vehicles on America’s roadways, and approximately 72% of fatalities in large truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles.FMCSA recommends drivers focus on safety by giving trucks and buses extra space for wide turns and extra distance to stop, being mindful of size differences, staying out of blind spots on large commercial vehicles, and never driving under the influence.

To learn more about sharing the roads safely with large trucks, visit: www.ShareTheRoadSafely.gov.

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Updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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