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.
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.
 
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 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.
Funding Announced for States to Address Pressing Issue
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2016
Contact: Madison Forker
202-789-0942 x120
GHSA to Fund State Drowsy Driving Programs Through National Road Safety Foundation Grant
$100,000 Grant Announced to Support State Highway Safety Offices in Creating and Implementing Drowsy Driving Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As Drowsy Driving Prevention Week approaches (November 6-13), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is proud to announce it has received a $100,000 grant from the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) to support innovative state approaches that address the pressing issue of drowsy driving. The grants will be awarded to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) through a competitive application process that will be announced in early 2017.
 
This grant comes on the heels of a report released in August 2016 by GHSA and State Farm® that noted drowsy driving is the cause of 328,000 crashes each year, resulting in an annual societal cost of $109 billion. The report, Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do, recommended numerous programs and initiatives that states can consider to combat drowsy driving including: creating public awareness campaigns; improving data-collection methods to better assess drowsy driving crashes; developing training for law enforcement to recognize the signs of drowsy driving; and partnering with business, non-profits and educational institutions to change the culture around drowsy driving.
 
"There are a tremendous number of challenges that the highway safety community faces in addressing drowsy driving," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "For many states, a lack of funding has been a stumbling block. This grant will enable states to develop and implement innovative strategies to better assess and combat this problem."
 
NRSF, a GHSA partner for more than two decades, has long been committed to educating the public about drowsy driving. "With an average of 6,400 people dying in drowsy driving crashes each year, this is an issue that must be addressed," said Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations for NRSF. "We're excited to provide states funding to research, combat, and educate the public about the dangers of drowsy driving."
 
For more than half a century, NRSF has been dedicated to promoting safe driving behavior through public awareness. The Foundation has a wealth of free resources available online that call attention to both drowsy driving and a host of other behavioral safety issues. For a full list of NRSF's free traffic safety programs, visit http://www.nrsf.org/programs.
 
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About GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.
 
About the National Road Safety Foundation

The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries on our nation's roads by promoting safe driving awareness and lifelong education. NRSF produces free traffic safety programs on distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving, driving skills, pedestrian safety and a host of other safety issues. NRSF also sponsors contests to engage teens in promoting safe driving to their peers and in their communities. For more information or to download free programs, visit www.nrsf.org or www.teenlane.org
 


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

Follow @SafeHomeAlabama for all SHA Update notifications
Should Teen Driving Restrictions Extend Through Age 21?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2016
Contact: Amadie Hart, ahart@ghsa.org
Madison Forker, mforker@ghsa.org
Teen Driver Safety Week Provides Opportunity
for National Conversation on Licensing
Report recommends extending restricted teen driver licenses through age 21

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 16-22) kicks off, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) encourages states, traffic safety advocates and parents to look for opportunities to expand successful teen driving policies and programs to reverse the recent 10 percent spike in teen driver-involved fatal crashes.
 
Last week, GHSA released a report,  Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter, funded by The Ford Motor Company Fund, which found that from 2005 to 2014, more progress had been made in reducing fatal crashes for younger teen drivers (age 15 to 17) than for their older counterparts (age 18 to 20). A key recommendation in the report calls on states to extend teen driving restrictions, commonly known as graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, through age 21. Currently only one state, New Jersey, has such a policy.
 
Report author Pam Fischer, Principal of Pam Fischer Consulting, said, "With last year's spike in teen driver-involved traffic deaths, it is critical that we examine teen driving data to identify how we can get the numbers once again going in the right direction and reduce deaths and injuries. The most effective response by states would be to extend graduated licensing requirements to all teens until age 21."
 
GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins added, "The new study found that teens are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and that one in three is not obtaining a driver's license until age 18. Given those facts, states should consider strengthening their teen licensing requirements. Short of that, parents and educators need to be reminded that we aren't done protecting our teen drivers once they turn 18. In fact, the data indicate that it's the 18- to 20-year olds that warrant our concern."
 
The report examined 10 years of data (encompassing 2005-2014) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). It is available online at:  http://ghsa.org/html/publications/teens/2016teens.html. GHSA will hold a webinar to discuss the report's key findings and recommendations on October 20 at 2 p.m. EDT. Register at  http://bit.ly/ghsateenwebinar16. In addition, a list of Graduated Driver Licensing Laws can be found on the GHSA website:  http://ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/license_laws.html.
Teen-Involved Crash Deaths Spike 10%, New Report Spotlights Older Teen Driver Behavior
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2016
Contact: Amadie Hart, ahart@ghsa.org
703-626-6679
Madison Forker, mforker@ghsa.org
202-789-0942 x120
As Teen-Involved Crash Deaths Spike 10 Percent,
New Report Spotlights Older Teen Driver Behavior
Data reveal bigger safety gains from 2005-2014 for younger teen drivers;
18- to 20-year-olds more likely to be involved in a fatal crash

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As National Teen Driver Safety Week approaches (October 16-22), a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that while much progress has been made in reducing teen driver-involved traffic crashes and deaths over the past decade, teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their adult counterparts, and teen-involved crash deaths spiked 10 percent in 2015. The report, funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund, also sheds light on data that show the improvement in fatal crash rates among 18- to 20-year-old drivers was considerably less than for their 15- to 17-year-old counterparts, and that older teen drivers are involved in more fatal crashes than younger teens.
 
The report, Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter, calls on State Highway Safety Offices and teen driving advocates to carefully monitor what is happening with teen-involved motor vehicle fatalities while expanding their focus to address the heightened crash risk for older teens. The 2015 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing the jump in teen-involved crash deaths is troubling, but this is the first uptick since 2006 and the report recommends actions that could be taken to avoid a full reversal of the downward trend seen over the past 10 years.
 
"This data shows that smart programs that focus on teen driving behavior have been very successful in helping novice and younger drivers be safer on the roads, but that we still have more to do," said Jim Graham, Global Manager for the Ford Driving Skills for Life program. "We also need to make sure older teens benefit from these efforts. Our Driving Skills for Life program has trained more than 1 million new drivers in skills such as hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management and space management, and we encourage all drivers under 21 to participate."
 
To best understand the challenges surrounding teen driving behavior, the report examined 10 years of data (encompassing 2005-2014) from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which contains data on all vehicle crashes in the United States that occur on a public roadway and involve a fatality. The data analysis used in the report was conducted by Richard Retting, Director of Safety/Research for Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants, while the report was researched and written by nationally recognized teen driving expert Pam Fischer, Principal of Pam Fischer Consulting.
 
"This report drives home the message that there is still much to do to reduce teen driver fatal crashes and the resulting deaths," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, who oversaw development of the report. "The increase in teen driver fatal crashes is concerning and states are keeping a watchful eye to see if this is the start of a reversal in the gains we've made over the past decade. We need to continue to support effective public policies that address this issue and make sure that all drivers under 21 years of age have access to programs that improve teen driver safety."
 
In place in all 50 states, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is a three-stage licensing system that is proven to reduce teen crash risk by as much as 30 percent. In most states, teens age out of GDL requirements at age 18.
 
However, "it's estimated that one in three teens are not licensed by 18," said Fischer.  "That means that once they do obtain a driver's license, they're not reaping the benefits of graduated driver licensing." As 18- to 20-year olds are still at a high crash risk, "policy makers need to understand that reaching age 18 doesn't necessarily equate to mental maturity -- which is critical for safe driving."
 
GHSA's report calls for an expansion of GDL to include all drivers younger than 21 years of age, and provides 11 recommendations (policies and best practices) for states to implement. Suggestions address opportunities for increased training of older teen drivers, high visibility enforcement, continued parental involvement, and safe driving programs at colleges.
 
States where these policies are in place or being considered include Maryland, where the Rookie Driver program requires all novice drivers regardless of age to complete 30 hours of classroom and six hours of behind the wheel training. In California, state officials and teen safe driving advocates are calling for passage of legislation that would expand that state's GDL to include older teens, while advocates in Washington State are expected to unveil a teen driving legislative agenda in early 2017 that includes mandatory driver education for older teens. 
 
