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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 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 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 CEO thanks House members for their leadership in infrastructure vote

Tetschner commends all in Congress for acting to make America’s roads safer

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner issued the following statement today after President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law.

“With the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) now signed into law, it is important to recognize the members of Congress that stepped up for our country and did the job we asked them to do.

“The IIJA is a bipartisan success story, which is something that has become a rare sight on Capitol Hill. However, despite this legislation having support on both sides of the aisle, other members of Congress have taken the opportunity to attack those that stood up and voted to pass this legislation. I specifically want to acknowledge 13 Republican members of the House of Representatives."

Roadway Safety magazine delves into the labor shortage

Fall issue also includes a supplement devoted to training

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ATSSA members have been hit hard by this year’s labor shortage with one declaring, it’s “killing us.”

Read the Fall 2021 issue of Roadway Safety magazine to learn how your colleagues are coping and how ATSSA responded with a new tool to attract students and recent graduates to the field of roadway safety.

The magazine also includes an emotional piece about three people who became roadway safety advocates as a result of personal loss. You can also get a detailed update on colorized bike lanes at multiple jurisdictions, research results on studies of presence lighting and digital speed signs, and some early information about ATSSA's Annual Convention & Traffic Expo coming up in Febuary. 

Plus, check out our Training Spotlight, which includes a two-page, full-color chart detailing state-by-state requirements. 

Iowa’s smart use of arrow boards featured in new issue of Roadway Safety magazine

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In Iowa, arrow boards—a ubiquitous piece of equipment in many work zones—are serving as a testing ground for data-sharing protocols that transportation officials hope will help reduce crashes and fatalities in work zones by providing road users with real-time information of lane closures.

Read about the evolution of smart arrow boards, gain insights from the team at the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) at Iowa State University and learn the role ATSSA member Jeff Koudelka of Iowa Plains Signing Inc. played in the rollout of the roadway safety devices in the Summer 2021 issue of Roadway Safety magazine, available online today.

Horizon Signal breaks fundraising record with auction

Street Smart Rental makes winning bid in ATSS Foundation fundraiser

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Horizon Signal Technologies Inc. raised $53,000 for The ATSS Foundation through the auction of two trailer-mounted portable traffic signals, setting a fundraising record.

Street Smart Rental, based in Lino Lakes, Minn., made the winning bid of $49,000, with Horizon Signal adding $1,000 to bring the bid total to an even $50,000. In addition, GP Roadway Solutions of Honolulu, Hawaii, which also participated in the auction, donated $3,000, bringing the grand total to $53,000, said Lori Diaz, director of The ATSS Foundation.

Horizon Signal donated 100% of the proceeds from the May auction to The Foundation, which provides education about work zone safety and supports the families of people killed or permanently disabled in work zone incidents.

 

Congressional Road Safety Caucus puts spotlight on safety

Transportation and safety proposals this year offer optimism for roadway safety advocates

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One of the ways members of Congress shine a light on a specific issue is through the formation of congressional caucuses. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) have done exactly that in creating the bipartisan Congressional Road Safety Caucus this year.

One of the first steps came on April 14, when Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act in the House. The Act would create a new competitive grant program for local jurisdictions and tribal nations to focus federal funding on rural and tribal road safety projects.

Funded at $600 million annually, this proposal would give a needed boost to targeting safety challenges on these rural and tribal roadways.

Other roadway safety proposals are also being considered on Capitol Hill.

Senate EPW Committee’s $304B transportation proposal offers win for industry

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The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee proposal for a five-year, $304 billion surface transportation bill is a massive win for the roadway safety infrastructure industry with funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) totaling $16.8 billion.

The bipartisan Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) released Saturday by the EPW Committee represents a 34% increase over current spending levels.

The legislation represents a bipartisan effort in the Senate to pass a long-term highway reauthorization before the current extension of the law expires Oct. 1. The EPW Committee is expected to consider amendments and vote on the proposal on Wednesday.

Roadway Safety magazine explores CV2X for ‘smart vests’

Check out the spring issue of ATSSA’s magazine and our first ‘Convention Extra’

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The Spring issue of Roadway Safety magazine is now available with a cover story that’s apt as we observe National Work Zone Awareness Week.

We take a look at “smart vests” being developed in Virginia in a collaboration between the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Audi of America, Qualcomm and American Tower Corp.

The smart vests provide an example of the potential for lifesaving benefits of cellular vehicle-to-everything (CV2X) technology.

Our first “Convention Extra” is also available online now.

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