Unifying Alabama's Traffic Safety Efforts
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GHSA



GHSA represents the state and territorial highway safety offices that implement programs to address behavioral highway safety issues, including: occupant protection, impaired driving, and speeding. GHSA provides leadership and advocacy for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices.

GHSA has two tiers of membership: its core State Highway Safety Offices (SHSO) that develop and implement state-level highway safety programs. SHSOs pay annual dues to GHSA based on a flat fee as well as a proportional formula that considers state population.

State and territorial governors appoint SHSO directors, who are often referred to as Governors' Representatives - or GRs. These GRs and their designated Highway Safety Coordinators make up the core GHSA membership.

For more information, visit www.ghsa.org.
Secretary Chao to Address Nat'l Highway Safety Leaders in Louisvillev

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-262-4889,kmacek@ghsa.org
Erin Eggen, 502-330-4198, erin.eggen@ky.gov
National Highway Safety Leaders Convene in Louisville
U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao to Give Keynote
WASHINGTON, D.C. and LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With national traffic fatalities rising in 2015 and 2016, more than 600 state highway safety officials and traffic safety partners will gather at the Louisville Marriott Downtown next week for the 50th Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) meeting,  Highway Safety in a New Era. Hosted by the  Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, this year's event sets an attendance record as safety experts come to debate and share solutions to prevent crashes and save lives.
 
GHSA is honored to welcome U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to kick off the 2017 GHSA Annual Meeting in her home state of Kentucky with a Keynote Address on the Administration's transportation priorities, including advances in technology, safety and infrastructure.
Secretary Chao will speak during the Opening General Session today, September 18, from 8:30 - 10:00 a.m. Secretary Chao's participation in the meeting continues a great tradition begun fifty years ago. The first group of Governor's Highway Safety Representatives convened in 1967 at the request of the first DOT Secretary Alan S. Boyd to consider how to improve safety on our nation's roads.
 
Waymo's Director of Safety Ron Medford will follow the Secretary, providing the latest intelligence on the ever-changing autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, predicting what to expect as the definition of "driver" shifts from human to machine.
 
On Tuesday, September 19, three safety thought leaders will consider how we can positively shape the future of safety:
  • Jeffrey S. McLeod, Homeland Security & Public Safety Division Director at the National Governors Association (NGA), will is share how NGA is prioritizing traffic safety through a number of statewide initiatives.
  • Deborah A.P. Hersman, President & CEO of the National Safety Council, will review the Road to Zero Coalition, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in 30 years.
  • Chief Steven Casstevens, Third Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, will suggest how to engage and support law enforcement during these challenging times. 
On Wednesday, September 20 a dynamic roundtable discussion on autonomous vehicles brings together experts from the auto, ride-hailing and engineering fields for a candid conversation on how increasing levels of vehicle autonomy will be a game-changer for highway safety, but not necessarily in the ways we think. The speaker lineup includes:
Closing out the conference on Wednesday, CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borgerwill address the political climate in Washington, D.C. and discuss how to navigate the current media landscape to cut through the digital clutter.
 
In addition to these general sessions, 17 breakout workshops will address a broad spectrum of important traffic safety topics, including drug-impaired driving, law enforcement engagement, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety. More than 60 exhibitors will be on hand to display the latest highway safety products and services.
 
detailed meeting agenda is available online. News media representatives should contact Kara Macek at kmacek@ghsa.org or 202-262-4889 for press credentials. Many general session and workshop speakers will be available for interviews following their sessions.
 
Top-level companies and organizations providing support for this year's meeting include AT&T, Ford Driving Skills for Life, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, Michelin North America, Inc., the National Road Safety Foundation, State Farm®, Uber, FCA US LLC, NASCAR, and Toyota. A full list of meeting sponsors and partners is available online.
Bicyclist Deaths up 12%, Life-Saving Action Steps Recommended
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
202-262-4889 (mobile)
New Report Detailing Bicyclist Fatalities Prompts 30 Life-Saving Action Steps for States
Better data, law enforcement training, and promotion of roadway improvements among recommendations
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New research shows that bicyclist deaths rose 12.2% to 818 in 2015, the largest percentage increase of all roadway user groups that year (the latest year in which data is available). But unlike decades ago, when children and teens represented the bulk of bicyclist fatalities, today the average age of those killed is 45, and most are male (85%).
 
