The Dept. of Transportation is already “getting busy” preparing for reauthorization of the Highway Bill in 2009, according to the new Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters.
“This time we want to take a broad look at surface transportation needs,” she said during a press briefing held on the exhibit floor at the American Trucking Assns.' annual management conference in Dallas. “We want to make sure that freight is at the table when transportation planning is being conducted. We need a transportation system that supports freight movement.”
During a quick tour of safety related exhibits at the show, Peters took the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a truck simulator, where she maneuvered through a CDL training scenario.
Moving on to a new rollover protection system, Peters watched FMCSA Administrator John Hill endure a simulated rollover demonstration. Climbing into the cab of a new Mack tractor, Peters also checked out the driver's view, but only after first fastening her seatbelt.
Declaring that she was “very impressed with the safety technology I've seen here,” Peters said that her administration would prefer to use incentives and education to foster the use of such technology, rather than regulation.
Holding a press briefing on the exhibit floor, Peters also said that the department intended to “focus on the behavioral side” of transportation safety and “let the data tell us where we should focus our efforts.” One such effort, she said, would look at improving driver awareness on “sharing the road with other vehicles from motorcycles to trucks.”