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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Urges Motorists, Boaters To Have a Safe July 4 Weekend

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Urges Motorists, Boaters To Have a Safe July 4 Weekend

U.S. Department of Transportation
June 30, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 30, 2000
Contact: Bill Mosley
Tel. No: (202) 366-5571
DOT 125-00

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today urged motorists to drive safely as they travel during the July 4 weekend. He reminded motorists to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers by buckling up, not drinking and driving, and by driving safely through work zones. He also reminded boaters to use life jackets while boating on the nation’s waterways.

"The Fourth of July is a great day for Americans, and it is important that it be a safe day," Secretary Slater said. "Over the holiday period, the risk of accidents and injury will be greater because of increased travel and recreational activities. It is especially important for motorists to buckle up and observe work zone signs, for boaters to wear life jackets and for boat operators and drivers alike to stay sober."

According to U.S. Department of Transportation figures, about half of the 478 traffic fatalities over the July 4, 1998, holiday period were alcohol-related. In addition, last year the Coast Guard received over 39,800 search-and-rescue calls and saved 3,374 lives. However, 800 people were lost to boating accidents.

Secretary Slater added that this year’s Fourth of July falls during National Sobriety Checkpoint Week, a national law enforcement mobilization and education campaign taking place June 28-July 5.

"If you choose to drink and drive during this Fourth of July holiday period, be forewarned: law enforcement officers across the country are eager to catch you, to arrest you, and to take swift and certain actions to keep you off the roads and to protect other, more responsible road users," said Rosalyn G. Millman, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols provide law enforcement with effective tools for removing impaired drivers from our roads and highways. High visibility enforcement is the cornerstone of National Sobriety Checkpoint Week."

Millman added that for every ride, all motorists should use their seat belts and place children properly in child safety seats -- always in the back seat. To prevent crashes, she said that drivers should avoid risky behavior, such as speeding, aggressive driving, and drinking and driving. She also enjoined drivers to avoid driving while fatigued by stopping every three hours and rotating driving responsibilities on long trips.

Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said, "There will be more work zones on our highways this summer than ever before, so drivers should expect delays. Each of us must take a personal responsibility for reducing crashes and fatalities."

When entering a work zone, Wykle encourages motorists to:

  • Stay alert and give full attention to the roadway.
  • Pay close attention to signs and work zone flaggers.
  • Turn on headlights so workers and motorists can see vehicles.
  • Not tailgate.
  • Slow down to posted speed limits.
  • Minimize distraction in vehicles. Avoid changing radio stations and using mobile phones.
  • Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye on workers and their equipment.
  • Be patient! Remember work zones are necessary to improve roads and make them safer.

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