Directions in Highway Safety: March/April 2023 Issue

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We’re excited to bring you GHSA’s Directions in Highway Safety newsletter, now with a fresh new look and feel.

Quick Links: Cover Story | 2023 Annual Meeting | Safety Roundup | Federal News | Member Spotlight

Jonathan at LifesaversGHSA was honored to be involved in a number of workshops at the 2023 Lifesavers Conference in Seattle, including ones addressing the Safe System approach, innovative communications, pedestrian safety, distracted driving and motorcycle safety. GHSA Chair Barbara Rooney, CEO Jonathan Adkins, Senior Director of External Engagement Pam Shadel Fischer and Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations Russ Martin enjoyed connecting with traffic safety professionals and advocates dedicated to roadway safety. It’s great to once again be at in-person events where we can discuss strategies for preventing crashes and saving lives.

The GHSA team isn’t resting after Seattle – we’re participating in more virtual and in-person events this month and next. Fresh off of Lifesavers, Russ spoke at the Maryland Highway Safety Summit on April 12. GHSA’s Communications Director Adam Snider will attend the inaugural Missouri Equity & Engagement in Traffic Safety Summit on May 2. Jonathan will present at the opening session of the Pennsylvania Traffic Safety Conference on April 18 and at the North Dakota Vision Zero Partner Conference on May 16. Looking ahead to the summer, Jonathan will be a panelist on the “Hot Topics in Traffic Records” plenary session at the Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals Traffic Records Forum on July 11.

We’re also participating in several virtual events coming soon. Russ will be a panelist on a National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving webinar on May 9 about the state of practice and new considerations on ignition interlock devices. Jonathan will co-moderate a Family, Career and Community Leaders of America listening session to hear from youth on how to engage their community in state and local traffic safety efforts on May 24. More virtual events are in the works – stay tuned to @GHSAHQ on Twitter and our website for the latest.

The latest data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at Lifesavers reaffirms the critical work we must do in our quest to end traffic crashes, injuries and deaths. NHTSA reported that 42,939 people died on U.S. roads in 2021 – the most since 2005. Deaths caused by risky driving behaviors – including speeding, impaired or distracted driving, and not buckling up – all increased in 2021. GHSA supports the comprehensive Safe System approach to traffic safety, which calls for safer people, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and improved post-crash care to create a multilayered safety net that protects all road users.

2023 Annual Meeting

Al RokerWe’re hard at work planning the content for our 2023 Annual Meeting, August 12-16 in New York City. Registration is now open; be sure to take advantage of the early bird rate and register before July 3.

We’re locking in a great lineup of speakers. Al Roker, co-host of NBC’s TODAY, New York Times best-selling author, weatherperson extraordinaire and 14-time Emmy winner, was recently announced as our Closing Luncheon speaker! The New York and TV icon joins a prestigious lineup that already includes NHTSA Chief Counsel and Administrator Nominee Ann Carlson, NHTSA Deputy Director Sophie Shulman, U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Director of Public Engagement and Senior Advisor Lynda Tran and MADD CEO Stacey D. Stewart, among others. Be sure to check our Annual Meeting homepage and follow our social media channels (Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn) for speaker updates.

We've opened registration for our second pre-Annual Meeting webinar, sponsored by Honda. Join us May 25 to explore the dangers of counterfeit auto parts and hear from public health, private sector and law enforcement panelists who are working to address this dangerous issue. Learn more and register.

The Exhibit Hall is already more than 60% sold out and the remaining spots are going quickly! Don’t delay – register now to reserve your booth. Check our Exhibitor webpage to see who’s already confirmed.

Finally, the Annual Meeting wouldn’t be possible without the support of our 2023 Highway Safety Champions. Learn how your organization can become a Champion.

