FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2022
CONTACT: Adam Snider, 202-580-7930
202-365-8971 (after hours)
Statement by Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association thanks and applauds the U.S. Department of Transportation and Secretary Pete Buttigieg for the ambitious new National Roadway Safety Strategy that sets a goal of zero roadway fatalities and draws attention to the national traffic safety crisis plaguing America’s roads. The strategy recognizes that communities and states will achieve zero traffic deaths using different approaches, but our collective goal is the same. Amid a surge in roadway deaths the last two years, national leadership on traffic safety is essential for addressing unsafe streets, dangerous driving behaviors – like speeding, driving impaired or distracted, and not buckling up – and other risks that needlessly claim lives on our roads every day.
The National Roadway Safety Strategy released today offers a strong endorsement of the Safe System approach, a comprehensive set of strategies to help address the ongoing surge in roadway deaths. Specifically, the strategy reinforces that education and equitable enforcement are key pillars of the Safe System approach. Those strategies, along with the critical components of designing and building safer streets, making vehicles safer and improving post-crash care, combine to create a multi-layered safety net. As a recent GHSA report affirmed, all these strategies need to work in concert for the Safe System approach to be effective and no single approach will be completely effective in eliminating traffic deaths.
GHSA is pleased that equity is prominent throughout the National Roadway Safety Strategy. We commend the commitment to encourage the equitable use of automated enforcement to address the persistent and deadly problem of speeding. Because fair and even-handed enforcement is integral to improving traffic safety, GHSA has devoted significant time and attention to develop and promote strategies to equitably implement traffic enforcement programs and other safety initiatives. Last year, GHSA issued separate reports confirming that traffic crash fatalities disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color and making recommendations to State Highway Safety Offices and their law enforcement partners to advance more equitable outcomes from traffic safety programs.
GHSA also supports the U.S. DOT’s call for all levels of government to take concrete steps to make our roads safer for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and micromobility users. While states, communities, partners and other groups are developing and implementing safety programs and advocacy efforts that are vital for improving roadway safety, we look forward to a more robust federal role in implementing the national strategy.
We strongly agree that the United States needs a culture shift when it comes to roadway deaths – no motor vehicle fatality is acceptable. The entire traffic safety community must work together, not in silos, to make progress in achieving our shared goal of zero traffic deaths. GHSA looks forward to working with the U.S. DOT, the Biden administration, and our traffic safety partners to ensure that all roadway users arrive safely at their destination.
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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 ghsa.org for more information or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.