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. 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.
Released on February 15, 2017
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