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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.

FHWA releases guidelines for safety programs under new infrastructure package

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Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released guidelines for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) under the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The guidance outlines eligibilities under the HSIP, along with defining guidance for new special rules that  fall under the HSIP.

While the majority of the HSIP guidance remains intact from the previous highway authorization, ATSSA’s Government Relations team highlighted a few changes to the guidance under the IIJA.

AASHTO and FHWA release answers to help implement MASH

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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Monday announced the release of  responses to three questions regarding testing of roadway safety hardware under the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), 2016.

The guidance is available online and includes all new and prior questions and answers dating to May 2018.

A joint AASHTO/FHWA technical working group developed the latest responses, which are created to help manufacturers, crash test laboratories and transportation agencies apply the guidelines to roadway safety devices.

FHWA hosts Nov. 22 webinar updating its Proven Safety Countermeasures

Register now for the free event highlighting two new pedestrian safety countermeasures

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The Federal Highway Administration is hosting a Nov. 22 webinar providing its “Proven Safety Countermeasures 2021 Update,” which will highlight two innovations that are part of the Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program.

Register now for this free event in which the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon and Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements will be highlighted. Nine new countermeasures will be introduced during the webinar along with a briefing on new features in the program’s website and implementation resources.

ATSSA surveys reveal impact of raw materials supply issues on members

Association advocates on behalf of members amid supply challenges

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Nearly 90% of ATSSA manufacturers and suppliers reported experiencing a shortage of raw materials needed to produce roadway safety products, according to an ATSSA survey this summer.

That percentage increased from 75% when those same members were surveyed in March, according to data assembled by ATSSA.

ATSSA surveyed its members after hearing that limited supplies of materials were impacting the work of the roadway safety infrastructure industry. Multiple factors were leading to the supply challenges: extreme weather in February in the Midwest and Texas, the effects of COVID-19 in the U.S. and delays in the supply line due to international shipping.

VTTI seeks participants for survey on how connected and automated vehicles will interact with work zones

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Luke Neurauter, senior research associate in the Division of Vehicle, Driver and Safety Systems at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), is asking ATSSA members and others in the roadway safety industry to take part in a survey on the impact of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) on work zones.

The purpose is to “better understand how CAV technologies will behave when they encounter typical work zone scenarios and what can be done (from the perspectives of both the CAVs and work zone operations) to ensure ultimate compatibility between all available technologies,” according to information from VTTI Senior Research Associate Tammy Trimble.

The research is sponsored by the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

ATSSA develops new work zone safety publications under FHWA's Work Zone Safety Grant Program

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ATSSA recently developed three work zone safety publications under the Work Zone Safety Grant Program, which were approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The documents include one with a Spanish version and address pedestrian safety and accommodation as well as portable temporary rumble strips application (PTRS) in work zones. 

These new resources are now available:  “Updated Pedestrians Checklist and Considerations for Temporary Traffic Control Zones,” Everyone is a Pedestrian: For a Safe Path Through Work Zones – Don’t Miss Your Cues” and State Examples for the Application of Portable Temporary Rumble Strips (PTRS).”

Images capture NWZAW efforts from individuals to public officials working to save lives

Messages across the nation encourage everyone to do their part for work zone safety

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Across the country, individuals, ATSSA members, public officials, government agencies, major corporations and at least one university pitched in for National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) to spread the word about the importance of safety in and around roadway work zones.

This year’s NWZAW theme was: Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives. People took a personal approach, used statistics, employed billboards, aired videos and posted to social media all in an effort to heighten awareness of the risks to motorists, their passengers and workers in roadway work zones.

Here are some of the images from efforts across the country for this annual public awareness campaign.

FHWA’s Pollack expresses support for roadway safety at ATSSA Legislative Briefing & Fly-In

ATSSA members gathering online this week for annual advocacy event

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Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack joined ATSSA members today for day one of the Association’s two-day Legislative Briefing & Fly-In being held online this week.

Pollack stressed the importance of roadway safety and referenced next week’s National Work Zone Awareness Week as she engaged in a conversation with ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith and responded to member questions.

More than 100 ATSSA members registered for the Legislative Briefing & Fly-In, which is organized by ATSSA’s Government Relations Team and is a member benefit. Members are scheduled to take part in more than 60 meetings with members of Congress and legislative staffers on Thursday.

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