This edition of Directions in Highway Safety, GHSA's member newsletter, features a recap of the 2021 Annual Meeting, an update on federal transportation reauthorization and the latest association projects and reports, members spotlights, and more.
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Leaving Legacies at #GHSA2021
GHSA’s 2021 Annual Meeting in Denver was an off-the-charts success with thought-provoking workshops, engaging and inspiring speakers, and timely and useful content. Themes of equity, technology and solutions to address risky driving behaviors were threaded throughout general sessions and discussed in workshops. Author Brad Meltzer gave an energizing speech at the opening luncheon about leaving a positive legacy, and throughout the meeting we saw examples of how traffic safety professionals are working to do just that.
For example, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy spoke about how to leave a lasting traffic safety legacy by staying committed to our work to reach zero roadway deaths through the adoption of a Safe System approach. Aurora Vice President of Safety Nat Beuse discussed automated vehicle (AV) initiatives with a focus on how they can create a lasting legacy of improved quality of life and safer transportation options for communities.
A panel of experts from academia and technology engaged in a robust discussion, moderated by GHSA’s Russ Martin, about how to prepare law enforcement and other first responders for widespread deployment of automated vehicles (AV). Panelists also addressed questions from the audience, including how to talk about AVs and their impact on reducing traffic deaths.
Retired Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and a panel of highway safety leaders joined with GHSA Chair Chuck DeWeese to discuss equity in traffic enforcement, how positive community engagement can leave a lasting safety legacy for people in communities of color and recommendations outlined in a special report developed for GHSA.
As excessive speeding continues to put all road users at risk, a panel of national experts discussed what we can do as a traffic safety community to slow drivers down and save lives. The session, moderated by GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, opened with a moving message delivered by Melissa Wandall, whose legacy of turning tragedy into hope inspired the audience. The panelists each brought a different and insightful perspective to combating the issue of speeding.
The meeting concluded with a conversation between NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and GHSA Executive Board Chair Chuck Deweese. Kelly, who led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls, revealed how he tackled the NFL, the loss of his son and three bouts with cancer. Attendees left inspired and ready to continue the fight to achieve zero deaths.
Each of us will leave a legacy. We’re united in our commitment to addressing the scourge of unsafe driving in order to leave a legacy of fewer crashes, injuries and deaths on our roads. For those that joined us in person or via webcast, thank you for supporting GHSA and highway safety. We look forward to another amazing meeting in Louisville, Kentucky next year, September 17-21.
Welcome back from GHSA’s 2021 Annual Meeting, the first in-person national highway traffic safety conference since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Planning and hosting an in-person meeting this year was fraught with many new challenges, but I’m pleased to report we overcame them and it was one of our most successful annual meetings to date.
After 18 months of working from home and virtual meetings, it was great to interact with so many of you in Denver – to network and discuss strategies to address critical highway safety issues. With this year’s Moving Mountains theme focused on forging a new traffic safety landscape, conversations like these are necessary and timely, especially with the unprecedented uptick in motor vehicle fatalities across the U.S.
I’m pleased to report that during Sunday’s Business Meeting the membership approved several bylaws changes that support GHSA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) along with a phase-in of term limits for Executive Board Members. Advancing DEI among the association’s leadership and providing opportunities for more individuals – including non-director level SHSO staff – to engage with GHSA are critical for our continued success. I encourage you to review the updated bylaws, which can be found on the GHSA website and learn more about the opportunities to participate in GHSA governance by reaching out to a Board member and/or committee chair.
Speaking of governance, the membership also re-elected the current slate of officers to serve another one-year term. Congratulations to Chair Chuck DeWeese, Assistant Commissioner of New York’s Traffic Safety Committee; Vice Chair Barbara Rooney, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety; Secretary Lauren Stewart, Director of the Maine Bureau of Traffic Safety; and Treasurer Mike Hanson, Director of the Minnesota Office of Highway Safety. Each region also selected a representative and alternate, who serve as the state’s voice on the Executive Board. State and Associate Members are encouraged to reach out to regional reps, committee chairs or GHSA staff to learn how to more actively engage with GHSA.
As I list the successes that occurred during the recent Annual Meeting, I would be remiss not to mention our 2021 Highway Safety Champions. This meeting would not have been possible without their steadfast support. Thank you for your partnership and shared commitment to roadway safety and a zero fatalities goal.
