WASHINGTON – The New Mexico Smart Roadside Inspection Program, which uses remote sensors positioned strategically along state roadways to collect data from passing trucks without slowing traffic, was among the honorees during this year’s Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) awards presentation. 

The highway safety awards, presented Aug. 28, were handed out during a luncheon at GHSA’s annual meeting in Baltimore.

Among the honorees, the New Mexico Truck Inspection Program is of particular interest to the fleet industry. 

Software aggregates data and scrutinizes identified trucks against remote state and federal databases to automatically produce alert flags for enforcement operations. By identifying high-risk trucks through Smart Roadside, GHSA said, many needless commercial vehicle enforcement inspections have been eliminated. Smart Roadside dashboards provide real-time performance and trend analyses that help motor transportation police focus resources appropriately. Environmental benefits include fuel savings for the industry and emission reduction from idling during physical inspections.

In 2011, Smart Roadside generated more than 4.7 million alerts on trucks traveling through New Mexico that may pose a risk to highway safety. By analyzing this data against user-defined screening rules, Motor Transportation Police Major Ron Cordova could effectively reallocate resources throughout New Mexico at any of the Smart Roadside screening sites during specific day and times, GHSA said.

The program, which received GHSA’s Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award, has been an interagency operation since its inception. New Mexico Department of Public Safety’s Motor Transportation Police has partnered with the New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department, New Mexico Department of Transportation, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), New Mexico Motor Trucking Association, and technology provider Intelligent Imaging Systems. 

The success of New Mexico’s Smart Roadside Inspection Program in removing unsafe trucks from the road network has inspired more than a dozen different commercial vehicle enforcement agencies across North America to adopt the same model, GHSA said. 

Other GHSA safety award winners included:

John Lacey, director of the Alcohol, Policy and Safety Research Center at the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation (PIRE), who received the James J. Howard Highway Safety Award. Lacey was honored for his 40-plus years of highway safety work, particularly in the area of impaired driving prevention.

Norma Broussard, chief of parish courts for the district attorney's office in Jefferson Parish, La., who received the Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award. Broussard was honored for her leadership in implementing policies and practices to reduce impaired driving through legislation, education and public awareness.

Northeast Alabama Traffic Safety Office "Yellow Dot" Program, which won a Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award. The program provides first responders with critical information needed to help stabilize seriously injured crash victims. Vehicle owners place a yellow dot sticker on their vehicle that alerts first responders to look in the glove box for a folder containing key medical information. As a result, thousands of Alabama citizens now have a better chance of surviving a traffic crash during the critical first hour after a trauma.

California Highway Patrol "Safe on 17" Task Force, which won a Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award. The task force is a diverse group of law enforcement, local government, engineering, and emergency service professionals who have implemented safety strategies to achieve the lowest number of fatal and injury collisions on record on a notoriously dangerous stretch of highway in California.

Guam DWI Court, which won a Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award. The court greatly improved the adjudication and treatment of DWI offenders in the U.S. Territory of Guam through a robust DWI enforcement process that not only makes the roads safer for Guam residents, but also helps offenders get the treatment they need in a language they can understand.

Ollie Otter Booster Seat & Seat Belt Safety Program, which won a Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award. The program is a statewide booster seat and seatbelt campaign targeted to Tennessee’s elementary school children and their caregivers. With repeated exposure and by creating a fun environment, the program reaches children at a critical age, when good safety habits are formed.