The report also discusses the impact of a high visibility enforcement and education campaign in Mississippi, Pay Attention, Pay a Fine...Stop the Knock, which uses high school and college presentations and paid and earned media to educate and engage teens, and the Texas-based U in the Driver Seat program, a teen-led expansion of the high school peer-to-peer Teens in the Driver Seat program. Similar college-level programming is available in California, Ohio, Maryland, Iowa and New York and is increasing student awareness of unsafe driving behaviors and prompting them to protect themselves and their friends.
 
An interactive PDF version of the report and related infographics are available online. GHSA will hold a webinar to discuss key findings and recommendations on October 20 at 2 p.m. EDT. Register at http://bit.ly/ghsateenwebinar16
Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do
Click Here to View Our Distracted Driving Page to Read about GHSA's Drowsy Driving Report.
New Report Reveals Costs of Drowsy Driving and Recommends Solutions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2016
Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
202-789-0942 x140 | 202-262-4889
Madison Forker, mforker@ghsa.org
202-789-0942 x120
New Report Spotlights Dangers of Drowsy Driving
New analysis reveals annual societal cost estimated at $109 billion
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In today's fast-paced society, Americans are sacrificing sleep, which too often leads to tragic consequences on our roadways. A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do, points out that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived Americans are driving every day. And it's taking a toll - an estimated 5,000 lives were lost in drowsy driving-related crashes last year. The report was funded through a grant from State Farm® with guidance from an expert panel.
 
The extreme danger posed by tired drivers has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to expand its definition of impaired driving to include not only drunk, drugged and distracted, but also drowsy. In a newly available NHTSA estimate provided to GHSA for this report, the agency reveals the annual societal cost of fatigue-related fatal and injury crashes is a staggering $109 billion, not including property damage.
 
The GHSA report, which comes as U.S. motor vehicle deaths were up 7.7 percent nationwide in 2015, examines the cause and effect of drowsy driving as well as how states and others can best address it. Additionally, it discusses legislative, enforcement, education, and engineering countermeasures being employed as well as in-vehicle technologies that are available today or on the horizon.
 
While estimates of deaths caused by drowsy drivers range from 2% to 20% of all traffic fatalities, safety officials agree that the extent of the problem is not fully known. "There are challenges associated with both measuring and combating drowsy driving," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, who oversaw the development of the report. "Law enforcement lack protocols and training to help officers recognize drowsy driving at roadside. And if a crash occurs, the drowsy driver may not report the cause due to concerns about monetary and other penalties."
 
"Drowsy driving is a serious safety issue on America's roadways," emphasized Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. "We encourage drivers to remember the role that rest plays in safe driving, and to prioritize getting enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. As this report highlights, learning to recognize the warning signs of drowsiness can also help us take appropriate action if we become a drowsy driver."
 
To help State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) address the behavioral side of drowsy driving and develop strategies to combat it, the report explores the crash characteristics and drivers who are most at risk. "Teens and young adults are involved in more than half of all drowsy driving crashes annually," pointed out Adkins. "People who work nights or long or irregular shifts are also more likely to get behind the wheel when they are too tired to drive, along with the estimated 40 million Americans who suffer from a sleep disorder."
 
That, said report author Pam Fischer, merits a change in how we view sleep. "Sleep is a restorative and life-sustaining activity that is just as important as eating right and exercising. When we skimp on sleep, we're less able to react quickly - a critical element of safe driving. Our mental and physical health also suffers."
 
The report recommends SHSOs partner with other sectors, including public health, business, academia, and nonprofits, to change the culture. "Just like drunk driving and seat belts, it's going to take all of us to get the public to recognize the seriousness of drowsy driving," stressed Fischer.
 
Wake Up Call! highlights some states that are working collaboratively to address the problem:
 
  • In Iowa, the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau joined with law enforcement, elected officials, community and business partners, and researchers to convene the nation's first statewide drowsy driving summit. The summit covered research on the extent of the problem and strategies to address it, such as in-vehicle technology, stepped-up enforcement, weekly safety reminders on variable message signs, and public outreach through a partnership with one of the state's largest supermarket chains.

  • In Utah, highway signs reminding motorists that Drowsy Driving Causes Crashes and encouraging Drowsy Drivers [to] Pull Over if Necessary are credited with reducing the incidence of these crashes by as much as 63%. Meanwhile, the Sleep Smart. Drive Smart Alliance, a public-private partnership, has been educating the public about the hazards of driving sleepy since 2005. Drowsy driving is addressed in the state's teen driving program and at parent nights, and novice drivers must pass an online test that assesses their knowledge of drowsy driving before obtaining a permit.

  • New York State's safety, education and health officials are partnering to educate teens about drowsy driving through the development of a standardized driver education curriculum, an interactive school-based initiative, later school start times, and a statewide coalition.
 
An interactive PDF version of the new report, and infographics
, are available online. GHSA will hold a webinar to discuss key findings and recommendations on August 11 at 2 p.m. EDT. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5612028670699401217.

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About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

About State Farm®
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto
home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 83 million policies and accounts - nearly 81 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 35 on the 2016 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.
Alarming 7.7% Rise in Overall Traffic Deaths

GHSA News Release Header
State Highway Safety Officials Concerned by Projected 7.7% Increase in Motor Vehicle Fatalities
GHSA data indicate pedestrians and motorcyclist deaths spike even greater

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The estimated 35,200 individuals killed in motor vehicle fatalities on U.S. roads in 2015 is alarming to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and our State Highway Safety Office members. This represents the largest year-over-year percentage increase (7.7 percent) since national record-keeping began. 

Although we are still well below the more than 40,000 people killed annually just a decade ago, each death on U.S. roadways is unacceptable, and, after many years of progress, this increase is troubling.
 
The good news is that the solutions to reducing traffic deaths aren't a mystery. They include strong laws coupled with highly-visible law enforcement and robust public education campaigns. By using these tactics, the nation saw a nearly 25 percent drop in the number of fatalities between 2005 and 2014, including a record low in 2011.
 
We are especially committed to keeping the most at-risk road users safe. While national data suggest an overall 7.7 percent increase in traffic 2015 fatalities, recent GHSA reports project even higher percentage increases for pedestrians and motorcyclists (10 percent each). As improving vehicle safety has increased the likelihood for passenger vehicle occupants to survive a crash, pedestrians and motorcyclists lack these same benefits and remain just as susceptible to serious injury or death in the event of a collision.
 
Working together with our federal and private sector partners, we are confident that we can find the right blend of enforcement, education and engineering solutions to turn the tide and once again move toward zero deaths on our nation's roads.
As National Traffic Fatalities Surge, States Focus on Seat Belt Safety
GHSA News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2016
Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942 x140
202-262-4889 (mobile)
kmacek@ghsa.org

As National Traffic Fatalities Surge, States Focus on Seat Belt Safety

Uber and GHSA partner to remind the public to buckle up in back

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Traffic fatalities are on the rise across the country, and could be up as much as 10 percent in 2015. Tragically, nearly 50 percent of those killed are not buckled. Amazingly, while seat belt use is the single most effective way people can protect themselves in the event of motor vehicle crash, more than one in 10 Americans still fail to regularly buckle up. And adult belt use rates in the back seat are even worse – 10 to 15 percentage points lower than in the front.

To increase seat belt usage and save lives, states are working with local law enforcement and other key partners as part of the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization, which coincides with the high volume of vehicle travel anticipated this Memorial Day weekend. States will employ creative messaging and social media to remind the public to Click It or Ticket.

This year, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is partnering with Uber to help increase belt use in the back seat. In select markets across the country, through media events, in-app notifications, and other creative means, Uber will be educating its riders about the importance of buckling up in back. Just yesterday, Uber’s “Under the Hood” blog addressed this important issue.

“Millions of rides happen daily on Uber, and that number increases during the busy Memorial Day weekend,” said Dorothy Chou, Uber’s Head of Public Policy for Safety, Privacy and Security. “Seats belts have revolutionized road safety and we’re thrilled to participate in the Click It or Ticket campaign to encourage drivers and riders to buckle up – every seat, every time.”

GHSA’s recent Spotlight report Unbuckled in Back: An Overlooked Issue in Highway Safety points to the need to boost rear seat belt use in for-hire vehicles. In 2013, nearly 900 unbuckled rear-seat passengers were killed; more than 400 of them would have likely survived had they worn their seat belt.

