National Highway Safety Leaders Convene in Louisville

Resource Type

September 18, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-262-4889,
Erin Eggen, 502-330-4198,

U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao to Give Keynote

AM LogoWASHINGTON, D.C. and LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With national traffic fatalities rising in 2015 and 2016, more than 600 state highway safety officials and traffic safety partners will gather at the Louisville Marriott Downtown this week for the 50th Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) meeting, Highway Safety in a New Era. Hosted by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, this year’s event sets an attendance record as safety experts come to debate and share solutions to prevent crashes and save lives.

GHSA is honored to welcome U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to kick off the 2017 GHSA Annual Meeting in her home state of Kentucky with a Keynote Address on the Administration’s transportation priorities, including advances in technology, safety and infrastructure.

Secretary Chao will speak during the Opening General Session today, September 18, from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Secretary Chao’s participation in the meeting continues a great tradition begun fifty years ago. The first group of Governor’s Highway Safety Representatives convened in 1967 at the request of the first DOT Secretary Alan S. Boyd to consider how to improve safety on our nation’s roads.

Waymo’s Director of Safety Ron Medford will follow the Secretary, providing the latest intelligence on the ever-changing autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, predicting what to expect as the definition of “driver” shifts from human to machine.

On Tuesday, September 19, three safety thought leaders will consider how we can positively shape the future of safety:

  • Jeffrey S. McLeod, Homeland Security & Public Safety Division Director at the National Governors Association (NGA), will is share how NGA is prioritizing traffic safety through a number of statewide initiatives.
  • Deborah A.P. Hersman, President & CEO of the National Safety Council, will review the Road to Zero Coalition, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in 30 years.
  • Chief Steven Casstevens, Third Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, will suggest how to engage and support law enforcement during these challenging times.

On Wednesday, September 20 a dynamic roundtable discussion on autonomous vehicles brings together experts from the auto, ride-hailing and engineering fields for a candid conversation on how increasing levels of vehicle autonomy will be a game-changer for highway safety, but not necessarily in the ways we think. The speaker lineup includes:

Closing out the conference on Wednesday, CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger will address the political climate in Washington, D.C. and discuss how to navigate the current media landscape to cut through the digital clutter.

In addition to these general sessions, 17 breakout workshops will address a broad spectrum of important traffic safety topics, including drug-impaired driving, law enforcement engagement, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety. More than 60 exhibitors will be on hand to display the latest highway safety products and services.

A detailed meeting agenda is available online. News media representatives should contact Kara Macek at or 202-262-4889 for press credentials. Many general session and workshop speakers will be available for interviews following their sessions.

Top-level companies and organizations providing support for this year’s meeting include AT&T, Ford Driving Skills for Life, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, Michelin North America, Inc., the National Road Safety Foundation, State Farm®, Uber, FCA US LLC, NASCAR, and Toyota. A full list of meeting sponsors and partners is available online.

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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. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.