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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater


April 10, 1998

NHTSA 19-98
Friday, April 10, 1998
Contact: Rae Tyson
Tel. No. (202) 366-5580

MIAMI -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today completed a successful five-day tour of southeastern states, reviewing key transportation priorities, with a visit to the William Lehman Research Center at the University of Miami. The center is an integral part of the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN), which was created by the U.S. Department of Transportation=s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1996. ASafety is President Clinton=s highest transportation priority, and CIREN centers like the one in Miami will provide us with essential safety research,@ Secretary Slater said. AThis kind of research will be the cornerstone of future efforts to improve highway safety.@

Secretary Slater was in Florida on the final day of his six-state tour of southeastern states during which he reviewed examples of key Clinton Administration transportation priorities and emphasized the need to maintain those priorities in the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. In addition to Florida, Secretary Slater toured facilities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, with a focus on integrated transportation systems that move goods and people more efficiently while growing local economies to help create jobs.

The CIREN network of seven trauma centers nationwide is a joint endeavor of NHTSA and General Motors. It is an effort to link information from the medical and engineering communities to reduce highway traffic injuries and fatalities. Other centers are located in San Diego; Seattle; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Newark, N.J.; Baltimore and Washington. The Miami Center, which receives approximately $500,000 annually, has been funded by the department since 1991.

AFor years, our research has focused almost exclusively on crash test dummies,@ said NHTSA Administrator Ricardo Martinez, M.D., creator of the network. ACIREN is an opportunity to change that emphasis to real people and real highway crashes.@ Secretary Slater also participated in a ceremony honoring Miami-Dade County Detective John Buchanan and Capt. Dean Phelps of Rescue 37 Unit of Miami-Dade Emergency Medical Services. Both were trained under the CIREN program and were credited with saving the life of a woman who suffered serious liver injuries in a highway crash.

The William Lehman Research Center is named for former U.S. Rep. William Lehman, who was instrumental in establishing the research center.

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