Kendell Poole, director of the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office, was recently re-elected chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Under Poole’s leadership, GHSA will continue to focus on assisting state implementation of highway safety programs authorized under MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century), the federal highway bill that provides resources to states to keep America’s roadways safe.
In addition, Poole will continue to provide national leadership on key highway safety issues, including drunk and drugged driving, occupant protection, distracted driving and speeding.
During GHSA’s annual meeting in California in August, the group’s leadership team noted that although MAP-21 provides many tools for states, just a small number of states qualified for some of the federal incentive grants during the first year (FY 2013) of the current two-year federal transportation funding program. Only two states qualified for the ignition interlock grant, just seven states and Guam qualified for the distracted driving funding, and no states qualified for the teen driving incentive grant.
“States are working diligently to continue the gains in these areas by leveraging proven countermeasures such as the national Click It or Ticket seat belt mobilization and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over drunk driving crackdowns,” said Poole.
Recognizing the toll drugged driving is taking on the nation’s roadways, states are also taking steps to get these offenders off the road.
At the annual meeting, GHSA members revised the association’s drugged-driving policy, recommending that states consider enacting or expanding existing administrative license revocation (ALR) laws to include drug-impaired drivers who fail or refuse a drug test.
“One in three drivers with known drug test results who were killed in a motor vehicle crash in 2009 tested positive for drugs,” said Poole. “That’s not just illicit substances, but also over-the-counter and prescription medications. While states are educating the public about the dangers of drugged driving and funding stepped-up enforcement, strong policy is essential to send a message that driving under the influence of drugs simply will not be tolerated.”
GHSA also continues to work on the issues of motorcycle safety and teen driving. During the past 18 months, the association has released a series of reports discussing the uptick in fatalities involving these high-risk populations and measures to address them.
GHSA said it supports a comprehensive strategy of laws, training, licensing and education to address motorcycle safety, as well as strong graduated driver licensing laws coupled with research-based parent education programs to help teens survive their most dangerous driving years.