These findings are among many detailed in A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety, a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Funded by a grant from State Farm®, the publication analyzes national data to understand fatal bicyclist-motor vehicle crash characteristics and offers 30 action steps to help State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) and local communities assess their current bicyclist safety programs and take action to improve bicyclist safety.
 
"We need to ensure that bicyclists and motorists can share roads safely," said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. "Unfortunately, bicyclists are vulnerable and much more susceptible to serious injury or death when on the roads with vehicles. That's why it is so critical that we examine the factors surrounding these crashes and leverage a variety of proven tools to improve bicyclist safety nationwide."
 
A unifying theme in many of these crashes is that the motorist often fails to see the bicyclist, while the bicyclist expects the driver to give way and is unable to stop in time to avoid a crash. This illustrates the need for all people to pay attention to their surroundings whenever they take to the road.

Other important data presented in the report includes where and when fatal bicyclist-motor vehicle crashes are occurring (72% in non-intersection locations, and 53% between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., respectively). Alcohol was a factor in 37% of the 2015 bicyclist fatalities for either the cyclist or the driver. The report acknowledges limitations on the currently available data and calls for states and localities to refine crash reports to improve the accuracy of the data collected.
 
Better crash data is just one of the 30 recommendations. Other key suggestions include: more training for law enforcement to understand state and local laws designed to protect bicyclists; partnering with bicycling and community organizations to amplify driver and cyclist safety messaging; and pairing infrastructure improvements with public education.
 
"State highway safety agencies are tasked with addressing road user behavior through public awareness, so they are uniquely positioned to educate people about the safety benefits of engineering improvements and build support for better roadway design," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "While engineering solutions are vital, states and communities cannot solely build their way out of the problem. These changes should be accompanied by education and enforcement to be most effective."
 
The report also outlines federal safety efforts, possible funding sources, partner organizations, and a wide range of promising state and local programs and policies that communities can use to encourage safer behavior by all road users, whether traveling by bicycle, motor vehicle or on foot.
 
This comprehensive report was authored by traffic safety expert Pam Fischer, who has previously researched safety topics for GHSA including teen driving, drowsy driving and pedestrian safety. The data analysis was done by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants. An expert panel of state and federal officials, researchers and bicycle safety advocates served as advisors for the report. Access it and additional resources here: http://www.ghsa.org/resources/bicyclist-safety2017.
Updated Model Police Crash Report Includes Autonomous Vehicles
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2017

Contact: Madison Forker, mforker@ghsa.org
States Urged to Utilize Updated Traffic Crash Guideline for Better Data Collection and Reporting
Model crash report, context-specific sections, and a new element for autonomous vehicles will make it easier for states to collect and share data to improve highway safety
WASHINGTON, D.C. - With traffic fatalities on the rise, guidance on how to collect high-quality crash data becomes ever more important. Developed cooperatively by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) 5th Edition guideline has been updated to reflect the latest behavioral and technological changes impacting vehicles, drivers, and front-line data collectors.
 
The voluntary MMUCC guideline identifies motor vehicle crash data elements and attributes that states are encouraged to collect and include in their crash data systems. It encourages greater uniformity and common definitions for vehicle crash data to make it easier to share and compare data at the local, state and national levels. This most recent update streamlines on-site data collection, reorganizing the guideline into context-specific modules related to the type of crash and allowing more data to be derived from the integrated systems many states now use.
 
Quality crash data is vital to safety on our nation's roadways. It is used to identify critical issues, shape highway safety messages, target enforcement efforts to the areas that need them most, inform the development of needed highway safety legislation, and evaluate the impact of highway safety countermeasures.
 
"So much is changing on our roadways, and traffic fatalities are increasing at an alarming rate," said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director. "We need good data to make informed decisions about how to change driver behaviors and save more lives. GHSA strongly encourages states to align their crash records with MMUCC and collect comprehensive, consistent data that is critical to pinpointing regional and national trends."
 
Other important updates to the MMUCC 5th Edition include guidance to help improve data quality, mapping rules to help states measure the extent to which their crash data aligns with MMUCC, and an editable MMUCC-based crash report template. A dynamic element that captures data on crashes involving autonomous vehicles (AVs) has also been introduced. To keep pace with rapid development in this area, the AV element will be reviewed on an annual basis.
 