Welcome New Members
GHSA is pleased to welcome the following new Associate Members. Click the hyperlinks below to learn about their mission and services:
- Anderson Injury Lawyers
- Applied Concepts Inc. – Stalker Radar
- Atlee Hall
- Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers
- Crockett Law Firm
- Pearce Law Firm
- Pedestrian Safety Solutions
- Terry A. Pence Consulting
- The Magic of Life Foundation
- Troy Costales
Federal Reauthorization Preview
Changes are coming to NHTSA’s highway traffic safety grant programs as Congress nears the finish line on the next federal transportation reauthorization. Congress assembled a $550 billion, five-year infrastructure package that aims to make historic investments not only in transportation but also in environmental and energy areas as well. Though the legislation has not been completely finalized or signed into law, the key highway safety provisions are mostly finalized and include many changes that GHSA expects will significantly improve the implementation of life-saving state efforts during an unprecedented uptick in traffic fatalities.
GHSA expects an extraordinary infusion of funding in federal safety programs, including at minimum an additional $210 million per year for NHTSA grants. Congress is also planning to direct NHTSA to shift from an annual Highway Safety Plan (HSP) cycle to a triennial cycle. States would submit a three-year HSP in the first year, followed by smaller annual applications and a year-end annual report. Congress is planning to remove some problematic administrative barriers and burdens, including the biennial automated enforcement survey, maintenance of effort requirements for grant programs, and the mandatory traffic records assessment.
Congress is also planning to unlock several new safety opportunities for the states, including the use of federal funding for automated enforcement in school and work zones. GHSA expects the allowable use of grant funds for impaired driving, nonmotorized road users, and traffic records to also be expanded. Congress is planning to eliminate the teen driver safety grant program, which no state has ever qualified for, and add smaller grant programs to prevent roadside crashes and promote safer traffic stops. Congress is also planning to advance equity in highway safety by increasing access to funding for racial profiling data collection.
Finally, states will have the opportunity to take advantage of new competitive grants on traffic records modernization and vehicle recall awareness. Congress has also created a new, large-scale grant initiative to provide competitive funding directly to local governments to implement Vision Zero programs.
Once the ink on the President’s signature is dry, NHTSA will begin rewriting the regulations that govern these grants. As GHSA has done with Congress, the association intends to aggressively engage with NHTSA to ensure the states’ interests are front and center during this process. GHSA will work with NHTSA to correct prior regulatory problems, preempt future regulatory ambiguity, ensure the regulations reflect the spirit of Congressional intent and that states have the tools and the rules necessary to effectively and efficiently implement programs.
Holiday Rideshare Grants Powered by Uber
With the holidays just around the corner, GHSA is once again making competitive impaired driving ride-hailing grants available to state highway safety offices. This year GHSA’s grant program includes up to $10,000 in direct cash grants along with $10,000 in ride credits, both powered by Uber. This builds upon GHSA’s existing partnership with Uber that has included promoting back seat belt use, developing online safe driving education modules for their drivers and educating Uber Eats bicycle couriers about safe riding practices.
States were encouraged to apply for these grants to help implement campaigns encouraging the public to use Uber ride-hailing services in lieu of driving after consuming alcohol and/or other impairing substances. GHSA and Uber are currently reviewing the applications and selected states will be notified later this month. Campaigns will run throughout the holiday season culminating on New Year’s Day 2022.
More information about GHSA’s partnership with Uber can be found on our website.
GHSA Publishes the FY2021 Annual Report
GHSA's Annual Report highlights the association's accomplishments for the 2021 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). It provides updates on GHSA's activities and achievements, focusing on three key areas: collaborating with Congress and federal agencies, advancing traffic safety issues, and expanding and delivering member services. If you haven’t reviewed it, you’re encouraged to check it out.
GHSA Releases Reports on Equity, AV and Law Enforcement
GHSA released two reports addressing the issue of equity in traffic safety and engagement. The first report, released in June, analyzed data for 2015-2019 and found that traffic fatalities disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). This study, An Analysis of Traffic Fatalities by Race and Ethnicity, is the first national analysis of this topic in more than a decade and identifies actions State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) and their partners can take to advance just and equitable outcomes in traffic safety for all roadway users, regardless of race.
The report identifies traffic safety actions states and communities can undertake to better serve minority communities and reduce crashes, injuries and deaths for those who have been most affected by race-related disparities in transportation. The report was covered by a number of news outlets, including this story in the Washington Post, helping to bring attention to this critical issue.
In August, GHSA released Equity in Highway Safety Enforcement and Engagement Programs, which includes ten recommendations developed by consulting firm Kimley-Horn for the association, SHSOs and their partners, and the traffic safety community to support more equitable outcomes for BIPOC.
GHSA's latest report, Law Enforcement, First Responder and Crash Investigation Preparation for Automated Vehicle Technology, examines how law enforcement officials, other first responders and crash scene investigators can better prepare for automated vehicle (AV) technology. It outlines curriculum recommendations to improve training on rapidly changing safety protocols and includes a detailed appendix with information on the current and future state of AV technology, applicable research, and policies and recommended practices for first responders. The report was prepared by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and made possible by a grant from State Farm®.
