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Traffic fatalities rose an estimated 10.5% in 2021, reach 16-year high, NHTSA reports

Trend in fatality rate for vehicle miles traveled decreased for three quarters of 2021

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Traffic fatalities across the U.S. rose 10.5% in 2021 to a projected 42,915 deaths, reaching a 16-year high, according to statistics released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

That projected increase from 38,824 fatalities in 2020 is “the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history,” NHTSA announced today.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner expressed concern over the record-breaking fatality rate.

“ATSSA’s members have devoted their lives to roadway safety and providing the infrastructure and technology needed to save the lives of the motoring public as well as men and women working on our roadways,” Tetschner said. “This unprecedented increase in traffic fatalities brings home the importance of our work and the necessity of government and private industry partnering to provide safe thoroughfares. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was enacted into law in November, provides historic levels of federal funding for roadway safety infrastructure projects. Departments of transportation around the country, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, must prioritize getting these funds to critical, lifesaving safety projects as soon as possible. We know that safer roads save lives. ATSSA members are ready to go to work with their agency partners to move toward zero deaths on all roads.”

ATSSA urges DOTs to support a standardized form for QPL and APL

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner reached out to the leaders of departments of transportation (DOTs) in all 50 states asking for their support for a standardized form for the Qualified Products List (QPL) and the Approved Products List (APL).

In a letter, Tetschner explains that a standardized form would help roadway safety products get to market faster by streamlining the current burdensome process of making a different application for every DOT across the country.

"If you are not aware, each DOT manages its QPL/APL submittals, reviews and approvals differently and this means each company wishing to see a product added to the list must go through the process 50 times, frequently in different ways with different forms, resulting in a very time-consuming, labor-intensive process,” Tetschner states in the letter. “This burdensome process delays getting new and improved products onto the roadways where they could save lives.”

The letter is signed by the president of each of ATSSA’s Chapters, which represent 1,500 member companies from across the country as well as many public agencies.

ATSSA president contacts DOT leaders amid soaring fuel costs and record inflation

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner contacted the leaders of every state’s department of transportation (DOT) requesting contract price adjustments for ATSSA members in light of the rapid increase in fuel costs, significant inflation and the volatility of the situation.

“We strongly encourage you to consider immediate action to help remediate the effects of the recent and rapid increase in fuel costs across the country, most specifically as it affects the roadway industry, where roadway projects that were bid months ago are now being awarded and businesses are experiencing losses due to inflationary operational costs,” Tetschner wrote in the April 8 letter.

Tetschner notes that inflation “is at a four-decade high and gas prices continue to increase,” having increased 45% over this time one year ago.

Biden highlights guardrails in State of the Union

Tetschner applauds focus on safety and infrastructure in congressional address

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In championing the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden specifically mentioned “highway guardrails” as a positive outcome of the legislation. This is apparently the first mention of guardrails in the history of these presidential addresses to Congress.

Additionally, Biden announced that the nation would start fixing “over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair.” That was in addition to 4,000 projects Biden said had already been announced.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner commended the emphasis on infrastructure and the specific reference to a proven lifesaving device produced by ATSSA members.

ATSSA CEO sends letter to Senate leaders urging rejection of Gas Prices Relief Act

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner today sent a letter to Senate leaders Charles Schumer and Mitch McConnell urging them to reject the Gas Prices Relief Act.

“On behalf of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and its over 1500 members, I strongly urge you to oppose the Gas Prices Relief Act. This legislation would strip the main source of funding for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), jeopardizing the implementation of life-saving infrastructure safety programs included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA),” Tetschner wrote.

He noted that at a time when roadway fatalities are increasing, it is not a time to “undercut funding for infrastructure safety projects.”

ATSSA members are encouraged to reach out to their Senators to express their opposition to the proposal.

ATSSA announces winners of four national awards

Awards given at 52nd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo

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TAMPA, Florida (Feb. 14, 2022) – The American Traffic Safety Services Association is pleased to announce winners of the Chairman’s Award, National Safety Award, National Media Award and Mark of Excellence Award.

The four national awards were presented during ATSSA’s 52nd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo, taking place Feb. 11-15 in Tampa, Fla. The Chairman’s Award and the National Safety Award were announced Feb. 13 and the other two today.

The Chairman’s Award is given at the discretion of the chair of the ATSSA Board of Directors. This is the fourth time someone has been recognized in the 28-year history of the award.

Roadway Safety magazine examines supply chain issues

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Roadway Safety magazine’s Winter issue looks at supply chain issues and includes insights from ATSSA members as they grappled with the challenge over the past year.

The issue is now available online and also explores variable speed limit zones in place across the country and what different jurisdictions found as far as advantages and challenges.

You can also gain insights from outgoing ATSSA Board Chair Greg Driskell and get a peek into the perspective of incoming Chair Jeff Johnson.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg delivering keynote remarks

Transportation leader confirmed for ATSSA’s 2022 Convention & Traffic Expo

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Feb. 8, 2022) – Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg confirmed today that he will deliver keynote remarks at ATSSA’s 52nd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

Buttigieg is expected to discuss the National Roadway Safety Strategy released Jan. 27 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) as well as provide insights into the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) and its impact on roadway safety.

“We are honored that Transportation Secretary Buttigieg is making the time to address our members and we look forward to hearing his insights pertaining to roadway safety and how our industry can partner with USDOT to dramatically reduce roadway fatalities,” said ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner.

ATSSA reacts to USDOT release of National Roadway Safety Strategy

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The National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) unveiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on Thursday focuses on moving the U.S. towards zero roadway deaths by taking a safe systems approach that includes six central themes.

The themes laid out are that: deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable; human mistakes are inevitable; humans are vulnerable to injury and death; there is a shared responsibility for these incidents; safety can be and should be proactive; and redundancy is critical. The strategy introduced by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also focuses on five safety issues.

“ATSSA applauds Secretary Buttigieg on the release of the first National Roadway Safety Strategy, especially with its call for the enhanced protection of roadway construction workers," ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. "Shining a brighter spotlight on the need to dramatically reduce roadway fatalities is critically necessary.”

ATSSA co-leads effort asking Yellen for relief on supply chain challenges

19 associations engaged in infrastructure work seek ARPA funds to help with soaring prices

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ATSSA is one of 19 organizations asking Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to clarify that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds can be used to help subcontractors and suppliers that are struggling due to supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic.

“At this critical time, as Congress has passed the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that will provide impactful infrastructure investment to the nation, we request relief for government agencies and businesses who have and continue to face unprecedented pandemic-induced supply chain delays and shortages that may undercut the anticipated benefits of the IIJA investment,” according to the letter sent to Yellen on Monday.

ATSSA, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Road &Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) led the effort that was joined by 15 other organizations.

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