Drugged Driving, Pedestrian Safety and Equity in Traffic Enforcement
Among Top Agenda Items
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Late last month at the annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Chuck DeWeese, Assistant Commissioner of the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, was elected to serve as Chair of GHSA’s Executive Board. DeWeese will serve a one-year term for GHSA, the national nonprofit association of the state and territorial agencies that address behavioral traffic safety issues.
In this role, DeWeese will lead GHSA’s efforts to work towards zero deaths on America’s roadways.
“Even as the state highway safety offices have rebounded from the disruptive impact of the COVID-10 pandemic, GHSA’s members are facing many new and ongoing challenges,” said DeWeese. “While we combat the leading causes of highway fatalities – drunk driving, speeding and lack of seat belt use – we’re also concerned about the traffic safety impacts of marijuana legalization and increased drug-impaired driving, as well as an ongoing surge in pedestrian deaths.”
According to DeWeese, GHSA will also advocate to simplify federal safety programs in the upcoming federal surface transportation reauthorization. “Instead of imposing unnecessary bureaucracy and administrative red tape, especially during a pandemic, we’re calling on Congress to grant states more flexibility for states to implement life-saving programs.”
GHSA has also created a Workgroup on Equity in Traffic Enforcement, led by DeWeese, to identify actions GHSA and the state highway safety offices can take to combat racism and bias in traffic safety enforcement and other criminal justice processes.
“GHSA supports the role of law enforcement in traffic safety, as it is one of the most effective countermeasures for promoting safe driving and holding dangerous drivers accountable,” said DeWeese. “However, state highway safety programs should consider steps to collect data and implement training to eliminate bias, reform enforcement practices, and ensure more diversity and inclusion in the highway safety community.”
DeWeese also noted a priority for GHSA will be the implementation of the Association’s recently approved strategic business plan. The plan was approved by GHSA’s membership late last month and will guide the organization’s activities for the next three years.
A member of the GHSA Executive Board since 2008, DeWeese led the Federal Relations and Annual Planning Meeting Committees before being elected Vice Chair in 2019 and then serving as Chair following a vacancy in March of 2020. He was appointed to the position of Assistant Commissioner in New York in 2007, having previously worked for the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for 15 years.
Joining DeWeese as GHSA Executive Board Officers are Vice Chair Barbara Rooney, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety; Secretary Lauren Stewart, Director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety; and Treasurer Michael Hanson, Director of the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety.
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 www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.