As report author Dr. Jim Hedlund notes: “Many people who regularly buckle up in their own cars and vans ignore the belts when they ride in taxis or other for-hire vehicles, but these vehicles don’t offer any magic protection in the event of a crash. As more people turn to Uber or other for-hire transportation alternatives, it is even more important to get them accustomed to buckling up every time they get into a car, in the front seat or the back.”

For more information on the Click It or Ticket campaign, visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.

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About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

New Data: Motorcyclist Deaths Surge 10% in 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2016
Contact: Kara Macek
202-789-0942 x140
202-262-4889 (mobile)
                                                                                                    kmacek@ghsa.org
New Data: Motorcyclist Deaths Surge 10% in 2015
Fatalities Expected to Top 5,000
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Preliminary data provided by state highway safety offices indicates that more than 5,000 people were killed on motorcycles 2015. This represents an estimated 10 percent increase compared with 2014 -- more than 450 additional deaths. This grim news, presented in the Governors Highway Safety Association's (GHSA) annual forecast of motorcyclist fatalities, comes as warm weather prompts thousands of bikers to hit the road either for the first time, or after taking their motorcycles out of storage following winter.

Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State: 2015 Preliminary Data is GHSA's sixth annual motorcyclist fatality Spotlight report. The series provides an early look at current data, trends, and developing issues. GHSA projects the final motorcyclist fatality total for 2015 will be 5,010 -- only the third year in U.S. history and the first time since 2008 in which the fatality number topped 5,000.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia contributed their preliminary motorcyclist fatality counts for the full 2015 calendar year for this latest report. Compared with 2014, motorcyclist fatalities increased in 31 states, decreased in 16 states, and remained the same in three states plus the District of Columbia. The report was authored by Richard Retting and Heather Rothenberg of Sam Schwartz Consulting.

According to Retting, "These sobering findings provide a stark reminder of how susceptible motorcyclists are to fatal and life-threatening injuries. The risk of motorcycle crashes and fatalities is compounded by factors such as alcohol and drug use, increased speed limits, the repeal of state helmet laws, and a record number of vehicles on U.S. roads. Concerted efforts are needed to reduce this tragic loss of life."

The change likely to produce the largest reduction in motorcyclist fatalities would be restoration of helmet use laws covering all motorcyclists in the 32 states that lack such measures. Even in states with helmet use laws, not all specify that helmets must comply with U.S. Department of Transportation standards. This additional requirement could also improve enforceability of helmet laws and the level of protection offered by helmets.

Currently, only 19 states and D.C. require all riders be helmeted. Another 28 mandate helmet use by riders younger than age 18 or 21, and three have no requirement. According to a 2014 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, the use rate of helmets in universal law states was 89 percent, compared with 48 percent in all other states.

GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins notes that "State and national data illustrate that motorcyclists are far more likely to be injured or killed in a crash than motor vehicle occupants. GHSA and its members will continue to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based motorcycle safety countermeasures to improve rider safety and, ultimately, save lives."

Motorcyclists can take actions on their own to reduce the risk of being involved in a fatal crash, including the following:
  • Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, even when not required by state law.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing to make it easier to be seen by other drivers.
  • Never ride impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
  • Obey posted speed limits.
  • When purchasing a new motorcycle, opt for a model with antilock brakes, which have been shown to decrease fatal motorcycle crashes by preventing a motorcycle's wheels from locking during braking and assisting with maintaining the stability of the motorcycle.

Drivers of other motor vehicles should always be aware and looking out for motorcyclists around them and, of course, obey all traffic laws.

All 2015 data in the report are preliminary. State-by-state data and image files are available from GHSA.
 

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About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
GHSA Provides Training to Fight Drug-Impaired Driving
GHSA News Release Header
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2016
Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942 x140
202-262-4889 (mobile)
GHSA Provides Training to Law Enforcement Officers to Help States Fight Drug-Impaired Driving
Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas to Receive Funding for
Law Enforcement Training
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Four GHSA State Highway Safety Office members will receive grants totaling nearly $80,000 to help combat drug-impaired driving, a growing problem across the country. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org), a long-time GHSA partner, is providing the financial support for this project.

In December of last year, soon-to-be National Basketball League Hall of Fame member Shaquille O'Neal joined the organizations on Capitol Hill to announce the launch of this initiative. Today's announcement marks the next phase of the effort.

The Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas highway safety offices will each use their funding to provide law enforcement officers with the advanced training and skills necessary to detect drivers who are impaired by marijuana and other drugs. Twenty-two states and territories applied for these competitive grants. A selection committee comprised of law enforcement and drug-impaired driving experts from around the country reviewed the applications and determined the winners.

"One of the key recommendations in our 2015 report on drug-impaired driving was to provide training for law enforcement officers that will empower them to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "This new program delivers the much-needed resources that will help states do just that."

Specifically, Texas and Nevada will use their funds to reach rural agencies that often do not have access to this training. Florida and Illinois will expand their existing programs and lay the groundwork for long-term training programs. At the end of this year, collectively this program will provide training and certification to nearly 70 new Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) and certify over 410 law enforcement officials in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).

As drug-impaired drivers continue to be a nationwide problem, it is critical that law enforcement agencies and highway safety offices have all the tools available to them to identify these drivers. GHSA and Responsibility.org will work closely with all four states to monitor progress and share achievements with the highway safety community. The organizations will expand upon these successes and offer a second round of competitive grants to the states again in early 2017.

"Recent data suggests that impaired driving - whether the driver is drugged, drunk, drowsy or distracted - is a growing concern. Increased training for law enforcement officers is more important than ever in addressing this challenge," said Ralph S. Blackman, president and CEO of Responsibility.org. "That's why Responsibility.org is proud to sponsor this law enforcement training initiative."

In addition to GHSA and Responsibility.org, other selection committee members and advisors for this project include senior leadership from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs' Association, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

# # #
GHSA News: Pedestrian Deaths Projected to Spike 10%
GHSA News Release Header
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2016
Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942 x140
202-262-4889 (mobile)
Pedestrian Fatalities Projected to Spike 10% in 2015
Anticipated to be Largest Annual Increase Ever

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates a 10% increase in the number of persons on foot killed in traffic crashes in 2015, compared with the prior year. This annual GHSA Spotlight on Highway Safety Report provides the first look at 2015 pedestrian fatality trends, based on preliminary data reported by all 50 state highway safety agencies and the District of Columbia. This latest report was authored by Richard Retting and Dr. Heather Rothenberg of Sam Schwartz Consulting.

"We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed," said Retting. Since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System was established in 1975, the year-to-year change in the number of pedestrian fatalities has varied from a 10.5% decrease to an 8.1% increase. "Pedestrian safety is clearly a growing problem across the country. It is important to understand the data underlying these crashes so states and localities can apply the right mix of engineering, education and enforcement to counteract this troubling trend."

Comparing the number of pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2015 (2,368) with the same time period the previous year (2,232), and adjusting for anticipated underreporting associated with the preliminary data, the researchers anticipate the final 2015 pedestrian fatality total will be approximately 10% higher than in 2014. Along with the increase in pedestrian fatalities, pedestrians now account for a larger share − about 15% of all motor vehicle crash-related deaths − compared with 11% a decade ago.

Many factors could be contributing to this spike. An increase in motor vehicle travel, fueled in part by improved economic conditions and lower gas prices, coupled with the growing use of cell phones among walkers and drivers may be partially to blame. Additionally, vehicles are becoming more and more "crashworthy," meaning the likelihood of drivers and passengers surviving a crash is improving all the time. By contrast, pedestrians remain just as susceptible to injuries when hit by a motor vehicle.

Another important factor is the increase in the number of Americans walking for health, economic or environmental reasons. This underscores the need to create safe, walkable pathways and ensure that people who drive and people who walk both understand and follow the rules of the road, so everyone arrives at their destination safely.

States reported a wide range of increases and decreases in the number of pedestrian fatalities over the first six months of 2015. Twenty-one states had decreases; 26 states and the District of Columbia reported increases; and three states had no change.