The MMUCC 5th Edition is the result of 18-month collaboration between NHTSA, GHSA, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and subject matter experts from state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), local law enforcement, emergency medical services, safety organizations, industry partners, and academia. The traffic records community and general public also contributed comments. The next update of MMUCC is tentatively scheduled for 2022.
NTSB Speeding Study Raises Profile of Critical Safety Risk
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
GHSA Applauds NTSB for Raising Profile of Speeding
as Highway Safety Risk
Speeding is often a forgotten issue

Statement for attribution to
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Director Jonathan Adkins
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) thanks the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for studying and evaluating approaches to reduce speeding-related traffic crashes and raising awareness of this critical safety issue. Speeding is a factor in approximately the same proportion of traffic fatalities as alcohol impairment (27% and 29%, respectively, in 2015), yet it is not subject to same social stigma as drunk driving and is often a forgotten highway safety problem despite its clear significance.
 
This NTSB action should spur responses at the national, state and local levels to prioritize addressing excessive vehicle speeds along with other pressing traffic safety problems. National leaders must come together to develop best practices and programs to deter drivers from speeding and prevent the crashes, injuries and fatalities that too often result.
 
We know from experience that sustained, high visibility enforcement efforts - including automated speed enforcement - coupled with strong public awareness campaigns can truly make a difference. GHSA urges law enforcement leaders across the country to ramp up speeding enforcement to help protect the citizens they serve. GHSA calls for a national speeding enforcement campaign similar to Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over to bring this issue on par with seat belt use and drunk driving prevention.
 
Addressing speeding-related deaths must be a centerpiece of any national effort to reduce all roadway fatalities. We look forward to working with our partners to continue to elevate the issue of speeding and, ultimately, influence drivers' decisions to slow down and save lives.
New Research Links Marijuana Legalization to Crash Increase
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
States Should Consider the Risk of Marijuana-Impaired Driving as New Research Links Legalization to Crash Increase
Statement for attribution to
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Director Jonathan Adkins
WASHINGTON, D.C. - New research from the Highway Data Loss Institute (HLDI) reinforces the need for states to consider the risk of marijuana-impaired driving as they move toward liberalizing marijuana laws. HLDI insurance claims data links legalizing recreational marijuana to an increase in motor vehicle crashes. Specifically, the first three states to legalize recreational marijuana had a combined effect of 3% more collision claims than their neighboring states after introducing retail sales.
 
To confront this complex and evolving highway safety issue, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) recently released a comprehensive report about drug use on our nation's roadways. Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide for States equips states and policymakers with the latest research, data, laws and programs to help them address this growing problem. The most recent national data found marijuana was present in 12.2% of all fatally injured drivers tested for drugs.
 
GHSA's report also highlights a key drug-impaired driving challenge: improving the quality and quantity of data related to drug-impaired driving. GHSA recommends states increase drug testing, bolster laboratory resources, track DUI and DUID data separately in state records, use surveys to gauge public attitudes, and evaluate the effects of any law or program changes.
 
GHSA applauds HLDI for adding to the body of knowledge on drug-impaired driving and looks forward to working with national and state highway safety partners to address the growing problem of drugged driving. 
New Research Looks at Legalized Marijuana's Impact on DWI Systems
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
Report Scans Marijuana Legalization's Impacts on
Impaired Driving Systems
Law enforcement, prosecution, adjudication, and toxicology among areas examined
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use at the state level has the potential to have downstream effects on the entire impaired driving system. In its first completed research project, the National Cooperative Research and Evaluation Program (NCREP) convened a group of national experts, representing states that had enacted such laws, to discuss these consequences and identify issues for consideration by other states that may be considering the adoption of these laws. NCREP is managed jointly by GHSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
 
Impact of the Legalization and Decriminalization of Marijuana on the DWI System is the culmination of these deliberations. It outlines key factors for consideration in seven topic areas: law enforcement, prosecution, adjudication, forensics, data, State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) and public outreach.
 
"As more states consider loosening their restrictions on marijuana, State Highway Safety Offices are looking for guidance on the potential impacts of these changes. This research project provides concrete recommendations from those who have already had to deal with the repercussions," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.
 
