Coming Together for State Highway Safety
With more Americans driving on our nation’s roads than ever before, it’s good to know that there are professionals in every state and territory who have your safety on their minds every single day. Highway Safety Offices (HSO) were formed almost 50 years ago to improve traffic safety, save lives and prevent injuries. The HSOs have a director who is appointed by the Governor and a staff dedicated to educating the public about ways to be safe while driving, while riding in a vehicle as a passenger and while walking or riding a bicycle or motorcycle. The HSO is usually part of a state’s Department of Transportation or Public Safety Department.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) was formed by the HSOs and Governor’s Representatives (GRs) more than 40 years ago to provide leadership and advocacy for the States and Territories in improving traffic safety, influencing national policy, enhancing program management and promoting best practices.
Each year, the GRs, their Highway Safety Coordinators and traffic safety groups and professionals join together at the GHSA Annual Meeting to learn about emerging trends and effective solutions in highway safety. This year’s meeting, currently ongoing in Nashville, Tennessee, is focused on drunk, drugged, and distracted driving, and ways state officers can reach high-risk drivers with important safety messaging. General sessions about why people drive drunk, drugged, and distracted and ways federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) are engaging with states gave attendees a broad understanding of the issues at hand. Individual sessions have been on pedestrian safety, fatigue, ways to combat the recent increase in drugged driving, engaging law enforcement officers, and the importance of helmets.
During the Annual Meeting, GHSA also celebrates the contributions of traffic safety leaders and presents Highway Safety Awards. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is proud to sponsor the awards along with The Allstate Foundation. This year’s award recipients were:
- ADEPT Driver teenSMART® Program of Elk Grove, California
- Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe (B.R.A.K.E.S.) of Concord, North Carolina
- California Highway Patrol (CHP) Safety and Farm Labor Vehicle Education (SAFE) Program
- Jim Fell of Annandale, Virginia
- Barbara Harsha of Silver Spring, Maryland
- Ocean City Police Department from Ocean City, Maryland
- Virginia Traffic Records Electronic Data Systems Ignition Interlock Project
We congratulate these individuals on their accomplishments and thank them for their service and dedication. We are proud to work with the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and Governor’s Highway Safety Offices across the country each year to ensure the safety of our nation’s roadways.
Devin Burke, Manager, Government Relations and Traffic Safety, joined Responsibility.org in 2011 and immediately became interested in the organization’s many programs and issue areas, especially those related to judicial education.