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Ray LaHood 30 articles

Bus driver in deadly Oregon crash was driving too fast, federal regulators say

The driver of a tour bus that skidded off an Oregon highway December 30, killing nine passengers and injuring 39 others, was driving too fast at the time of the crash, the U.S. Department of Transportation said in a January 17 order. A number of passengers who survived the crash told investigators that driver Haeng Kyu “James” Hwang of British Columbia, Canada, was driving too fast and that he had been asked several times by those aboard to slow down. “You were driving at speeds too fast for conditions and driving in a manner unsafe to existing road conditions,” the ... Read More

NHTSA’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Targets Drunk Drivers During The Holiday Season

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently joined with local law enforcement officers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Governors Highway Safety Association to begin their annual holiday campaign in order to address the issue of drunk driving.  During this event, NHTSA released new state-by-state drunk driving statistics from 2011, revealing that 9,878 people were killed in drunk driving crashes and 395 of those crashes occurred in the second half of December alone. “The holiday season can be an especially dangerous time on our nation’s roadways due to ... Read More

Deadly Virginia bus crash prompts major change in federal enforcement

Another deadly discount bus crash that killed four people and injured 50 others in Virginia Tuesday morning evoked strong words from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who vowed to change the way motor coach companies are able to appeal the federal government’s decision to shut them down. The bus that sparked this latest crackdown was traveling northbound on I-95 in Virginia early Tuesday morning when it crashed. The bus, owned and operated by Sky Express, had departed from Greensboro, N.C., and was bound for New York City’s Chinatown in when it hit an embankment and flipped over about 30 miles ... Read More

DOT fines Chevron $423,600 for toxic pipeline leak near Salt Lake City

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed on Monday a $423,600 penalty against Chevron Pipe Line Company for contaminating the land and water near the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City with toxic crude oil. A federal investigation of Chevron’s June 2010 pipeline failure found that 800 barrels / 33,600 gallons of crude oil were released into the area around Red Butte Creek. The Chevron incident occurred while the world’s attention was fixated on BP’s epic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the Chevron spill paled in comparison ... Read More

Safety researchers say texting bans may be causing accidents

Although U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been working furiously to make texting behind the wheel illegal in all 50 states, a study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HDLI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), suggests the anti-texting laws are not yet helping to drive down accident rates. In fact, according to HDLI, evidence collected in four states (California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Washington) where texting bans have been adopted reveal that the new laws are actually associated with a slight increase in the number of traffic collisions. Researchers compared their findings to collision-related insurance ... Read More

Airline faces nearly $5 million in FAA fines for improperly trained pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $4,855,000 civil penalty against Evergreen International Airlines of McMinnville, Ore., a global cargo airline company, for allegedly using pilots on 232 flights who had not been trained in accordance with an FAA-approved training program. The questionable flights were made between Feb. 19 and July 9, 2009, on aircraft equipped with a new flight management system (FMS). The differences between the new FMS and the old system were significant enough to require specific training for pilots who were flying the aircraft. The FAA alleges Evergreen did not complete its FAA-approved training for pilots ... Read More

Scores of NYC bus drivers engaged in distracting activities while driving

New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MAT) drivers received a startling number of distracted driving citations so far this year, according to Department of Transportation officials. According to police records, nearly 200 MTA bus drivers were caught talking and texting on cell phones, eating, and reading behind the wheel while transporting passengers throughout the city. The drivers received summonses, and were either reprimanded, suspended, or dismissed, depending on their previous safety record, MTA officials said. The announcement was made at the 2010 Distracted Driving summit on September 21 in Washington D.C., part of an ongoing effort spearheaded by Transportation Secretary Ray ... Read More

FMCSA announces texting ban for hazmat drivers

Distracted driving killed 5,500 people on American roads and highways last year, and some of those crashes (likely many of them) happened as drivers tried to send and receive text messages behind the wheel – an act that researchers have found is many times more disorienting and deadly than drunk driving. Considering the dangers, you would think that it would be illegal for commercial drivers hauling hazardous materials to text behind the wheel. Technically it isn’t. But the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is working to change that. Although the agency posted final rules on Tuesday prohibiting commercial truck and ... Read More

NHTSA’s sudden acceleration findings are inconclusive

Reports abound online declaring that federal officials and Toyota researchers have dismissed electronic controls as the underlying cause of dozens of sudden unintended acceleration incidents in Toyota vehicles. The problem with these preliminary conclusions, however, is that they are based on data drawn from the unreliable event data recorders or “black boxes” in dozens of affected automobiles. According to a report prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 58 cases of sudden unintended acceleration studied, 35 recorders showed that brakes were not applied, 14 cases involved partial braking, and one incident involved a case of pedal entrapment. ... Read More

Truck driving championship competition focuses on safety

The National Truck Driving Championships were held in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, August 7, drawing 415 professional commercial drivers from all over the United States vying for the title of 2010 National Truck Driving Grand Champion. The Championships are known throughout the industry as the “Super Bowl of Safety.” The event is designed to underscore the importance of safety in the trucking industry and to raise awareness of specific issues that can positively impact safety behind the wheel. This year’s Grand Champion Trucker is Carl Krites, a driver for Con-Way Freight. A resident of Wapakoneta, Ohio, Krites has participated in ... Read More