GHSA Forms Equity Committee to Reduce Racial and Social Disparities in Traffic Safety

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News Releases

February 1, 2023

Contact: Adam Snider, 202-580-7930; 202-365-8971 (after hours)

Effort is part of GHSA's continued focus on ensuring State Highway Safety Office programs benefit all road users

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced today the formation of a new Equity and Engagement Committee to address key barriers to advancing equity in highway safety programs, promote greater outreach and engagement in underserved communities and guide GHSA efforts to prioritize equity in all the association’s initiatives. The committee co-chairs – Shelly Baldwin, Director, Washington Traffic Safety Commission; and Licet Gaveau, Executive Director, New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee – will also serve on the GHSA Executive Board. Committee members will be selected through an open solicitation to all State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs).

Systemic and historic racism in this country has led to different safety outcomes for different populations, which is unacceptable. GHSA is firmly committed – through leadership, culture change, training and accountability – to advance reforms that help achieve equitable outcomes and a safer transportation system for all road users, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, nationality, age or ability.

The GHSA Equity and Engagement Committee will guide the association’s work to advance equitable safety outcomes by, among other things:

  • Steering GHSA engagement with SHSOs, partners, policymakers, the media, the public and others.
  • Recommending, developing and overseeing training and resources for SHSOs to comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations in ways that advance equity and engagement.
  • Directing GHSA’s engagement on equitable traffic enforcement.
  • Developing and recommending changes to GHSA’s policies and priorities.
  • Advising on GHSA federal relations and association communications.
  • Evaluating and guiding GHSA partnerships.

“Equity and traffic safety are inexorably linked. We can’t make meaningful progress in reducing the number of crashes, deaths and injuries on our roads if any people and communities are left behind,” said Barbara Rooney, GHSA Chair and Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “We must institutionalize equity, in all its forms, across the entire traffic safety community, including in traffic enforcement. I’m proud of the work GHSA and the SHSOs are doing to advance equity and look forward to accelerating that effort with this new committee’s guidance.”

The committee is the latest step GHSA is taking to champion equity in highway safety programs and their outcomes. In 2020, amid a national discussion on race and the role of law enforcement, GHSA issued recommendations to SHSOs and their partners on how to advance equity in traffic enforcement. The following year, GHSA released an analysis of Fatality Analysis Reporting (FARS) data – the first national analysis in more than a decade – confirming that traffic crash fatalities disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color. That study was followed by GHSA’s release of independent recommendations from consulting firm Kimley-Horn outlining actions that SHSOs and their partners can take to improve equity for all road users.

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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. Visit for more information or find us on Facebook and Twitter.