FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2007
Contact: Jonathan Adkins
Governors Highway Safety Association
GHSA Lays Out Highway Safety Priorities Before Transportation Commission
CHICAGO, Ill.—The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission is holding hearings today in Chicago. Barbara Harsha, Executive Director of GHSA, is presenting the Association’s priorities during a session titled “Safety Solutions for the Surface Transportation Network.”
Among the recommendations Harsha presented:
- Encourage Policy Changes. Harsha said GHSA supports additional financial incentives to encourage states to enact primary safety belt laws. She indicated that the incentives need to be more sizable in order to have impact in larger states such as Florida and Ohio. She also urged lobbying restrictions be eased so state officials can more easily urge adoption of safety legislation.
- Focus on Speeding. Harsha reported that the nation has completely failed on the public policy of speeding. To remedy this, she said all three levels of government must take action. Localities should address speed in school zones and neighborhoods. States need to improve the way they set speeds, increase sanctions for speeding, enhance enforcement of speed limits and aggressively address speeding in work zones. She also said the federal government should make the issue a national highway safety priority and the leaders of the U.S. Department of Transportation should use their bully pulpit to address the issue.
- Utilize Technology. Harsha said that aggressive use of technology holds much promise in highway safety and specifically can help increase safety belt use, eliminate drunk driving and reduce red light running and speeding. She highlighted MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and said GHSA is working with MADD to promote the utilization of advanced technologies such as alcohol interlocks.
- Increase funding for behavioral highway safety programs. She reported that 80-85 percent of motor vehicle crashes are due to driver and road users’ behavior, yet less than 2 percent of federal-aid highway funding is dedicated to behavioral highway safety programs. Additional funding would allow states to increase enforcement of safety belt and impaired driving laws and implement other proven strategies.
The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission was created by Congress in 2005 to ensure that the surface transportation system is able to meet the nation’s needs for the 21st century. The Commission is working to examine not only the condition and future needs of the nation’s surface transportation system, but also short and long-term alternatives to replace or supplement the fuel tax as the principal revenue source to support the Highway Trust Fund over the next 30 years.
Harsha’s complete testimony is online [71 KB, 10 pgs.]. More information about the Commission is available at www.transportationfortomorrow.org. Media inquiries should be directed to Jonathan Adkins, Director of Communications—202-669-9746.
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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 and enhance program management. 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.