Increase in Highway Deaths Requires Action

Resource Type
News Releases

February 15, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek,
202-262-4889 (mobile)

States Need Flexibility to Try New Approaches

Statement for attribution to Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Safety Council’s projection that highway deaths increased 6 percent in 2016 is a call to action for the highway safety community. While the data is preliminary and will differ from final federal data, the trend is clear: after years of progress, highway deaths are heading in the wrong direction.

According to NHTSA, 94 percent of traffic crashes are related to human choices.1 GHSA continues to hear from state agencies that the three predominant factors contributing to traffic deaths are still belts, booze and speed. Additionally, driver distraction and our society’s addiction to electronic devices is likely playing a role in the increase in deaths.

The good news is we know what works to save lives – high visibility enforcement of strong traffic laws coupled with public education and awareness. At the same time, state highway safety offices need the flexibility to try new approaches and strategies to administer their federally-funded programs. Too often, state programs are bogged down by unnecessary and repetitive paperwork and federal bureaucracy, which detract from the effort spent on safety.

GHSA is committed to working with our partners in the federal government, advocacy community and at the local level to reverse this trend.

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