Putting the Pieces Together: Addressing the Role of Behavioral Safety in the Safe System Approach

Safe System Report
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GHSA Publication

GHSA’s new report makes the case for the integral role of behavioral safety and road user responsibility in the Safe System approach to traffic safety. Putting the Pieces Together: Addressing the Role of Behavioral Safety in the Safe System Approach, developed for GHSA by Cambridge Systematics, includes actionable recommendations illustrating how organizations and advocates can work together to prevent roadway deaths.

The report debunks the misconception held by some in the traffic safety community that infrastructure alone can end road deaths and that behavioral safety plays no role in keeping road users safe. Instead, it will take a comprehensive solution – including infrastructure improvements, changes to road design, equitable enforcement of traffic laws, education and public outreach, and emergency response – to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.

The report’s findings were discussed during a GHSA webinar on January 18, 2022, featuring representatives from the National Safety Council, AAA and Cambridge Systematics. A recording is below.

GHSA will hold a second webinar on February 10, 2022, at 2 p.m. Eastern, to continue and expand upon the conversation in January. In this webinar, learn how U.S. DOT’s new National Roadway Safety Strategy lays out a framework for collaboration within the Safe System approach. A panel of national highway safety experts will discuss how State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) can create innovative partnerships with new stakeholders to strengthen the safety net that prevents roadway injuries and fatalities. The panelists will share perspectives on how SHSOs can welcome more community involvement in safety planning and implement projects in more diverse communities. Finally, panelists will consider how SHSOs can lead from where they are and promote the Safe System approach among peer stakeholders. Register for the webinar here.

GHSA thanks the expert panel members who provided insights for this report:

  • Sarah Abel, Transportation Planning Director, Institute of Transportation Engineers
  • Shelly Baldwin, Governor’s Representative/Director, Washington Traffic Safety Commission
  • Katie Ballard*, Special Assistant, Research & Program Development, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • George Bishop, Chief Deputy Commissioner, Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia Highway Safety Office
  • Jessica Cicchino, Vice President for Research, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Mark Ezzell, Governor’s Representative/Director, North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program
  • Michael Fergus, Program Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • King Gee, Director of Safety and Mobility, American Association of State Highway &Transportation Officials
  • Dana Gigliotti*, Director, Office of Safety Programs, Federal Highway Administration
  • Michael Hanson, Director, Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety
  • Kelly Hardy, Senior Engineering Program Manager for Safety, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials
  • Tim Kerns, Director, Maryland Highway Safety Office
  • Betty Mercer, President, Mercer Consulting Group, LLC
  • Jeffrey Michael, Visiting Scholar, Center for Injury Research & Policy, John Hopkins University
  • Jake Nelson, Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research, AAA
  • Barbara Rooney, Governor’s Representative/Director, California Office of Traffic Safety
  • Laura Sandt, Director, Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety, University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
  • Nanda Srinivasan*, Associate Administrator for Research & Program Development, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Jane Terry, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Safety Council
  • John Whetsel, Chair, Traffic Safety Committee, National Sheriff’s Association
  • Kyle Wills, Law Enforcement Liaison, Boise, Idaho Police Department
  • Robert Wunderlich, Director, Center for Transportation Safety, Texas Transportation Institute

*Served in an advisory capacity

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