Not surprisingly, more pedestrian fatalities tend to occur in large states with large urban centers: California, Florida, Texas and New York accounted for 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2015. However, when population is taken into account, the states with the highest fatality rate per 100,000 population were all over the map. In 2014, the seven states with the highest rates were New Mexico, Florida, Delaware, Nevada, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arizona.

"GHSA and our member states will continue to make pedestrian safety a priority," said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director. "The recently passed federal surface transportation bill, the FAST Act, will give states more resources and flexibility to address their most pressing pedestrian safety problems. We look forward to working with NHTSA and our other partners to drive down these numbers and move toward zero deaths."

In addition to collecting the state data, GHSA also asked its state members to share examples of strategies underway to reduce pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions. Some of the most promising approaches include: targeted traffic enforcement coupled with public information campaigns; data analysis and mapping to identify high-risk zones; community-based pedestrian safety assessments and road safety audits; and strategic partnerships with universities or other organizations. The report provides examples of these efforts in 28 states.

Access the full report at www.ghsa.org.

# # #
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
Shaq Helps Responsibility.org and GHSA Unveil Law Enforcement Training Initiative

For immediate release:
Dec. 3, 2015



Shaquille O'Neal Joins Responsibility.org and GHSA to Unveil Law Enforcement Training Initiative
Funding announced for states to train officers to detect 
drug-impaired drivers
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Shaquille O'Neal today joined the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to unveil GHSA's new law enforcement initiative to provide states funding to significantly increase the number of officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers. The event was held at Rayburn House Office Building and was attended by members of Congress and Congressional staff.

"As a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police, a Miami Beach reserve officer and an honorary deputy, I know how challenging it is to identify drug-impaired drivers," said professional basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. "It's a complex process that requires special training. I am proud to be a part of expanding law enforcement's ability to recognize an impaired driver - who could be drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted - or a combination of impairments."
Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem in America. With the increase in marijuana and other drug use, states are looking for ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving, and identifying those who do.

Earlier this year, with support from Responsibility.org, GHSA published Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do, a comprehensive report to help states address this complex highway safety issue. One key recommendation in the report is equipping law enforcement officers with the skills to detect and respond to drug-impaired drivers through specialized training programs.

GHSA Chair Jana Simpler said, "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Responsibility.org to develop the capacity of law enforcement to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers. It is wonderful to be able to provide resources to turn this recommendation into a reality across the country."

"Unfortunately drivers can be drunk and drugged and even drowsy or distracted; impairments do not happen in a vacuum. We need to become more comprehensive in our approach if we want to effectively address this complex problem," said Responsibility.org President and CEO Ralph Blackman.

Responsibility.org awarded GHSA a $250,000 grant over a two-year period. GHSA will in turn award funding to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to support their efforts in enforcing drugged driving detection. An award selection committee comprised of GHSA, Responsibility.org, The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association will determine winners. An application and additional information will be sent to SHSOs under separate cover.

# # #
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 25 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at Responsibility.org or follow us on social media: @goFAAR.
 
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

For immediate release:
Dec. 3, 2015



Shaquille O'Neal Joins Responsibility.org and GHSA to Unveil Law Enforcement Training Initiative
Funding announced for states to train officers to detect 
drug-impaired drivers

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Shaquille O'Neal today joined the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to unveil GHSA's new law enforcement initiative to provide states funding to significantly increase the number of officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers. The event was held at Rayburn House Office Building and was attended by members of Congress and Congressional staff.

"As a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police, a Miami Beach reserve officer and an honorary deputy, I know how challenging it is to identify drug-impaired drivers," said professional basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. "It's a complex process that requires special training. I am proud to be a part of expanding law enforcement's ability to recognize an impaired driver - who could be drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted - or a combination of impairments."
Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem in America. With the increase in marijuana and other drug use, states are looking for ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving, and identifying those who do.

Earlier this year, with support from Responsibility.org, GHSA published Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Doa comprehensive report to help states address this complex highway safety issue. One key recommendation in the report is equipping law enforcement officers with the skills to detect and respond to drug-impaired drivers through specialized training programs.

GHSA Chair Jana Simpler said, "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Responsibility.org to develop the capacity of law enforcement to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers. It is wonderful to be able to provide resources to turn this recommendation into a reality across the country."

"Unfortunately drivers can be drunk and drugged and even drowsy or distracted; impairments do not happen in a vacuum. We need to become more comprehensive in our approach if we want to effectively address this complex problem," said Responsibility.org President and CEO Ralph Blackman.

Responsibility.org awarded GHSA a $250,000 grant over a two-year period. GHSA will in turn award funding to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to support their efforts in enforcing drugged driving detection. An award selection committee comprised of GHSA, Responsibility.org, The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association will determine winners. An application and additional information will be sent to SHSOs under separate cover.

# # #
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 25 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at Responsibility.org or follow us on social media: @goFAAR.
 
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

For immediate release:
Dec. 3, 2015



Shaquille O'Neal Joins Responsibility.org and GHSA to Unveil Law Enforcement Training Initiative
Funding announced for states to train officers to detect 
drug-impaired drivers

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Shaquille O'Neal today joined the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to unveil GHSA's new law enforcement initiative to provide states funding to significantly increase the number of officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers. The event was held at Rayburn House Office Building and was attended by members of Congress and Congressional staff.

"As a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police, a Miami Beach reserve officer and an honorary deputy, I know how challenging it is to identify drug-impaired drivers," said professional basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. "It's a complex process that requires special training. I am proud to be a part of expanding law enforcement's ability to recognize an impaired driver - who could be drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted - or a combination of impairments."
Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem in America. With the increase in marijuana and other drug use, states are looking for ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving, and identifying those who do.

Earlier this year, with support from Responsibility.org, GHSA published Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Doa comprehensive report to help states address this complex highway safety issue. One key recommendation in the report is equipping law enforcement officers with the skills to detect and respond to drug-impaired drivers through specialized training programs.

GHSA Chair Jana Simpler said, "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Responsibility.org to develop the capacity of law enforcement to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers. It is wonderful to be able to provide resources to turn this recommendation into a reality across the country."

"Unfortunately drivers can be drunk and drugged and even drowsy or distracted; impairments do not happen in a vacuum. We need to become more comprehensive in our approach if we want to effectively address this complex problem," said Responsibility.org President and CEO Ralph Blackman.

Responsibility.org awarded GHSA a $250,000 grant over a two-year period. GHSA will in turn award funding to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to support their efforts in enforcing drugged driving detection. An award selection committee comprised of GHSA, Responsibility.org, The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association will determine winners. An application and additional information will be sent to SHSOs under separate cover.

# # #
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 25 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at Responsibility.org or follow us on social media: @goFAAR.
 
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

For immediate release:
Dec. 3, 2015



Shaquille O'Neal Joins Responsibility.org and GHSA to Unveil Law Enforcement Training Initiative
Funding announced for states to train officers to detect 
drug-impaired drivers

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Shaquille O'Neal today joined the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to unveil GHSA's new law enforcement initiative to provide states funding to significantly increase the number of officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers. The event was held at Rayburn House Office Building and was attended by members of Congress and Congressional staff.

"As a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police, a Miami Beach reserve officer and an honorary deputy, I know how challenging it is to identify drug-impaired drivers," said professional basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. "It's a complex process that requires special training. I am proud to be a part of expanding law enforcement's ability to recognize an impaired driver - who could be drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted - or a combination of impairments."
Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem in America. With the increase in marijuana and other drug use, states are looking for ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving, and identifying those who do.

Earlier this year, with support from Responsibility.org, GHSA published Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Doa comprehensive report to help states address this complex highway safety issue. One key recommendation in the report is equipping law enforcement officers with the skills to detect and respond to drug-impaired drivers through specialized training programs.

GHSA Chair Jana Simpler said, "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Responsibility.org to develop the capacity of law enforcement to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers. It is wonderful to be able to provide resources to turn this recommendation into a reality across the country."

"Unfortunately drivers can be drunk and drugged and even drowsy or distracted; impairments do not happen in a vacuum. We need to become more comprehensive in our approach if we want to effectively address this complex problem," said Responsibility.org President and CEO Ralph Blackman.

