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|Publication Number: Date: May/June 1999|
Issue No: Vol. 62 No. 6
Date: May/June 1999
"Safety Is Our North Star"
This issue of Public Roads is dedicated to highway safety, and almost all of our feature articles deal with current programs, research, or issues of highway safety.
Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater could not be clearer about the primacy of safety among the goals of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). On very many occasions, he has said that safety is President Clinton's highest transportation priority. And at the National Transportation Safety Conference, held in Washington, D.C., on March 2 and 3, 1999, Secretary Slater said, "Safety is our North Star by which we in DOT will be guided and judged."
The role of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in transportation safety is to administer highway safety programs related to the roadway and the road user, and FHWA develops standards and guidelines to improve highway safety on federal-aid highways and other highways. FHWA safety programs involve commercial vehicle operations; pedestrian and bicycle safety; safety management systems; speed management; and traffic engineering services and highway design, including the removal, relocation, or shielding of roadside obstacles; the identification and correction of hazardous locations; the elimination or reduction of hazards at railroad crossings; and the improvement of signing, pavement markings, and signalization.
In this Public Roads, we address current activities in some of these areas. Safety considerations permeate everything FHWA does, and so, safety is not a topic that can be comprehensively covered in one issue of this magazine. However, we hope that by focusing specifically on safety in this issue, we can reinforce the message (about which I wrote in the last issue) that safety is always first at FHWA.
The message bears repeating because ultimately, nothing is more rewarding or more important than helping to save lives and reduce injuries.