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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Applauds Daimler Chrysler for Funding Alabama Crash Research Center

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater, DaimlerChrysler

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Applauds Daimler Chrysler for Funding Alabama Crash Research Center

NHTSA
April 20, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 16-99
April 20, 1999
Contact: Rae Tyson
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater applauded DaimlerChrysler for committing up to $2.5 million in funding for a Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) center at the University of Alabama - Birmingham. It will be the eighth such center in the country.

"CIREN's expansion continues important efforts to prevent injuries on America's highways and underscores safety once again as President Clinton's highest transportation priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater. "I applaud DaimlerChrysler for its commitment and am pleased to acknowledge the company's interest in making highways safer for America's older drivers."

To advance research on the causes of auto-related injuries and casualties, Daimler Chrysler has committed $1 million in funding for the new CIREN center during the next two years. It has also pledged $1.5 million a year in optional underwriting for an additional three years.

Known as "The Mercedes-Benz CIREN Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham," the new facility will focus on the analysis and prevention of car crashes in the rapidly increasing geriatric population. It is due to start operations later this year.

Created in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), CIREN's mission is to reduce the severity of injuries and gain a better understanding of crash dynamics to reduce deaths, disabilities, and human and economic costs.

NHTSA already directs seven CIREN centers throughout the United States. However, the University of Alabama at Birmingham center is the first to be underwritten voluntarily by one of NHTSA's private sector partners.

Designed to augment data developed through the use of simulated crash situations involving dummies, the CIREN centers analyze real-world incidents to discover more about the specific causes of crashes.

CIREN centers are linked by a computer network that allows researchers to review crash and injury data and share their expertise.

A key focus of CIREN is to discover ways to prevent severe injuries to crash victims-people who wouldn't have lived a decade or more ago but now survive crashes due to vehicle safety devices, especially the use of air bags.

We've seen already that CIREN has created a healthy dialogue between the medical community and manufacturers. This greater understanding of what happens in the real world will lead to better designs for safety,"said NHTSA Administrator Ricardo Martinez, M.D.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System includes a Level 1 trauma center that had 1,800 admissions last year and treated 7,000 trauma-related injuries. Its trauma facility specializes in the treatment of burns, as well as head injuries. The University also is home to one of the nation's 10 Injury Control Research Centers.

NHSTA's seven other CIREN centers are the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore; University of Medicine & Dentistry/New Jersey Medical School, Newark, N.J.; Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; Lehman Injury Research Center/University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami; University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Harborview Injury Prevention Center, Seattle; and the San Diego County Trauma System, San Diego.

Research findings and other information on CIREN can be found within NHTSA's Web site, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/bio_and_trauma/ciren-final.htm.

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