In anticipation of busy roadway travel this summer many State Highway Safety Offices (SHSO) and their partners have launched initiatives aimed at increasing roadway safety and avoiding collisions and fatalities, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
After a major drop-off in traffic due to the pandemic, experts believe traffic will come back heavier than ever. In fact, an estimated 34 million Americans took road trips over the Memorial Day weekend — a 52% increase over last year, according to AAA.
GHSA and other safety advocates are concerned that bad driving behaviors that ramped up during the pandemic — speeding, distracted driving, lack of seatbelt compliance, to name a few — may continue to be present on the roadways this summer.
To curb collisions, states are working with partners to remind the public about safe driving practices and relevant laws through a range of community outreach efforts. In addition, several states are using high visibility enforcement of lifesaving seat belt, speeding, drunk driving and other traffic safety laws.
In 2018, speeding took the lives of 9,378 people. Here’s how several states are working to bring speeders to a halt:
- The Minnesota State Patrol, sheriffs’ offices and police departments are conducting high visibility enforcement across the state to stop speeding and aggressive driving from further devastating lives.
- The Connecticut Highway Safety Office is conducting a public outreach campaign about the dangers of speeding coupled with high visibility enforcement.
- The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s annual “Operation Southern Shield” speed enforcement and awareness campaign will happen during the third week in July.
- Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin are increasing enforcement and public outreach to address speeding drivers.
Every day, about 28 people lose their lives in drunk driving crashes — and that number spikes during outdoor holidays like Independence Day. Here are some examples of how states are focused on getting impaired drivers off the road:
- Rhode Island is unveiling a new television and social media campaign where motorcyclists and their families share real-life stories about impaired riding and its devastating effects.
- The Maryland Highway Safety Office is debuting a new summer travel campaign reminding motorists that if you have been enjoying time on the water, make sure you have a sober ride home.
- SHSO and law enforcement officials in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama are collaborating to detect and remove drunk and drugged drivers from the road through their annual “Hands Across the Border” safety campaign.
- Indiana offered ride-hailing coupons on Memorial Day and will do so on Labor Day as well through its Sober Ride Indiana program. The SHSO is also partnering with police agencies to increase enforcement of unsafe riding practices to prevent alcohol-related motorcycle crashes.
- North Dakota is offering ride-hailing vouchers through the ND Sober Ride program to reduce impaired driving by encouraging those who have been drinking to leave the driving to someone else.
- Finally, several states — California, Colorado, New York, Washington, and the US Virgin Islands — have launched seat compliance awareness and enforcement initiatives that focus on children and adults.