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Speeches and Presentations

NHTSA Public Service Awards

Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA Acting Administrator

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 | Virtual

Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities


Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary. It is an honor serving with you in the Biden-Harris Administration and working together to make our roads safer for everyone.

In my short time here, I’ve seen firsthand how dedicated NHTSA’s 600-plus employees are to the agency’s mission – saving lives and reducing crashes on our nation’s roads. Everything we do is focused on achieving this mission while making transportation more environmentally responsible and more equitable.

I want to assure you of my deep and abiding commitment to NHTSA’s safety mission. Nothing is more important than saving lives. I am honored to partner with all of you in safety – in reducing fatalities, in preventing crashes, and ensuring that our roads are safe for everyone, inside or outside a vehicle. 

I’ve already met many dedicated traffic safety professionals like you in my first few months, and enjoyed our discussions on the issues most important to you. For those of you I haven’t met, I look forward to doing so in the near future. NHTSA’s relationships with safety partners like you are critical to advancing our shared safety mission, and strengthening those relationships and finding new ways to work together.

This Administration believes, as do I, in the safe system approach. Everyone, including those who design, build, operate, and use the road system, shares in the responsibility for road safety. And we need to ensure that our transportation systems are safe for everyone. 

NHTSA will fully integrate the needs of all road users – not just drivers and passengers but pedestrians, cyclists, children, older Americans, and people with disabilities – as we move forward over the next four years.

These efforts to improve safety are even more important right now, as we are facing a unique crisis on our roads caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen a very concerning increase in risky driving behaviors, such as not wearing a seat belt, speeding, or driving after using drugs or alcohol. NHTSA continues to work with stakeholders to address these troubling trends, and we invite you to the table as well.

I know many Lifesavers panels are addressing these risky driving behaviors, and I hope you come away from them with new strategies and best practices to use in your communities. 

It’s an exciting time in transportation safety. The decisions we make today can change the way we live, work, and travel. Together, we can make our streets, cities, and neighborhoods safer for everyone, and I look forward to meeting you all in the coming months and learning more about your lifesaving work.

And now, it’s time to celebrate the winners of our annual Public Service Awards. Congratulations to each and every winner – thank you for your commitment to saving lives and to serving your communities. And thank you to all of you watching from home or your office for joining us to honor these very deserving recipients.