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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.”

Registration open for ATSSA’s in-person Legislative Briefing & Fly-In

Event returns to Capitol Hill to fuel the future of roadway safety

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ATSSA’s annual Legislative Briefing & Fly-In returns to the nation’s capital June 13-14, providing the roadway safety infrastructure industry direct access to federal policymakers.

ATSSA’s Government Relations Team is organizing two jam-packed days to get the most of this time in Washington, D.C., through this conference that is a free event exclusively for ATSSA members.

“We urge all of our members to come to D.C. to learn the skills for advocating to policymakers and then put those skills to use in sessions with legislators and their staffs from their respective states,” said ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith. “The skills learned during the Legislative Briefing can be used immediately on Capitol Hill and then again when our members return home with their state’s legislators.”

Registration is now open for the two-day conference that is a free, exclusive benefit of ATSSA membership.

ATSSA mourns the passing of roadway safety champion Norm Mineta

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Former Secretary of Transportation and roadway safety leader Norm Y. Mineta passed away on May 3, 2022, at the age of 90.

ATSSA President and CEO Stacy Tetschner issued the following statement:  The country has lost a leader and staunch supporter of roadway safety. Mineta was the U.S.’s longest serving Secretary of Transportation and launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety in Washington, D.C. during his tenure. He was a vocal supporter of National Work Zone Awareness Week and as a champion of the transportation industry. Perhaps most significantly, Secretary Mineta worked with ATSSA in establishing the nation’s first dedicated federal program for roadway safety infrastructure, the Highway Safety Improvement Program. Tens of thousands of people are alive today directly because of Secretary Mineta’s passion for roadway safety. His legacy will live on in the work that our members do every day in making roads safer.

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.

ATSSA Town Hall breaks down IIJA funding, timing

‘Gas tax holidays’ raise concerns, not expected at federal level

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Five months after the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law, it’s understandable ATSSA members could be wondering when the money will begin flowing to projects across the country.

That was one of the key discussion points today during an ATSSA Town Hall on the “Economic Impact of the Infrastructure Package on ATSSA Member Companies.”

ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith and Kathy Ruffalo, president of consulting firm Ruffalo & Associates, reviewed the funds expected through different programs, the steps to get them accessible and when the first money can be expected.

Smith also talked about the gas tax holiday proposals across the country and ATSSA's efforts against them.

Lieutenant governors association recognizes National Work Zone Awareness Week with resolution

National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 11-15

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This morning, the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) recognized the importance of roadway worker protection by unanimously approving a policy resolution recognizing National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). 

While gathered at a conference in Washington, D.C., the NLGA’s Resolutions Committee approved the measure unanimously on Wednesday. The full NLGA voted its support today.

Delaware Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long made remarks prior to the approval, noting how critical it is to raise awareness of workers in active work zones and how important it is to do everything possible to provide for safety while making infrastructure improvements.

'Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down'

Support work zone safety during National Work Zone Awareness Week -- April 11-15

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (March 31, 2022) – The transportation industry is taking increasing steps to improve the timeliness of information about active work zones but even before those measures are available nationwide, work zone warnings are important for everyone to heed to get home safely.

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 11-15 with the theme: “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.”

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), in its 22nd year, is a national public awareness campaign held annually at the start of the spring construction season. It spreads the message that we are all responsible for work zone safety.

ATSSA leading push against efforts to suspend gas taxes

Members urged to contact their elected representatives and voice their concerns

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ATSSA has launched a nationwide effort to discourage states and Congress from suspending the collection of taxes on gasoline noting the surge in roadway fatalities over the past two years.

Some in Congress and some in state governments across the country have proposed temporarily cutting gas taxes as a way to help consumers amid inflation and sudden hikes in gas prices. However, the temporary measure would not necessarily benefit consumers but would deter improvements to roadway infrastructure at a time when such projects had just received approval for significant funding, ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner noted.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) became law in November and includes nearly $23 billion for roadway safety, funding necessary to help move the nation Toward Zero Deaths on its highways.

Federal and state taxes on gasoline and diesel are important sources of revenue for funding roadway safety improvements.

ATSSA State Chapters Oppose Gas Tax Suspension Measures

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Three ATSSA chapters sent letters today opposing measures that would suspend state gas taxes during the ongoing crisis.

In Michigan, Pennsylvania and California, governors and state legislators have proposed temporarily halting their state’s gas tax in an attempt to provide relief to consumers at the pump. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that consumers will see a discernible decrease in the price of fuel should these measures become law. Instead, much-needed roadway safety improvement projects would be put at risk. ATSSA remains concerned with any federal or state legislation that would threaten critical infrastructure funding.

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