Key takeaways from the meeting include the following recommendations for states:
  • Craft new laws with provisions that are supportable by science
  • Provide appropriate training and education for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, probation and toxicology laboratory staff
  • Conduct public outreach and education as early as possible
  • Consider collaborating with the marijuana industry and criminal justice system
Download a copy of the report at bit.ly/ncrep062617. GHSA maintains a list of marijuana-specific drug-impaired driving laws at bit.ly/ghsa-drug
Complimentary GHSA Member Newsletter: Directions in Highway Safety
July 2017 | Directions in Highway Safety
Complimentary GHSA Member Newsletter:
Directions in Highway Safety
Join GHSA to receive future newsletters.

We hope you enjoy this complimentary edition of the Governors Highway Safety Association's Member Newsletter, Directions in Highway Safety.

Exclusively for GHSA Associate and State Highway Safety Office Members, the Newsletter is one of many benefits of Association membership. 
Interested in receiving future editions? Join the more than 100 businesses, organizations, and associations that support GHSA's goals by applying for Associate Membership.

Learn more and submit your application at ghsa.org/about/join.
#GHSA2017: Sept. 16-20
Join us for the GHSA 2017 Annual Meeting, Highway Safety in a New Era, September 16-20 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Early bird registration closes August 4. Register now to save $50!
As Drug Use Grows, a Call to Action and New Funds for States
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2017
Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org 
202-789-0942 x140
202-262-4889 (mobile)
New Report Calls States to Take Action on Drug-Impaired Driving
Law Enforcement Training Grants Fill Critical Gap
WASHINGTON, D.C.-With more states legalizing marijuana and record numbers of people dying from drug overdoses, concerns about drug-impaired driving are escalating. While we have made progress in combatting drunk driving in recent decades, drug use by drivers continues to rise. In fact, in 2015 (the most recent national data available) drugs were present in 43% of the fatally-injured drivers with known test results, appearing more frequently than alcohol.
 
To confront this complex and evolving highway safety issue, today, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) released a comprehensive update of their 2015 report about drug use on our nation's roadways. Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide for States, equips states and policymakers with the latest research, data, laws and programs to help them address this growing problem. This new edition includes recent data on drug use by drivers and drug involvement in crashes, new state laws and programs, and information from more than 30 additional research studies.
 
"As states across the country continue to struggle with drug-impaired driving, it's critical that we help them understand the current landscape and provide examples of best practices so they can craft the most effective countermeasures," said Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of GHSA.
 
Despite the wealth of additional information available, GHSA's basic advice remains largely unchanged. Chief among the report's recommendations is increased training for law enforcement officers to help them identify and arrest drugged drivers. To that end, Responsibilty.org is providing grant funding to State Highway Safety Offices so they can deliver this much-needed training.
 
Following four successful pilot programs in 2016, this year five states will receive grants totaling $100,000. The Illinois, Montana, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin highway safety offices will each use their funding to implement Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) programs. Sixteen states and territories applied for these competitive grants. A selection committee comprised of experts from around the country reviewed the applications and determined the recipients.
 
"As drunk driving has declined, drugged driving has increased dramatically and many of today's impaired drivers are combining two or more substances, which has a multiplicative effect on driver impairment," said Ralph. S. Blackman, President and CEO of Responsibility.org. "We are pleased to partner with GHSA to fill a critical gap. These training grants will prepare law enforcement to detect drug-impaired drivers and make roads safer for us all."
 
Another suggestion for states is to form a broad-based statewide task force to develop a strategic plan on the issue. California's efforts could serve as a model on this front. A committee of stakeholders from across the entire impaired driving system is working to develop a "Blueprint" to guide the state's efforts to combat drug impaired driving. The plan is expected for release by the end of this year.
 
The report also recommends prioritizing accurate and timely data collection. New York launched a promising new data system that leverages tablet computers to help law enforcement officers record investigation data on the scene, which are transferred into a centralized system for immediate access.
 
The report author, Dr. Jim Hedlund, a former senior NHTSA official, notes, "Drugged driving is a complicated issue. The more we can synthesize the latest research and share what's going on around the country to address drug-impaired driving, the better positioned states will be to prevent it."
 
An interactive PDF of the new report and infographics are available online. Dr. Hedlund will present key findings during a webinar on May 3 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4845315029079223554.

