About GHSA

GHSA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the state and territorial highway safety offices that implement federal grant programs to address behavioral highway safety issues. GHSA has two tiers of membership: its core State Highway Safety Office (SHSO) Members and Associate Members.

Vision: Lead states and territories in moving toward zero deaths on the nation’s roadways through leadership, partnerships and advocacy.

Mission: Provide leadership and advocacy for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices.


  • Promote traffic safety as a national priority
  • Expand and deliver member support services
  • Develop new and strengthen existing partnerships
  • Encourage innovative approaches in the states’ safety programs
  • Ensure sufficient resources to support association services and priorities


The Highway Safety Act of 1966 established the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program (U.S.C. Title 23, Section 402), creating a unique partnership among federal, state and local governments and setting the foundation for the creation of State Highway Safety Offices, which were funded primarily through 402 funds. In each state and territory, governors select a representative to administer the program.

In 1967, several Governor's Representatives organized into the National Conference of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives (NCGHSR). The organization was incorporated in February 1975 and received nonprofit status in June 1976. In March 1978 the organization transitioned from a Conference to an Association, becoming NAGHSR. In the ensuing years, its membership, expertise and influence grew. In November 2002, the name was changed to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Annual Highway Safety Awards

Each year, in conjunction with its Annual Meeting, GHSA recognizes various organizations and individuals for achievements in the field of highway safety through its Highway Safety Awards. There are three different award categories, outlined below.

The James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award is GHSA's highest award. The award honors an individual for sustained, outstanding leadership in endeavors that significantly improve highway safety.

GHSA's newest award, introduced in 2008, honors an individual who has made notable improvements in the management or implementation of a highway safety program or policy, or provided outstanding service to GHSA, federal safety agencies, or other national highway safety organizations.

The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards recognize notable achievements in the field of highway safety by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, media, government agencies, universities, or programs.