Equity, Speeding, Automated Vehicles Top Agenda as National Highway Safety Conference Launches
GHSA 2021 Annual Meeting in Denver is the first in-person national traffic safety conference since early 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. and DENVER, Colo. – The nation’s top highway safety leaders will convene at the Sheraton Denver Downtown for the Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) Annual Meeting, Moving Mountains: Forging a New Traffic Safety Landscape, September 11-15. The meeting comes at a critical time as motor vehicle fatalities have surged due to an uptick in risky driving behaviors including speeding, driving impaired and not buckling up.
This year’s GHSA Annual Meeting, hosted by the Colorado Department of Transportation, is the first national in-person traffic safety conference since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. GHSA has taken numerous health and safety precautions, including requiring that all attendees, staff and volunteers wear a mask throughout the conference and holding the conference in large venues that can accommodate social distancing. Recognizing that not everyone can travel, GHSA is webcasting several General Sessions to allow highway safety professionals unable to be in Denver to benefit from the expert discussion.
In her first address before the national highway safety community as National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair, Jennifer Homendy will kick off the Opening General Session with remarks on Monday, September 13, at 8:30 a.m. MT. Homendy will discuss the current state of transportation safety, NTSB’s highway safety priorities and opportunities for collaboration. Following her remarks, Nat Beuse, Vice President of Safety for Aurora, will provide an update on Aurora's automated vehicle initiatives, efforts to improve road safety and opportunities for tech companies and State Highway Safety Offices to work together. Register for the webcast of this session here.
Later that day, at 4 p.m., a panel of experts will discuss how to help law enforcement and other first responders prepare for widespread deployment of automated vehicle technology. The topic is the focus of a newly released GHSA report that outlines automated vehicle training recommendations for first responders. You can register for the live webcast here. Panelists include:
Tammy Trimble, Senior Research Associate, Division of Data & Analytics, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
Carter Stern, Senior Government Affairs Manager, Cruise
Deputy Commissioner Jim Epperson, California Highway Patrol
Rob Patrick, First Responder Specialist, Waymo
Mufaddal Ezzy, Senior Director, Public Affairs & State & Local Government Relations, Aurora
On Tuesday, September 14, at 8:30 a.m., former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best (Ret.) will share her experiences as the first Black woman to hold that city’s top law enforcement job. Following her presentation, Chief Best will participate in a roundtable discussion on steps the highway safety community is and should be taking to achieve greater equity in traffic enforcement and engagement. Register for the live webcast of this session here. Additional panelists will include:
Denise Blake, Director of Field Operations, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Jake Nelson, Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research, AAA
Sheriff Aaron Appelhans, Albany County, Wyoming
National safety experts will gather on Wednesday, September 15, at 8:30 a.m. for a conversation about the increase in excessive speeding on U.S. roads and how to get drivers to slow down and save lives. You can register for the live webcast here. Panelists will include:
Lorraine Martin, President and CEO, National Safety Council
Colonel Matthew C. Packard, Chief, Colorado State Patrol
Melissa Wandall, President, National Coalition for Safer Roads
David Ocamb, Vice President - Research, Planning, Strategy, Stratacomm
Sandy Spavone, Executive Director, Family Career and Community Leaders of America
In addition to the general sessions, there will be 14 workshops featuring experts from across the country who are working to address critical traffic safety topics including multi-substance impaired driving; highway safety outreach in communities of color; the safety of people on foot, bikes and e-scooters; distracted driving; motorcyclist safety; and rural road safety. Additionally, 40 exhibitors will be on hand to showcase products and services that are being employed to improve highway safety.
A detailed meeting agenda is available on the GHSA website. Reporters should contact Adam Snider at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-580-7930 for press credentials. Many general session and workshop speakers will be available for interviews onsite in Denver or via Zoom.
Tuesday, September 14, 8:30 a.m. MT: Former Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best (Ret.), followed by an expert panel discussion on achieving greater equity in traffic safety enforcement and engagement.
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. Visit ghsa.org for more information or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.