As Bicyclist & Pedestrian Deaths Increase, Alcohol Campaigns Should Address All Road Users
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2017
Contact: Madison Forker
New Research Indicates Anti-Drunk Driving Efforts Should
Include Bicyclists and Pedestrians
With Pedestrian Deaths Surging in 2016, Now is the Time for Action

Statement for attribution to
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Director Jonathan Adkins


WASHINGTON, D.C. - State Highway Safety Offices and their partners should broaden their anti-drunk driving campaigns to encourage bicyclists and pedestrians to consider safer transportation alternatives after heavy drinking. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported today, the ratios of fatally injured alcohol-impaired bicyclists and pedestrians have not fallen as dramatically as the proportion of impaired motor vehicle drivers killed, and this remains a significant problem. In fact, surprisingly, more than one-third of pedestrians and one-fifth of bicyclists killed in crashes in 2014 were legally drunk.

Alcohol impairment can lead to unsafe behavior by bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as drivers. We agree with IIHS's recommendations to curtail overserving alcohol and to support more ride-sharing options. These strategies could complement the range of proven countermeasures to decrease risks for pedestrians and bicyclists and prevent deaths across the board for all road users. We also concur with IIHS that further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to reduce alcohol-impairment among bicyclists and pedestrians.
 
This IIHS research finding comes on the heels of GHSA's annual pedestrian safety report, which projects an unprecedented 11% increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2016, further illustrating the need to recalibrate our traffic safety efforts to better protect all road users.

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Pedestrian Fatalities Projected to Surge 11% in 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2017
Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org 
202-262-4889 (mobile)
Pedestrian Fatalities Projected to Surge 11% in 2016
Largest Annual Increase Ever Recorded
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projects an 11% increase in the number of persons on foot killed on U.S. roadways last year, compared to 2015. This would represent the steepest year-to-year increase since record-keeping began, both in terms of number of deaths and percent increase. GHSA's annual Spotlight on Highway Safety offers a first look at state-by-state trends in pedestrian traffic fatalities for 2016, using preliminary data provided by all 50 State Highway Safety Offices and the District of Columbia. The report was authored by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.

"This is the second year in a row that we have seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming," said Retting. From 2014 to 2015, the number of pedestrian deaths spiked more than 9%. "It is critical that the highway safety community understand these disturbing statistics and work to aggressively implement effective countermeasures. The information in this report will help states and localities pursue engineering, enforcement and education solutions to reverse this trend."

States reported 2,660 pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2016, compared to 2,486 deaths during the same time period in the previous year. Adjusting for underreporting and past full-year data trends, GHSA estimates an 11% rise in pedestrian fatalities from 2015 to 2016. Compared to 2014, the number of pedestrians killed in 2016 increased by 22%. Pedestrians account for approximately 15% of all motor vehicle deaths.

More than twice as many states reported an uptick in pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2016 than had decreasing numbers. Thirty-four states saw an increase, while 15 states and the District of Columbia reported decreases, and one state had no change.

There are many possible factors contributing to this spike. As economic conditions improve and gas prices remain low, the U.S. has seen an increase in motor vehicle miles traveled. At the same time, a growing number of Americans are choosing to travel by foot for health, transportation, economic or environmental reasons. Another potential factor is a sharp rise in the use of smartphones to send and receive multimedia messages, a frequent source of mental and visual distraction for both walkers and drivers.

"Everyone walks, and we want to encourage that, but at the same time we want to make sure that we all get to our destinations safely," said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director. "Unfortunately, this latest data shows that the U.S. is not meeting the mark on keeping pedestrians safe on our roadways. Every one of these lives represents a loved one not coming home tonight which is absolutely unacceptable."

GHSA also asked its state members, which are responsible for addressing behavioral safety, to provide examples of their efforts to reduce pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions. Promising strategies include: high visibility enforcement and public information campaigns aimed at both motorists and pedestrians; identifying high-risk zones and conducting educational outreach in these areas; adoption of Complete Streets policies, which ensure streets are safe for all users regardless of mode, age and ability; and strategic partnerships with local universities and community organizations to advance pedestrian safety. State Highway Safety Offices also collaborate with state DOTs that are tasked with infrastructure improvements. The report provides specific examples of these efforts in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

Access the full report, including state-by-state data, Here

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Surge in Highway Deaths a Concern, but Solutions Abound
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2017
Contact: Kara Macek
202-262-4889 (mobile)
Increase in Highway Deaths Requires Action
States Need Flexibility to Try New Approaches

Statement for attribution to Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Safety Council's projection that highway deaths increased 6 percent in 2016 is a call to action for the highway safety community. While the data is preliminary and will differ from final federal data, the trend is clear: after years of progress, highway deaths are heading in the wrong direction.
 
