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ATSSA members advocating for roadway safety on Capitol Hill today

Legislative Briefing & Fly-In returns to nation’s capital after two virtual events

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ATSSA members from across the country are meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill today, carrying their insights and priorities for roadway safety directly to lawmakers.

Sixty meetings are scheduled with members of the Senate, the House of Representatives and their legislative teams. The goal is to fuel the future of roadway safety by carrying their message directly to the nation’s decision makers.

ATSSA’s two-day Legislative Briefing & Fly-In returned to Washington, D.C., this week after two years as a virtual event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 50 people representing 17 states and the District of Columbia registered to attend the event, which is a benefit of ATSSA membership.

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.”

USDOT releases grant notification for $5 billion Safe Streets for All Program

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Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released its Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the newly created Safe Streets and Roads for All Program, a $5 billion grant program focused on local vision zero projects which was created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The grant is funded at $1 billion annually through Fiscal Year 2026.

The grant program is focused on assisting local and regional governments in achieving their vision zero goals and strategies. Eligible grant recipients include cities, towns and townships, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, some transit authorities, tribes and groupings of these units of governments (for example, multiple cities can join together for a project). State governments are ineligible to receive this grant.

ATSSA’s 2022 Convention & Traffic Expo reunited thousands of roadway safety advocates

ATSSA travels to Phoenix for the 2023 event set for Feb. 17-21

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ATSSA’s 2022 Convention & Traffic Expo brought together more than 3,200 roadway safety advocates over five days in Tampa, Fla.

They collaborated, networked, learned about the latest innovations and even cheered on their favorite team at the Chairman’s Big Game Watch Party on Sunday evening.

Keynote speaker Scott Moore kept the packed crowd in the Ballroom of the Tampa Convention Center spellbound as he shared leadership and teamwork tips gleaned from his decades leading the elite Navy SEALs on “no fail” missions.

And Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg talked about the USDOT commitment to zero deaths on the nation's roadways while acknowledging that may not be achieved during his tenure but that ATSSA's members are needed to achieve that goal.

It's not too early to start planning now for next  year. The 2023 Convention & Traffic Expo takes place in Phoenix, Feb. 17-21 at the Phoenix Convention Center with the theme of “where roadway safety and Innovation intersect.”

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.

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.”

Survey of highway contractors shows six in 10 reported a crash into their work zone

AGC-HCSS Software Solutions survey includes assessment of dangers

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Two reports this month offer stark reminders of the risks of highway work zones and the importance of roadway safety.

Today, we look at results of a survey of highway workers regarding work zone incidents and the issues contractors identified as key to improving safety for employees in work zones.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and HCSS Software Solutions surveyed highway contractors on their experiences with respect to work zone safety in 2020. Their 2021 Work Zone Awareness Survey Results, which included responses from 292 firms, found that 60% of contractors reported at least one motor vehicle crash in their work zone.

Roadway fatalities and work zone incidents in 2020 spell concern for roadway safety advocates

NHTSA projects 7.2% increase in motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2020

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Two reports this month offer stark reminders of the risks of highway work zones and the importance of roadway safety.

Today we look at the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which released its early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities for 2020.

Tomorrow, we will look at results of a survey of highway workers regarding work zone incidents and the issues contractors identified as key to improving safety for employees in work zones.

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.

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passes surface transportation authorization proposal

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Early this morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee passed a five-year, $548 billion surface transportation authorization proposal out of committee, mostly on a party-line vote.

Two Republican members of the committee, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico), crossed over and voted with the Democrats. The legislation, named the INVEST in America Act, passed out of the committee after a marathon session that began Wednesday morning and finished around 5 a.m. today. Both Democrats and Republicans offered hundreds of amendments during the process.

This proposal includes funding titles for highways – including roadway safety infrastructure, bridges, transit and passenger and freight rail. By and large, the legislation and the process were derided as partisan by Republican committee members.

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