Federal agencies

DOT cites key safety improvements

Washington – The Department of Transportation has highlighted its contributions to safety in response to an annual report from the Office of Inspector General that outlined key DOT management challenges for fiscal year 2015.

In documents released Nov. 17, OIG said it supported DOT but the agency must address recommendations that include proactively identifying vehicle safety defects, acting on risk-based analyses for bridges, creating a national tunnel safety program, and ensuring oversight of pipelines and hazardous materials.

In a response to OIG, DOT officials said they were “actively engaged” in addressing each recommendation. The department also noted progress in key areas, including the following:

  • From 1995 to 2013, DOT recorded a 20 percent decrease in fatalities on the nation’s highways despite increased vehicle miles traveled and other factors.
  • The use of safety belts increased to 87 percent of vehicle occupants in 2013, compared with 60 percent of vehicle occupants in 1995.
  • Serious pipeline incidents that were recorded in 2012 (24) and 2013 (21) marked the lowest numbers on record in the past 30 years.
  • In 2012, more than 790 million travelers flew on U.S. commercial air carriers with zero fatalities. Tentative data for 2013 also indicates zero fatalities for passengers on U.S. commercial air carriers.