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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.”

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.

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.

Work zone victim’s daughter urges motorists to drive responsibly

VDOT hosts National Work Zone Awareness Week official kickoff in Hampton, Va.

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Cameron Hutt talked about her father during the National Work Zone Awareness Week national kickoff event this afternoon but much of what she shared she learned secondhand.

Cameron’s father, Chris Hutt, was killed in a work zone incident when she was in kindergarten.

Before his death at age 33, he taught her how to swim, how to tie her shoelaces and her right from her left.

He was a loving father and a good provider but he didn’t get to see the birth of his youngest child or watch the other two grow up because of what Cameron called “the carelessness of two people.”

Virginia’s governor urges drivers to slow ‘at the first sign of a work zone’

National Work Zone Awareness Week starts today

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is urging all drivers to slow down and be alert when they see “the first sign of a work zone.”

His statement came today as National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) kicks off across the country. This weeklong national commemoration has been held each year since 2000 at the start of the spring roadway construction season to raise awareness for all motorists.

Statistics show that motorists and their passengers make up the majority of deaths due to work zone crashes. In 2020, the most recent year for which national data is available, 857 people were killed in work zone incidents, according to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse. Of the 156 pedestrians killed in work zones in 2020, 51 were work zone personnel.

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.

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.

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