Pedestrian Spotlight, Website RFPs Now Open
GHSA is pleased to offer two new Requests For Proposal (RFPs).
The “2021 Pedestrian Spotlight Report and Addendum” provide a first look at preliminary state pedestrian fatality data for the previous six (report) and twelve (addendum) month periods, along with what State Highway Safety Offices and their partners can do to reduce motor-vehicle related fatalities involving people on foot. Both documents generate significant media coverage and reporters often continue to cite the data throughout the year. The Pedestrian Spotlight RFP is posted on our website and the deadline for submitting a proposal is Friday, October 29, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. E.T.
GHSA is also soliciting proposals for a new website design (https://www.ghsa.org), search engine optimization (SEO) and digital strategy. The selected vendor should be able to provide a visually engaging website design on the open-source Drupal system, SEO utilizing modern and proven techniques, content assessment and strategy recommendations, and social media guidance. Please see the attached request for proposals for more information. Proposals are due no later than Monday, November 8, at 11:59 p.m.
GHSA Associate Members are given priority in the selection process – one of the benefits of membership. If you are not currently a member, check out the full array of benefits or contact GHSA’s Director of Member Services and Programs Kerry Chausmer for more information.
Operation Lifesaver Recognizes Safety Champion Jennie Glasgow
In recognition of nearly five decades of advancing rail safety education, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) awarded Jennie Glasgow its 2021 Champion Award. OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh announced the award during the 2021 Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Summit in Omaha, Nebraska, stating, “Jennie Glasgow has raised the organization's profile through her connections with state and national government executives, sports teams, corporations and other nonprofits, all while expanding the organization's reach and partnerships."
A longtime friend of GHSA, Jennie is State Coordinator of Georgia Operation Lifesaver, and has worked tirelessly for the past 47 years to promote railway safety education. She has also been appointed to serve as her state’s representative to the National Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders (NAWSHL) by five governors. Congratulations Jennie!
Two GHSA Associate Members were invited to give “Directions” readers a quick glimpse at their respective organizations and what’s new via a brief video interview. This month, GHSA features Verra Mobility’s Michael Tooker and Jim Graham with the Ford Motor Company Fund and the Driving Skills for Life program.
The Ford Driving Skills for Life program relaunched in-person events in August with new health and safety guidelines. GHSA Vice Chair Barbara Rooney, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, helped launch the event in Anaheim with Ford Fund’s Jim Graham and Nolan Katerburg.
Want to be featured in the next issue of Directions? Email Kerry Chausmer.
First Student Cohort Graduates from Clemson University’s Master of Transportation Safety Administration (MTSA) Program
Terecia Wilson, Professor of Practice and Assistant Director,
Institute for Global Road Safety and Security,
The inaugural cohort of students enrolled in Clemson University’s first-in-the-nation Master of Transportation Safety Administration (MTSA) program graduated on August 6, 2021. Five road safety professionals completed the two-year, 30-credit hour, non-thesis, online interdisciplinary program.
Developed with a technical advisory committee of prominent national and international leaders, MTSA examines the complex road safety issues society will face in the next 10 – 20 years. MTSA strives to create visionaries to lead the development and management of innovative road safety programs that reduce traffic deaths and injuries.
“MTSA allowed me to break down disciplinary barriers and comprehensively evaluate systems, programs, and processes impacting global road safety,” stated graduate Brian Cluever, Commander, Carol Stream Police Department (Carol Stream, Illinois). “I have grown as an employee, a traffic safety professional and a leader.”
“Through MTSA, I developed knowledge and skills beyond core competencies for road safety professionals,” said graduate Holly Alway, Injury Prevention Manager, Mercy Health in Muskegon, Michigan. “Discussing and applying research and theory to emerging issues in road safety with students from diverse backgrounds provided valuable experiences which aided my personal and professional growth.”
Graduate Adam Heitzenrater, a lieutenant with the South Carolina State Transport Police, noted that “MTSA showed me the importance of a multi-dimensional approach to traffic safety. I gained valuable knowledge that I could not have achieved in my individual work silo. The program is exceptional for anyone who wants to get a deeper understanding of the many facets of traffic safety.”
Road safety professionals must solve problems by working with diverse teams from other safety disciplines. Teamwork, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking are essential for success in road safety management and administration. MTSA provides road safety professionals with a sound knowledge base of theory and evidence-based solutions that can be effectively applied to programs administered by State Highway Safety Offices, state DOT’s, and other road safety organizations.
To learn more about MTSA, visit clemson.edu/mtsa. Applications are currently being accepted for Spring, Summer and of Fall 2022.
Directions in Highway Safety is published quarterly by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Contributors to this Issue
- Kerry Chausmer
- Russ Martin
- Stephanie Nguyen
- Adrian Nicholas
- Pam Shadel Fischer
- Adam Snider