Responsibility.org awarded GHSA a $250,000 grant over a two-year period. GHSA will in turn award funding to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to support their efforts in enforcing drugged driving detection. An award selection committee comprised of GHSA, Responsibility.org, The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association will determine winners. An application and additional information will be sent to SHSOs under separate cover.

# # #
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 25 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at Responsibility.org or follow us on social media: @goFAAR.
 
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
For immediate release:
Dec. 3, 2015



Shaquille O'Neal Joins Responsibility.org and GHSA to Unveil Law Enforcement Training Initiative
Funding announced for states to train officers to detect 
drug-impaired drivers

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Shaquille O'Neal today joined the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to unveil GHSA's new law enforcement initiative to provide states funding to significantly increase the number of officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers. The event was held at Rayburn House Office Building and was attended by members of Congress and Congressional staff.

"As a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police, a Miami Beach reserve officer and an honorary deputy, I know how challenging it is to identify drug-impaired drivers," said professional basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. "It's a complex process that requires special training. I am proud to be a part of expanding law enforcement's ability to recognize an impaired driver - who could be drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted - or a combination of impairments."
Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem in America. With the increase in marijuana and other drug use, states are looking for ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving, and identifying those who do.

Earlier this year, with support from Responsibility.org, GHSA published Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Doa comprehensive report to help states address this complex highway safety issue. One key recommendation in the report is equipping law enforcement officers with the skills to detect and respond to drug-impaired drivers through specialized training programs.

GHSA Chair Jana Simpler said, "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Responsibility.org to develop the capacity of law enforcement to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers. It is wonderful to be able to provide resources to turn this recommendation into a reality across the country."

"Unfortunately drivers can be drunk and drugged and even drowsy or distracted; impairments do not happen in a vacuum. We need to become more comprehensive in our approach if we want to effectively address this complex problem," said Responsibility.org President and CEO Ralph Blackman.

Responsibility.org awarded GHSA a $250,000 grant over a two-year period. GHSA will in turn award funding to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to support their efforts in enforcing drugged driving detection. An award selection committee comprised of GHSA, Responsibility.org, The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association will determine winners. An application and additional information will be sent to SHSOs under separate cover.

# # #
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 25 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at Responsibility.org or follow us on social media: @goFAAR.
 
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
GHSA Concerned by Increase in Traffic Fatalities
GHSA News Release Header
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2015
Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942
              202-262-4889 (mobile)
              kmacek@ghsa.org
              
GHSA Concerned by Increase in Traffic Fatalities; Applauds Federal Efforts to Focus on Driver Behavior

Lack of Belt Use Remains Key Issue, as Spotlighted in GHSA Report

Statement for attribution to Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
Executive Director Jonathan Adkins
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- GHSA is troubled by the news that, after slight drop in 2014, traffic fatalities for the first half of 2015 are up an estimated 8.1% from the same period last year. While the improved economy is likely driving the increase, with more cars on the road overall, three driver behaviors - impaired driving, failure to buckle up and excessive speed - continue to contribute to the greatest proportion of these preventable deaths. In fact, in 2014, nearly half of those killed on our nation's roadways were not wearing their seat belt. To address this, GHSA released a report looking at the lack of seat belt use by rear seat passengers, an issue of critical importance as millions take to the road over the holidays.
We are heartened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's plans to focus on human factors, the critical cause of 94% of traffic crashes. States are sharpening their already strong educational and enforcement programs to address these issues, but lack of reliable funding streams impacts their implementation. GHSA supports the House and Senate actions toward a long-term transportation bill. We urge both chambers to resolve their differences quickly and pass a final bill that will that will provide stability to states as they implement life-saving programs.

# # #
About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
Too Many Adults are Unbuckled in Back Seats
GHSA News Release Header
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2015
Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942
              202-262-4889 (mobile)
              kmacek@ghsa.org
              
As Millions Take to the Roads, Too Many Adults are 
Unbuckled in Back Seats
New Report Details Preventable Roadway Tragedies
 
Each year, hundreds of unbelted adults in the rear seats of passenger vehicles are killed -- and hundreds more seriously injured -- in crashes. In 2013, there were 883 unrestrained rear seat passenger fatalities age 8 and above; more than 400 of these people may be alive today if they had simply buckled up. Rear seat passengers are three times more likely to die in a crash if they are unbuckled. Shockingly, 32 states lack strong rear seat belt laws.
Today, the Governors Highway Safety Association released 
As AAA projects nearly 42 million Americans will drive at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving holiday and the National Safety Council anticipates more than 400 traffic fatalities during this time frame, the message could not be timelier.
According to Dr. Hedlund, "Families traveling together at the holidays often means adults sitting in rear seats, where they may not be accustomed to buckling up in the same way they are when the get in the driver's seat. It's important to remind folks that seat belts are there to protect them - in both the front and back seats."
The recent proliferation of ride sharing services and the high profile traffic deaths of CBS News' Bob Simon and John and Alecia Nash of A Beautiful Mind fame -- none of whom were wearing seat belts in the back seat -- provide further impetus to examine this issue.
"Too many adults mistakenly believe that they are somehow magically protected in the back seat when they get into a for-hire vehicle," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "Convincing adults to buckle up, every trip, in every seat will require a concerted effort among lawmakers and highway safety professionals, but the lives saved will be well worth it."
Nationally, belt use by adult rear seat passengers is only 78%, compared to 87% for the front seat, based on the latest observational data. The discrepancy is even more pronounced in motor vehicle crashes involving a fatality: 60% rear belt use, versus 74% in the front.
 and enforcement influence passengers' decisions to buckle up. Observed belt use in rear seats is higher in states that require their use than in states that don't (83% compared to 74%).
Fatality data confirms this finding: use rates are 65% in states with a primary law (allowing law enforcement to issue tickets solely for the belt use violation), compared with 53% in states with a secondary law and 54% in states without any rear belt use law.
Despite persistent national and state efforts to boost seat belt use by drivers and front seat passengers, GHSA's analysis found no concerted campaigns explicitly targeting rear seat belt use by adults.
Increasing rear seat belt use is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to save lives. To accomplish this, the GHSA report makes five key recommendations for states:

# # #
About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
New Report Urges National, State Action on Drugged Driving
GHSA News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2015
Contact: Kara Macek
202-789-0942 x140
kmacek@ghsa.org

New Report Urges National, State Action on Drugged Driving

First look at drugged driving, its impact on traffic safety and what states can do

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Drug use by drivers is a mounting concern, particularly in light of more permissive marijuana laws (now legal for medical use in D.C. and 23 states and recreational use in four states and D.C.1) and an increase in prescription drug abuse (the amount of prescription painkillers dispensed in the U.S. has quadrupled since 19992). Any drug – whether illegal, filled by a prescription, or over-the-counter – can impair a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Unfortunately, many individuals taking these drugs also drive. The most recent national data show drugged driving is increasing while drunk driving is declining. The percentage of fatally-injured drivers testing positive for drugs – 40 percent – is almost the same as those testing positive for any alcohol. The most recent roadside survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 22 percent of drivers tested positive for some drug or medication.

Both states and the federal government are under increased pressure to address drug-impaired driving, but the extent of drug impairment as a contributing factor in crashes is still unclear, and little is known about effective prevention strategies. Today, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) released afirst-of-its-kind comprehensive report about drug use on our nation’s roadways, providing recommendations to confront this complex highway safety issue.

“Every state must take steps to reduce drug-impaired driving, regardless of the legal status of marijuana,” said Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of GHSA. “This is the first report to provide states and other stakeholders with the information they need. And we encourage NHTSA to issue guidance on best practices to prevent marijuana-impaired driving. We look to the federal government to take a leadership role in this issue similar to that of drunk driving and seat belt use.”

“When drug use is combined with alcohol, the risk of a crash is increased dramatically,” said Responsibility.org President & CEO Ralph Blackman. “This is why it’s so important to understand the scope of the problem and, more importantly, provide solutions to address it.”

Dr. Jim Hedlund, formerly a senior NHTSA official, researched the topic and authored the new report and recommendations. GHSA and Responsibility.org assembled an advisory panel of experts that included state officials, researchers and national organizations that guided the project.

