Delaware’s Jana Simpler Selected to Chair National Highway Safety Group

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2015

Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
202-789-0942 x140

Delaware’s Jana Simpler Selected to Chair National Highway Safety Group

As traffic fatalities climb, renewed focus on driver behavior

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jana Simpler, Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, was elected to chair the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), at the organization’s recent Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. GHSA is the national nonprofit organization that represents the state and territorial state highway safety offices across the country. Simpler will serve a one-year term at the helm of the Association.

As the new Chair, Simpler will emphasize the role of driver behavior in traffic crashes and the resulting fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the critical reason for crashes can be assigned to drivers 94 percent of the time.1

Unfortunately, nationwide, traffic fatalities are on the rise, attributed in part to a stronger economy and low gas prices resulting in more drivers on the road. Preliminary estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate a 9.5% increase in roadway deaths for the first quarter of 2015, compared with 2014.2

Alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, non-use of seat belts and excessive speed are three dangerous driver behaviors that contribute to the large majority of crashes and fatalities. Simpler is particularly interested in exploring how automated enforcement technology can be better integrated into communities to reduce speeds and prevent red light running.

According to Simpler, “The vast majority of these crashes and fatalities are related to human behavior, so it stands to reason that the best way to prevent more tragedies is to implement proven strategies to alter these behaviors.”

Simpler emphasizes that a collaborative approach is critical to drive these numbers down and save more lives. A combination of strong laws that are visibly enforced, public education, and partnerships with both the public and private sector are all critical components of a strong highway safety effort.

“There is no panacea for saving lives on our roadways. It’s going to take all of us working together to convince the public that the choices they make behind the wheel can literally mean the difference between life and death.”

Prior to her election as GHSA Chair, Simpler was a member of the Association’s
Executive Board for multiple terms and led the Federal Relations Committee for the past two years. She has worked for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety since 1997 and served as the Director since 2010.

Joining Simpler as GHSA Executive Officers for the upcoming year are Vice Chair Harris Blackwood, Director of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway SafetySecretary Darrin Grondel, Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission; and Treasurer Bill Bell, Director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety

1 Critical Reasons for Crashes Investigated in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/812115.pdf

2 Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Quarter of 2015: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812190.pdf

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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.