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American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater


Federal Highway Administration
April 30, 1998

Thursday, April 30, 1998
Contact: Jim Pinkleman
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 16-98

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced the start of the second phase of a public education campaign, in partnership with Chrysler Corporation and the American Trauma Society (ATS), to prevent drivers from running red lights, one of the most dangerous acts of aggressive driving.

"Safety is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority, and now we have two additional partners to champion safety," Secretary Slater said. "Our partnership in educating drivers about the hazards of running red lights will prevent injuries and save lives."

Secretary Slater was joined by Chrysler Corporation CEO Robert J. Eaton and American Trauma Society Executive Director Harry Teter in making the announcement. As a result of this three-way partnership, almost 200 trauma centers throughout the country will start local red light running safety outreach campaigns.

Red light running is a major traffic problem in urban areas, and more than 8,100 people died in 1996 in intersection crashes, according to the department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Chrysler has had a corporate culture of safety for many years," Eaton said. "Just as the Department of Transportation is dedicated to making the safest roadway network in the world, Chrysler is committed to designing, manufacturing and marketing safe vehicles. The campaign against red light running addresses the third component of traffic safety, the driver. We encourage communities all over the country to get involved and to educate drivers that red light running is a leading cause of accidents and must be dealt with by significant law enforcement actions." He noted that this campaign provides a critical safety message to drivers of all ages.

ATS selected the red light running program as its featured campaign for 1998. "Our members know firsthand about the consequences of red light running. They provide medical care for victims of these crashes on a daily basis," Teter said. "It’s also fitting for us to join in this campaign because National Trauma Awareness Month begins tomorrow."

The American Trauma Society, based in Washington, D.C., has 180 hospital members and 26 state division chapters across the country that will be implementing the red light running campaign. Each participating trauma hospital will have a dedicated campaign coordinator to work with local law enforcement, engineering and safety professionals to promote red light running campaign safety messages.

Chrysler operates 39 manufacturing centers and has more than 4,000 dealerships across North America, as well as an employee network of 120,000. The company pioneered numerous safety innovations including air bag restraint systems and integrated child safety seats.

Chrysler has initiated a number of national safety campaigns of its own, including The Back is Where It’s At, which emphasizes that the back seat is the safest place for children to ride in a motor vehicle; Neon Drunk Driving Simulator, an interactive program which allows participants to experience firsthand the dangers of drunken driving without endangering lives, and Do the Buckle, a nationwide consumer initiative designed to communicate the importance of wearing seat belts.

Secretary Slater in August 1995 announced the beginning of the campaign against red light running. Speaking near an intersection known for its high incidence of red light running, then-FHWA Administrator Slater awarded grants to 31 communities to implement local campaigns. The success of that national effort led to the partnership announced today.


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