State Recommendations
At the heart of the report are action items states can take on a broad spectrum of issues. One innovative public/private initiative highlighted is Drugged Driving=Done Driving, a new statewide pilot program in Ohio that educates young drivers about the risks of driving under the influence of drugs. It includes peer-to-peer efforts, public service announcements, grassroots engagement with youth and traffic safety stakeholders and has the support of law enforcement and political leadership across the state.

Other recommendations that states can use to help guide their response to drug-impaired driving include the following elements:

  • Planning – Assess the data and understand what is happening now.
  • Laws and Sanctions – Examine and update drug-impaired driving laws.
  • Training – Provide training to law enforcement, prosecutors and judges.
  • Testing – Test all fatally-injured drivers for the presence of drugs.
  • Prosecution and Adjudication – Screen and assess all offenders to identify any drug or alcohol problems or underlying mental health issues and refer offenders to treatment if needed.
  • Data – Track all alcohol- and drug-impaired driver crash data separately to best assess the problem.

National Recommendations
The report also identifies actions needed at the federal level to support state efforts. These include: a national drugged driving education campaign, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office; resources for prosecutors, judges and legislators; standardized roadside testing policies and devices; data collection guidelines; and continued research on the effects of drugged driving laws and programs as well as the level of impairment produced by different concentrations of the most commonly used drugs.

“While this report summarizes the research and data available, it also highlights how much remains unknown,” said Hedlund. “For example, we still don’t know with certainty how much of a specific drug will cause impairment or if such a relationship can even be defined. Many states do not have the data to measure their drug-impaired driving scope or characteristics. The recommendations in the report will help states refine and augment their efforts to detect and deter drug-impaired drivers.”

An interactive PDF version of the new report and infographics are available online. GHSA will hold a webinar on the report on October 7 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Register athttps://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4571157289772220673.

1 http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx
2 http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/index.html

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New Tool Helps States Align Crash Data with Federal Guidelines

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2015
Contact: Amadie Hart, 703-626-6679
              ahart@ghsa.org


New Tool Helps States Align Crash Data with Federal Guidelines
New publication from GHSA and NHTSA will help states map crash data to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) to improve data sharing and comparison
   
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In today's highly connected world, it helps to standardize data across industries so that data can be shared. This is no different in the world of traffic safety. While there has been a voluntary federal guideline for crash data in place since 1998, states often use different formats and names for data elements and attributes, or they may combine (or split) the elements and attributes used in the guideline. As a result, it can be very difficult to compare or share crash data among states, between state and federal data sets, and-in some cases-even between different agencies within a state.
 
Over the past year, GHSA worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help states determine how well each state's Police Accident Report (PAR) and crash database aligns with this federal guideline. The resulting document, Mapping to MMUCC, is a voluntary guideline for mapping state data elements to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria Guideline (MMUCC) 4th Edition.
 
MMUCC is a minimum, standardized data set for describing motor vehicle crashes and the vehicles, persons and environment involved. The guideline comprises 110 data elements: 77 that are to be collected at the scene and 33 that are linked with other databases or derived from MMUCC data elements. By providing a "minimum" set of data elements, MMUCC helps states collect reliable crash data, effectively guide enforcement planning, and shape sound traffic safety policy.
 
The development process for Mapping to MMUCC included the preparation of draft mapping rules, the solicitation of feedback from State Highway Safety Offices and traffic records professionals on the draft rules, and a pilot effort that mapped data from two states to MMUCC. The final tool includes a complementary mapping spreadsheet that is intended to assist states in calculating their compatibility ratings.
 
"Producing quality shareable data is critically important to improving traffic safety," said Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of GHSA. "This new tool will help states be better able to benchmark their progress against their peers and share their data so that they can identify state issues and trends and federal safety agencies can better understand national highway safety issues and develop appropriate policies in response."
 
Mapping to MMUCC and the complementary mapping spreadsheet are available for download from the GHSA website (www.ghsa.org), as well as from the MMUCC website (www.mmucc.us).  

# # #
About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

GHSA News Release Header
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2015
Contact: Amadie Hart, 703-626-6679
              ahart@ghsa.org
              
New Tool Helps States Align Crash Data with Federal Guidelines
New publication from GHSA and NHTSA will help states map crash data to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) to improve data sharing and comparison
   
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In today's highly connected world, it helps to standardize data across industries so that data can be shared. This is no different in the world of traffic safety. While there has been a voluntary federal guideline for crash data in place since 1998, states often use different formats and names for data elements and attributes, or they may combine (or split) the elements and attributes used in the guideline. As a result, it can be very difficult to compare or share crash data among states, between state and federal data sets, and-in some cases-even between different agencies within a state.
 
Over the past year, GHSA worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help states determine how well each state's Police Accident Report (PAR) and crash database aligns with this federal guideline. The resulting document, Mapping to MMUCC, is a voluntary guideline for mapping state data elements to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria Guideline (MMUCC) 4th Edition.
 
MMUCC is a minimum, standardized data set for describing motor vehicle crashes and the vehicles, persons and environment involved. The guideline comprises 110 data elements: 77 that are to be collected at the scene and 33 that are linked with other databases or derived from MMUCC data elements. By providing a "minimum" set of data elements, MMUCC helps states collect reliable crash data, effectively guide enforcement planning, and shape sound traffic safety policy.
 
The development process for Mapping to MMUCC included the preparation of draft mapping rules, the solicitation of feedback from State Highway Safety Offices and traffic records professionals on the draft rules, and a pilot effort that mapped data from two states to MMUCC. The final tool includes a complementary mapping spreadsheet that is intended to assist states in calculating their compatibility ratings.
 
"Producing quality shareable data is critically important to improving traffic safety," said Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of GHSA. "This new tool will help states be better able to benchmark their progress against their peers and share their data so that they can identify state issues and trends and federal safety agencies can better understand national highway safety issues and develop appropriate policies in response."
 
Mapping to MMUCC and the complementary mapping spreadsheet are available for download from the GHSA website (www.ghsa.org), as well as from the MMUCC website (www.mmucc.us).  

# # #
About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
GHSA News Release Header
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2015
Contact: Amadie Hart, 703-626-6679
              ahart@ghsa.org
              
New Tool Helps States Align Crash Data with Federal Guidelines
New publication from GHSA and NHTSA will help states map crash data to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) to improve data sharing and comparison
   
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In today's highly connected world, it helps to standardize data across industries so that data can be shared. This is no different in the world of traffic safety. While there has been a voluntary federal guideline for crash data in place since 1998, states often use different formats and names for data elements and attributes, or they may combine (or split) the elements and attributes used in the guideline. As a result, it can be very difficult to compare or share crash data among states, between state and federal data sets, and-in some cases-even between different agencies within a state.
 
Over the past year, GHSA worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help states determine how well each state's Police Accident Report (PAR) and crash database aligns with this federal guideline. The resulting document, Mapping to MMUCC, is a voluntary guideline for mapping state data elements to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria Guideline (MMUCC) 4th Edition.
 
MMUCC is a minimum, standardized data set for describing motor vehicle crashes and the vehicles, persons and environment involved. The guideline comprises 110 data elements: 77 that are to be collected at the scene and 33 that are linked with other databases or derived from MMUCC data elements. By providing a "minimum" set of data elements, MMUCC helps states collect reliable crash data, effectively guide enforcement planning, and shape sound traffic safety policy.
 
The development process for Mapping to MMUCC included the preparation of draft mapping rules, the solicitation of feedback from State Highway Safety Offices and traffic records professionals on the draft rules, and a pilot effort that mapped data from two states to MMUCC. The final tool includes a complementary mapping spreadsheet that is intended to assist states in calculating their compatibility ratings.
 
"Producing quality shareable data is critically important to improving traffic safety," said Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of GHSA. "This new tool will help states be better able to benchmark their progress against their peers and share their data so that they can identify state issues and trends and federal safety agencies can better understand national highway safety issues and develop appropriate policies in response."
 
Mapping to MMUCC and the complementary mapping spreadsheet are available for download from the GHSA website (www.ghsa.org), as well as from the MMUCC website (www.mmucc.us).  

