Ahead of the anticipated January release of the U.S. Department of Transportation's first National Roadway Safety Strategy, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is urging the inclusion of driver responsibility and behavior in a multi-pronged "safe system approach."

The safe system approach, which has been proven in numerous countries around the world, acknowledges human error and seeks to minimize fatalities and serious injuries.

surge in traffic fatalities in the first half of 2021 put a spotlight on roadway safety. The 18.4% year-over-year increase came while projected vehicle miles traveled in 2021 remain below 2019 levels. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in an October research note, cited a rise in risky driving behaviors including extreme speeds, failure to wear seat belts and driving under the influence.

That may be partly due to concerns about racial profiling in traffic stops. "You have a lot of places where police use traffic enforcement to do other things like investigate crimes or as a community policing strategy," said Martin. "I think that's where we get into trouble sometimes." He and Manning insisted there are proven ways to equitably conduct traffic enforcement.

Sobriety checkpoints and speed enforcement are more equitable, said Manning. A review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that checkpoints reduced alcohol-related crashes by 17%, but only 13 states conduct checks on a weekly basis.

Read the full article about traffic safety by Dan Zukowski at Smart Cities Dive.