Monday, August 31, 2009

Governors Highway Safety Association Endorses Texting While Driving Ban for All Drivers

Editor Note: At this time, Georgia only bans cell phone use for school bus drivers.

/PRNewswire/ -- The membership of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has enacted a new policy encouraging every state to ban texting behind the wheel for all drivers. GHSA Members are appointed by their governors to lead state highway safety agencies.

According to GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr., "The action by the GHSA membership is based on the fact that texting while driving is indisputably a distraction and a serious highway safety problem. If every state passes a texting ban, it will send a message to the public that this dangerous practice is unacceptable. We can begin to change the culture that has permitted distracted driving." Betkey noted the recent study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute influenced the GHSA membership action. That study indicated that a driver who is texting increases crash or near-crash risk by 23 times.

GHSA continues to have concerns about enforcing text messaging bans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to begin an enforcement demonstration project later this year which the Association fully supports. GHSA is hopeful that U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood's upcoming summit on distraction and the NHTSA demonstration project will provide a roadmap for developing additional enforcement strategies and countermeasures.

Despite these concerns, GHSA Vice Chairman Lowell Porter is confident that, given all the focus on the issue, effective enforcement solutions are on the horizon. "In the past, there were challenges enforcing seat belt and drunk driving laws. However, the research and highway safety communities collectively worked together and developed successful enforcement programs like Click It or Ticket. I am confident that we can do the same thing with texting bans. GHSA's new policy will help move this process along."

Chairman Betkey noted that this meeting is the first time in a year that GHSA's full membership has met. In that time, texting while driving has gained considerable attention. According to Betkey, "We want to send the strongest message possible about texting behind the wheel--it is dangerous and should not be tolerated."

GHSA's new policy was enacted during its Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. The conference runs through September 2.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

State, National Traffic Safety Leaders to Convene in Savannah

/PRNewswire/ -- The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety will host the annual GHSA meeting at The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center August 30-September 2. Approximately 500 top highway safety and public health officials from across the country will be in attendance. The 2009 GHSA conference theme, Toward Zero Deaths: Every Life Counts, focuses on the programs and strategies needed to reduce roadway deaths. This is the vision GHSA believes the country should strive for, with the interim goal of reducing fatalities by half in the next 20 years. The conference will kickoff Monday morning, August 31 and will feature as keynote speakers:

-- The Honorable Deborah A.P. Hersman, Chairman, National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB). Ms. Hersman will discuss steps states should take
to reduce roadway deaths and injuries. Ms. Hersman was appointed as
NTSB Chairman by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in July.
This will be her first address before the highway safety community in
her new role as Chairman.

-- James Vondale, Director, Automotive Safety Office, Ford Motor Company.
Mr. Vondale will discuss the role of the automobile industry in
achieving a significant reduction in traffic deaths. He also will talk
about Ford's SYNC hands-free calling system, which the company
believes reduces driver distraction. In a subsequent workshop, Mr.
Vondale will discuss Ford's MyKey tool that allows parents to monitor
their teens driving behavior.

Workshops will address a multitude of traditional and emerging highway safety issues. Topics include:

-- Teen Drivers: Crashes Waiting to Happen
-- New and Cool Highway Safety Technologies
-- Rural Highways Don't Have to be Dieways
-- Getting Aggressive with Motorcycle Safety
-- What's Driving Distracted Driving?

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ARC: Transportation in the 21st Century

Monday, September 21, 2009

9:30 - 10:00 AM Registration & Networking
10:00 - 11:30 AM Program

The Georgia World Congress Center
285 Andrew Young International BLVD NW
Room B-405
Atlanta, GA 30313-1591

Keynote Speaker:The Honorable Ray LaHood
United States Secretary of Transportation

The future of metro Atlanta depends on a quality transportation system. The shifting federal policy environment will have great impact on the future of our local and national transportation direction.

On September 21, US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will speak at ARC’s Fifty Forward forum on Transportation. This is an exciting opportunity to hear about the future of transportation from one of the most influential people in the transportation sector.
We hope you will join us.