AASHTO SLF-5:2011 AASHTO Safety Leadership Forum V.
The core of the SHSP initiative has been reliance on a broad-based coalition of partners from throughout the traffic safety community—the 4Es (education, engineering, enforcement, and eniergency medical services). This year’s Forum continues to build upon the earlier foundations by providing another opportunity for state CEOs to learn about successful programs designed to support aggressive goals. And for the first time, the platform has shifted to focus on the national stage where lessons learned by the states can be brought together to form the framework of a national highway safety strategy. A complete Safety Leadership Forum V Agenda can be found in Appendix A.
Motor Vehicle Crash Data Trends
To provide a snapshot of the most recent national crash trends, Ronald Medford, Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), gave an update on the traffic crash rates as well as current efforts to construct safer roadways, improve vehicle safety standards, and educate drivers on risk-taking driving behavior. He also discussed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) executive leadership efforts to continue building stronger partnerships with the states. Medford expressed Secretary Ray LaHood’s strong backing for the efforts of AASHTO. The partnership between the U.S. DOT and the states received an unprecedented opportunity with the $1.27 billion infusion of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). State departments of transportation rose to the challenge by engineering and constructing infrastructure projects to the highest and most current highway safety standards. All components within the U.S. DOT, being lead in major part by NHTSA, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), are committed to providing continued support to the states toward the achievement of the common traffic safety mission.
Across the nation, 2009 was a watershed year for traffic safety. The country experienced the fewest number of traffic fatalities since 1949, despite citizens driving over 21 billion miles; a fatality rate projected to be the lowest ever recorded. It appears that many of the strategies implemented over the past several years are reaping positive results. In particular, there was a reduction in the deaths of children under five years old as a result of increased use of child restraints. The number of motorcycle fatalities was down for the first time, but this trend may be difficult to maintain due to an increased number of riders influenced by higher gasoline prices.
A closer look at the data reveals that there are still major challenges to be confronted. In over 95 percent of motor vehicle crashes, the primary cause is driver error. Innovative programs are needed to raise awareness of the critical need to change driver behavior. High-visibility enforcement programs to increase seat belt use and reduce impaired driving have been a prime strategy successfully implemented by the state highway safety offices in the past. Another more recent emphasis is on educating the motoring public on ways to avoid engaging in distracted driving behavior. Secretary LaHood has made it a priority to heighten awareness and promote new laws to address this problem.AASHTO SLF-5 pdf download.