# # #
About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
Motorcyclist Fatalities Projected to Drop for 2nd Straight Year
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 20, 2015

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942
              202-262-4889 (mobile)
              kmacek@ghsa.org
              
Motorcyclist Fatalities Projected to Drop for 2nd Straight Year
Preliminary data show a decrease, but fatality rates continue to outpace 
those of other motor vehicles


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists gather in Washington D.C. for the annual Rolling Thunder "Ride for Freedom" this Memorial Day Weekend, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is projecting that motorcyclist fatalities decreased for the second straight year in 2014, based on preliminary state data. However, this latest Spotlight on Highway Safetyreport also notes that there is much more work to do: motorcyclist fatalities are 26 percent higher than a decade ago, while other motor vehicle fatalities are 28 percent lower.

 

GHSA has produced motorcyclist fatality trend reports annually since 2010, which provide an early look at current data and developing issues. Adjusting the numbers to account for underreporting, GHSA projects the final motorcyclist fatality total for 2014 will be 4,584 - approximately 1.8 percent less than the 4,668 recorded in 2013. This will be the second straight year in which this number has decreased, and only the third decrease since 1997.

 

All 50 states and the District of Columbia provided preliminary motorcyclist fatality counts for the first nine months of 2014. Compared with the first nine months of 2013, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in 27 states, increased in 19 states, and remained the same in four states plus the District of Columbia. The report was authored by Dr. Allan Willams, former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

While the projected decline in motorcyclist fatalities is good news, the report points out that motorcycle safety progress lags behind that of other motor vehicles. For example, in 2013, the rate of motorcyclist fatalities per registered vehicle was about the same as in 1997, whereas during that time period the rate of fatalities per passenger vehicle dropped 66 percent. Safety improvements to passenger vehicles, such as structural improvements to vehicle design, increases in seat belt use, electronic stability controls and policies such as graduated driver licensing, account for a large portion of the decline in passenger vehicles but do not impact motorcyclists.

 

There is little evidence that risk factors for motorcyclists have been reduced in recent years, and fluctuations in motorcyclist fatalities are likely to have more to do with economic factors and weather patterns affecting exposure.

 

"We are glad to see a continued decrease in motorcyclist fatalities, but the number of motorcyclist deaths on our roadways is still unacceptable," said Kendell Poole, GHSA Chairman and Director of the Tennessee Office of Highway Safety. "While we support technology advances such as antilock brake systems and traction control, state laws and behavioral changes are critical to saving more motorcyclist lives."

 

Poole emphasized the importance of all states adopting universal helmet laws and notes, "By far, helmets are the single most effective way to prevent serious injury and death in the event of a motorcycle crash."

 

Currently, only 19 states and D.C. require all riders be helmeted. Another 28 mandate helmet use by riders younger than age 18 or 21, and three have no requirement. According to a 2014 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, the use rate of helmets in universal law states was 89 percent, compared with 48 percent in all other states.

 

In addition to increasing helmet use, the report also recommends that states focus on motorcycle safety programs that:

 

  • Reduce alcohol impairment. In 2013, 28 percent of fatally injured riders had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of .08.
Reduce speeding. According to the most recent data, 34 percent of riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with 21 percent for passenger vehicle drivers.Ensure motorcyclists are properly licensed. In 2013, 25 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes did not have a valid motorcycle license, compared to 13 percent of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes.Encourage all drivers to share the road with motorcyclists. According to NHTSA, when motorcycles crash with other vehicles, the other driver is often at fault. Many states conduct "share the road" campaigns to increase awareness of motorcyclists.

 

States conduct much of their motorcycle safety programming through federal safety grants administered by NHTSA. Currently, Congress restricts state programs by permitting them to address only motorcyclist training and programs that encourage drivers to share the road with motorcyclists. GHSA has been a strong advocate for broadening these parameters to give states more flexibility to fund effective approaches to addressing motorcyclist safety, such as efforts to increase helmet use and reduce drunk riding.

 

All 2014 data in the report are preliminary. The report presents data through September 2014. State-by-state data and image files are available from GHSA.

Oklahoma Outlaws Texting While Driving

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 6, 2015

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942
              kmacek@ghsa.org

Oklahoma Outlaws Texting While Driving
46 States Now Ban Dangerous Behavior


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Yesterday afternoon, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill to prohibit texting while driving in the Sooner State. The law goes into effect on November 1 and carries with it a $100 file.

In just eight years -- since Washington became the first in 2007 -- 46 states have enacted texting while driving bans. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) congratulates Oklahoma for becoming the latest state to outlaw this all too prevalent driver distraction and thanks the tireless work of advocates and lawmakers who helped advance the bill through the state legislature.

While laws and enforcement are a critical step in the fight against distracted driving, GHSA reminds all motorists to put down their cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, regardless of the current law.

GHSA maintains a list of all state distracted driving laws on its website atwww.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html
Pedestrian Fatalities Remain High in 2014

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 26, 2015

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942

              202-262-4889 (mobile)

              kmacek@ghsa.org

Pedestrian Fatalities Remain High in 2014


States Employ Engineering, Education & Enforcement to Prevent Crashes and Save Lives

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways last year is expected to remain relatively unchanged from 2013 and approximately 15 percent higher than it was in 2009.Spotlight on Highway Safety: Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State is the first look at 2014 pedestrian fatality data. Released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the report stresses the need for continued vigilance as more Americans continue to choose walking as their preferred mode of transportation.

Using preliminary data provided by the 50 State Highway Safety Offices and the District of Columbia, Dr. Allan Williams, former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, compared the number of pedestrian fatalities from the first six months of 2013 and 2014. Although the preliminary data indicate a slight (2.8 percent) decrease, after factoring in expected undercounting, Williams estimates that 2,125 pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2014, essentially unchanged when compared with the 2,141 pedestrian fatalities during the same period in 2013.

"This is a clearly a good news, bad news scenario," said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director. "While we're encouraged that pedestrian fatalities haven't increased over the past two years, progress has been slow. Protecting pedestrians is a priority for GHSA and our members; we're determined to drive the number down to zero."

Making sustained strides in pedestrian safety has been challenging, according to Dr. Williams. "Pedestrian deaths declined steeply from 7,516 in 1975 to 4,735 in 2013. But when you consider the percentage of pedestrians killed in all motor vehicle crashes, the gains are less pronounced. The rate was 17 percent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It fell to a low of 11 percent in the past decade, but climbed back to 14 percent in 2013."

Dr. Williams pointed out that states with the most fatalities are primarily large-population states with large urban centers. Four states - California, Florida, Texas, and New York - accounted for 43 percent of all pedestrians deaths in 2013. Delaware and Florida had the highest rates of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, at 2.70 and 2.56, respectively. In the District of Columbia, pedestrians account for the highest percentage of all motor vehicle deaths (45 percent), followed by New York (28 percent), Nevada (25 percent), and Delaware (25 percent).

The findings, however, do offer some promise. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia had decreases in pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013, while five remained the same. Sixteen states had nine or fewer pedestrian fatalities, with Wyoming and Nebraska each reporting just one.

Also encouraging is the substantial reduction in pedestrian fatalities involving the elderly and children. While pedestrians 70 and older have always had the highest per capita crash rate of any age group, that number dropped from 9.3 in 1975 to 2.2 in 2013. Meanwhile, in 1975 nearly one in four pedestrian deaths (21 percent) involved a child between 0 and 12 years of age; that rate fell to 4 percent in 2013.

What is troubling is the 28 percentage point surge in deaths involving pedestrians ages 20 to 69 over this same period. Additionally, about 70 percent of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes are males, many of whom are struck at night and in the fall and winter months. Alcohol is also a factor in many of these fatal crashes. In 2013, more than a third (36 percent) of pedestrians 16 and older involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher. Distraction may play a role as well, since there is some evidence from FARS and emergency room data that both distracted driving and walking are contributing increasingly to pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

To combat the problem, states are using a combination of engineering, education and enforcement solutions. For example, California is distributing a "how to" guide to help communities address pedestrian safety using social norming principles. At high-risk intersections in Pennsylvania, specially identified crossing guards are educating pedestrians of all ages about safe crossing practices, while police officers in Delaware are participating in education patrols - violators are stopped, educated and, in some cases, given items to increase their visibility.