According to NHTSA, 94 percent of traffic crashes are related to human choices.[1] GHSA continues to hear from state agencies that the three predominant factors contributing to traffic deaths are still belts, booze and speed. Additionally, driver distraction and our society's addiction to electronic devices is likely playing a role in the increase in deaths.
 
The good news is we know what works to save lives - high visibility enforcement of strong traffic laws coupled with public education and awareness. At the same time, state highway safety offices need the flexibility to try new approaches and strategies to administer their federally-funded programs. Too often, state programs are bogged down by unnecessary and repetitive paperwork and federal bureaucracy, which detract from the effort spent on safety.
 
GHSA is committed to working with our partners in the federal government, advocacy community and at the local level to reverse this trend.


 https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812115
New Report Advises States on Preparing Human Drivers for Autonomous Vehicles
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2017
Contact: Kara Macek
202-262-4889 (mobile)
Driver Behavior Paramount as Autonomous Vehicles Introduced 
Report Spotlights Safety Challenges in Era of New Technology
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As autonomous vehicles (AVs) merge into our nation's traffic, the most pressing safety challenge for states will be preparing human drivers. While these vehicles have the potential for tremendous safety benefits, AVs will be sharing the road with traditional driver-operated cars for many decades, perhaps forever. And the public remains skeptical. Currently, only about one-fifth of drivers say they would buy an autonomous car as soon as one is available and fewer than one-third say they would be comfortable riding in one. This presents a myriad of safety challenges for states, which are responsible for educating the public, licensing drivers, and establishing and enforcing traffic laws.
 
The Governors Highway Safety Association's new report, Autonomous Vehicles Meet Human Drivers: Traffic Safety Issues for States, examines these issues and recommends how states can prepare for AVs and put traffic safety at the forefront of all policy decisions. Dr. James Hedlund, a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), authored the report.
 
According to Dr. Hedlund, "The research and media attention given to autonomous vehicles often overlooks the safety implications that a mix of driver-operated and autonomous vehicles will bring. Unfortunately, ignoring the driver side of the equation may negate many of the expected safety benefits."
 
The Association's report provides an overview of the current autonomous vehicle landscape and outlines suggested priorities for state Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) and State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) as AVs become more widespread. Key recommendations include:
 
  • Educate the public - States should develop education campaigns on the benefits and risks of AVs, how to operate vehicles with some autonomous features safely, and how to share the road with AVs.
  • Don't rush into passing laws - States should wait until model laws and regulations have been developed to encourage a common structure and prevent a patchwork of inconsistent laws and regulations that may delay AV implementation.
  • Capture the data - States must identify vehicle automation levels in their registration, driver licensing and crash information systems. Police crash reports should be designed to help facilitate comprehensive and accurate data collection.
  • Engage law enforcement - States should include law enforcement in their planning, as AVs raise many issues for law enforcement, including officer safety, enforcement procedures and vehicle identification.
GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins notes, "Drivers are often forgotten as we discuss autonomous vehicles, but cars driven by humans will be on the road for at least another generation. As human drivers begin to share the road with different levels of autonomous vehicles, states will need to stay informed, be patient and be flexible."
 
The report also provides a comprehensive list of resources for additional information and encourages national organizations to help states by developing model laws and public education materials, documenting likely traffic safety scenarios, and establishing a centralized AV clearing house for new information.
 
GHSA will hold a webinar to discuss this new report on February 8, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7320113391340677379.
Young Driver Age Trends Findings Report
CAPS has conducted a study using both ten year and recent five-year data to determine.  The results obtained nationally by GHSA are quite significant and should be given consideration in countermeasure planning.  However, they could not be replicated by Alabama crash data.  What was found was a significant increase in crashes caused by 21-25 year old drivers in the 2013-2015 time frame compared to the previous ten years.  A report on this will be linked here as soon as it is available.

Click Here to Read the Report

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