Safety Roundup

  • GHSA and Ford Motor Company Fund are celebrating 20 years of partnership dedicated to safe teen mobility. This year’s Driving Skills for Life hands-on novice driver training tour kicked off with a great event in Atlanta and heads next to Orlando (April 22-23) and Kansas City (May 13-14). The program prioritizes reaching underserved communities and safe mobility for all road users. See upcoming dates and cities. We also announced that GHSA and Ford Fund awarded grant funding to four states – Missouri, Montana, New York and Oklahoma – to support, implement and evaluate teen-centric safe mobility programs.
  • Building upon the success of last year’s grant programs, GHSA and the National Road Safety Foundation announced a second round of funding to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) in Colorado, Kentucky and Minnesota. The SHSOs are working with community-based groups representing underserved populations to provide safe youth mobility options like walking, biking or riding a scooter.
  • Studies show that it takes as little as 30 days of doing the same thing daily to make it routine. This April, for Distracted Driving Awareness Month, GHSA and GM are using social media to urge people to take a break from their phone every time they get behind the wheel. The goal is to encourage drivers to form a lifelong safety habit that protects themselves and everyone else on the road. Learn more on the GHSA website.
  • States are utilizing grants from GHSA and to step up their efforts to prevent impaired driving. Two recent grant recipients, Connecticut and Maryland, trained officers to better detect cannabis at the roadside through “green labs.” During these labs, volunteers are given a controlled dose of cannabis and in some cases a combination of cannabis and alcohol.
  • Two new research studies of note: Promoting Older Driver Safety: Guide for State Practices, from the Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program, a collaboration between GHSA, the Transportation Research Board and NHTSA; and Characteristics of State Law Enforcement Liaison Programs: Case Studies, from the National Cooperative Research and Education Program, which identifies the most important attributes that aid Law Enforcement Liaisons in reaching their traffic safety and SHSO grant program goals.
  • A warm welcome to our newest Associate Members – Drive Square, Municipal Parking Services and Worldwide Environmental Products, Inc. – who share our mission of zero traffic deaths. Visit our website to learn more about GHSA Associate Membership and how you can join.
  • Jonathan was featured in a recent story on NPR’s All Things Considered that explored the rise in traffic deaths and decrease in enforcement since 2020. “Why do many of us drive dangerously on the roads? Because we think we can get away with it. And guess what – we probably can right now in many places in the country,” Jonathan said. “There's not enforcement out there, they're hesitant to write tickets. And we're seeing the results of that.”
  • Do you know any students or young professionals interested in attending the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference, November 12-15 in Atlanta? The Presidents’ Road Safety Scholarship Fund is providing awards of up to $500 to help offset the cost of the meeting. The application deadline is May 15. See more information and how to apply.

Federal News

  • Earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy with a new Call to Action for the highway safety community. GHSA was excited to be recognized by U.S. DOT as a “First Mover” in highway safety. Any individual or organization can join by submitting information on its commitment to reduce traffic violence.
  • In February, NHTSA released the new Final Rule updating the body of regulations governing state highway traffic safety grant programs in the wake of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act/Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Many new transformative program changes, including a shift to a triennial highway safety plan and new public engagement directives, begin this year in anticipation of Federal Fiscal Year 2024. NHTSA has expanded its online archive of support and reference materials related to state grant programs under the law, including many resources to help states navigate the new rule.
  • Work is underway at NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis to create the 6th edition of the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC), which provides voluntary guidance to states and communities on uniform police crash reporting. The new edition of MMUCC will be released in 2024. If you have any MMUCC-related feedback or suggestions, the agency is welcoming public comments until May 3.

Member Spotlight

PluggdIn Founder and CEO Eric Grunfeld discusses the company's mission to end distracted driving and how its technology is incentivizing drivers to focus on the road, not their phone, when behind the wheel.

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A warm welcome to our newest Associate Members – Drive Square, Municipal Parking Services and Worldwide Environmental Products, Inc. – who share our mission of zero traffic deaths. Visit our website to learn more about GHSA Associate Membership and how you can join.


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Directions in Highway Safety is published bimonthly by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

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