Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Report: GHSA Releases Independent Recommendations to Advance Equity in Traffic Safety Programs


August 3, 2021
CONTACT: Adrian Nicholas, 202-580-7934
AFTER HOURS: Pam Shadel Fischer,
GHSA Releases Independent Recommendations to Advance Equity in Traffic Safety Programs
Kimley-Horn proposes ten strategies for state and safety partners to help reduce racial disparities in highway safety
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) today released a new set of recommended actions that State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs), GHSA, their partners and the traffic safety community can take to support more equitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). The ten recommendations were developed by consulting firm Kimley-Horn to help broaden the reach of the nation’s highway safety programs by eliminating racial disparities in traffic safety engagement and enforcement.

The recommendations, contained in a new report, Equity in Highway Safety Enforcement and Engagement Programs, include: 

  • Promote the collection and analysis of racial data for every traffic stop to better understand potential disparities and allocate funding toward more effective enforcement. 

  • Support increased funding for racial profiling data collection to allow more states to collect and analyze data that can be used to identify and implement solutions to address disparities.

  • Support increased use of automated enforcement, which studies confirm can substantially reduce risky driving behaviors and can be applied equitably with community engagement.

  • Establish a promising practices guide for SHSOs that identifies opportunities in greater detail to increase BIPOC participation in highway safety programs.

  • Encourage broader community involvement in the highway safety planning process so diverse communities have a voice in shaping enforcement and other strategies that can help reduce racial inequities.

  • Develop a communications toolkit for SHSOs that identifies key strategies for mitigating disparities and reinforces the message that everyone has a role to play in ensuring traffic enforcement and safety programs are equitable.

  • Refocus traffic enforcement efforts on traffic safety and prioritize the most dangerous and unlawful driving behaviors, such as speeding and driving under the influence, that put all road users at risk.

  • Encourage modernized police recruitment and training standards to achieve more equitable enforcement outcomes and so that law enforcement agency demographics more closely align with the communities they serve.

  • Continue to cultivate partnerships with Vision Zero, Road to Zero and Safe System communities to promote a holistic and collaborative approach to highway safety that leverages all available safety tools.

  • Support driver licensing policies that improve equitable outcomes such as ensuring that license sanctions are limited to moving violations and exploring more flexible fee and payment structures for traffic citations, driver license fees and vehicle registration.

“GHSA is committed to taking meaningful steps to eliminate racial disparities in traffic enforcement and to make our nation’s highway safety programs more just and equitable for all road users,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “Our goal is to prevent motor vehicle crashes, injuries and deaths, but that is unobtainable as long as racial disparities exist. These recommendations are another step forward in our ongoing journey to ensure traffic safety programs work for everyone.”

Kimley-Horn developed these recommendations after a thorough review of national best practices, interviews with SHSO leaders to examine current practices and conversations with key GHSA safety partners. The release of these recommendations is the latest step in GHSA’s commitment to placing racial equity at the forefront of all traffic safety efforts. In June, GHSA released a study that found that traffic deaths disproportionately affect BIPOC communities and identified steps to eliminate those disparities.

This fall, GHSA will bring together national and state leaders, including former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, to discuss these recommendations and other ideas to advance equity at its 2021 Annual Meeting, the first in-person national traffic safety conference since the start of the pandemic. GHSA also hosted a webinar last month where experts discussed examples of successful efforts to build trust and foster positive engagement between law enforcement and BIPOC communities. 

About GHSA
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.
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