Recognizing the impact speed has on a pedestrian's survival rate, the speed limit in New York City was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph last November. The change is just one component of the city's "Vision Zero" plan, which also includes extensive public outreach about safe walking and driving practices, enforcement of pedestrian safety laws and infrastructure improvements. Engineering countermeasures such as pedestrian refuge islands, longer pedestrian signal timing and more visible crosswalks - combined with education and enforcement - are also being used in many states, including Washington, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The full report and infographics are available online at www.ghsa.org/html/publications/spotlight/peds2014.html.


"Big Three" Highway Safety Challenges Top State Safety Chief's Agenda

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 30, 2014 

                   Contact: Kara Macek,

                   kmacek@ghsa.org
                   202-789-0942 x140

 
"Big Three" Highway Safety Challenges Top 

State Safety Chief's Agenda

GHSA Chairman will also focus on distracted driving, pedestrian safety 

and teen drivers

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Kendell Poole, Director of the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office, was re-elected for a third term as chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), at the association's Annual Meeting, held earlier this month in Grand Rapids, Michigan. GHSA is the national nonprofit organization that represents the state and territorial state highway safety offices across the country.

 

Under Poole's leadership, GHSA will continue to focus on assisting state implementation of highway safety programs authorized under MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century), the federal highway bill which provides needed resources to states to keep America's roads safe, and work with Congress to advocate for a long-term reauthorization of this critical legislation. In addition, GHSA will continue to provide national leadership on key highway safety issues, including drunk and drug-impaired driving, occupant protection, distracted driving and pedestrian safety.

 

Chairman Poole noted GHSA remains committed to addressing the "Big 3" highway safety issues:impaired drivingoccupant protection and speeding. "States are working diligently to continue the gains in these areas by leveraging proven countermeasures such as the national Click It or Ticketseat belt mobilization and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over drunk driving crackdowns," said Poole.

 

Under Poole's guidance, GHSA will work to promote best practices to keep pedestrians and bicyclistssafe. The Association has several projects under way in this arena. Poole notes, "It's fantastic that more people are walking and biking. However, we want to insure that they arrive to their destinations safely."

 

Distracted driving continues to play a role in crashes impacting all road users. To provide funding for programs that address this important safety issue, GHSA will continue to urge Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration support changes in the distracted driving incentive in MAP-21. Despite nearly all states enacting and enforcing a texting-while-driving ban, amazingly, only one state, Connecticut, qualifies for the federal distracted driving incentive.

 

GHSA also continues to work on the issues of motorcycle safety and teen driving. GHSA supports a comprehensive strategy of laws, training, licensing, and education to address motorcycle safety, and strong graduated driver licensing laws coupled with research-based parent education programs to help teens survive their most dangerous driving years.

 

Prior to his 2012 election as GHSA Chairman, Poole was a member of the Association's Executive Board for multiple terms. He was appointed to his position in Tennessee in 2006 by Governor Phil Bredesen and continues to serve in the administration of Governor Bill Haslam.

 

Joining Poole in leading GHSA through the next year are John Saunders (Vice Chairman), Director of Highway Safety Services for the Virginia Highway Safety Office; Jana Simpler (Secretary), Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety; and Bill Bell (Treasurer), Director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety.

 

 

# # #

 

About GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

Report Highlights Programs With Potential to Increase Teen Seat Belt Use

Report Highlights Programs With Potential to Increase Teen Seat Belt Use

 Governors Highway Safety Association and The Allstate Foundation partner to identify initiatives key to reversing unbelted teen fatalities

 

t

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Buckling up has always been a simple action that dramatically increases a person's chances of surviving a crash, but more than half of teen drivers killed in 2012 failed to use a seat belt. What's more shocking is that this number has increased by six percent over the last three years. And worse, teen passengers killed in fatal crashes use their seat belts even less than fatally injured teen drivers -- almost 20 percent less. A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and The Allstate Foundation is giving states and localities tools to combat these trends by highlighting programs across the country that can serve as models to increase teen seat belt use rates.

 

The report, Getting It To Click: Connecting Teens And Seat Belts, examines the elements of effective teen seat belt programs, showcases promising programs currently implemented in 12 states, and recommendations to accelerate the success of programs motivating teens to buckle up.

 

"Crashes are already the leading cause of death for teens, and it is particularly disturbing to see the percentage of unbelted teen drivers and passengers in fatalities continue to rise," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, who oversaw the development of this latest report. "It is imperative that we find out what works to make teens understand that using a seat belt may save their life and find ways to convince them to buckle up every time they get in the car."

 

"Developing innovative, engaging approaches to teen safe driving reduces injuries and ultimately helps save lives," said Steve Sorenson, executive vice president at Allstate. "We hope that highlighting effective programs already underway in states and cities across the country will help expand their reach and encourage everyone in the car to buckle up on every trip."

 

Programs and initiatives covered in the report were identified through a survey of State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) conducted by GHSA in January 2014. After reviewing survey responses, an expert panel identified a number of states with strong teen seat belt-related programs that had the potential for replication by other states. These states are: Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

 

Expert panel members identified seven elements that effective teen seat belt programs had in common. These include:

  • Laws and their enforcement;
  • Peer-to-peer efforts;
  • Parental participation;
  • Community involvement;
  • Incorporation of social media;
  • Provision of incentives; and
  • Resources that would be useful to diverse audiences. 

Programs detailed in the report all had one or more of these seven elements at their core, and the most successful used a multifaceted approach. Nearly every state has implemented campaigns that address teen road safety, and many have specific efforts that target seat belt use in particular. However, no single approach has solved the challenge of improving teen compliance with seat belt laws. Instead, research shows that combining approaches improves the likelihood of affecting teen behavior.

 

The state program survey and summary report were created and written by Karen Sprattler, Principal, Sprattler Group. An expert panel contributed to the report. Panel members included Kathy Bernstein Harris, National Safety Council; Anita Boles, NOYS (National Organizations for Youth Safety); Hilda Crespo, Aspira; Chuck DeWeese, New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee; Sandy Sinclair, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); Allan Williams, researcher; GHSA's Adkins; and Laura Glaza, The Allstate Foundation.

 

A PDF version of the new report is available online at www.ghsa.org

 

GHSA will hold a webinar on the report on July 16 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Register at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/930589807.

 

# # # 

 

About GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

 

About The Allstate FoundationEstablished in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people's well-being and prosperity. With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment. For more information, visit www.AllstateFoundation.org.

GHSA Testifies on Highway Safety Reauthorization Before House Subcommittee
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Governors Highway Safety Association Chairman Kendell Poole testified today before the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The hearing was held to examine federal surface transportation safety grant programs as Congress begins work on the reauthorization of MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century). GHSA Members administer the behavioral highway safety programs funded by NHTSA. READ MORE
GHSA 2014 Annual Meeting
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH | September 6 - 10 -- GHSA's 2014 Annual Meeting will explore highway safety after MAP-21, focusing on what the future holds for highway safety — from Congressional legislation to technology to new approaches and programs. Breakout workshops will cover a variety of topics, including: teen safety, older driver safety, drugged driving, motorcycle safety and other important highway issues. READ MORE
Teen Driver Deaths on the Rise; Parents Can Help Reverse Trend
DEARBORN, MICH | March 18, 2013 -- Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death for American teens. In recent weeks, a number of crashes involving teen drivers have led to more than a dozen teenagers tragically losing their lives. And a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that teen driver fatalities are on the rise among 16-17-year-old drivers.  READ MORE
New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles increased dramatically for the first six months of 2012, based on preliminary data supplied by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Overall, 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased from 202 to 240 - a 19 percent jump.  READ MORE
Distracted Driving
Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes, and cell phone use and texting are two of the most common distractions. Many states and local jurisdictions are passing laws that address these behaviors. GHSA's message to all drivers remains: don't use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, regardless of the current law. In 2012, GHSA broadened its distracted driving policy to include a recommendation for states to ban handheld cell phone use for all drivers.  READ MORE