FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 27, 2012
Contact: Barbara Harsha
GHSA Praises Federal Report Calling for Motorcycle Safety Changes
The following statement is attributable to Barbara Harsha,
Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its recent evaluation of federal and state efforts to address motorcycle safety. GHSA strongly supports the recommended changes, as these would lead to a more effective approach to this issue.
First, GAO suggests that Congress give states more flexibility in their use of federal highway safety funds to more broadly address the complex issue of motorcycle safety. Currently, states can spend these funds only on motorcyclist training and raising motorist awareness of motorcycles. States should be able to use their federal funds to support motorcycle advisory committees, development of motorcycle safety strategic plans, enforcement of helmet and other motorcycle safety laws, programs to prevent impaired motorcycling and speeding, licensing improvements, and programs to encourage voluntary helmet usage and greater rider conspicuity. GHSA supports a comprehensive approach to motorcycle safety, and we commend GAO for its recognition of the need for this strategy. We urge Congress to incorporate this change during the next transportation reauthorization.
Secondly, GAO recommends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide states with information that could better enable them to effectively reduce motorcyclist crashes and injuries. GAO encourages NHTSA to conduct research that will resolve outstanding gaps in state knowledge about approaches considered most promising. Specifically, GAO recommends that NHTSA research how to encourage motorcyclists to increase their conspicuity and the value of a graduated licensing model for motorcyclists. GHSA appreciates GAO's acknowledgement that an increased focus on research is necessary for states to operate effective, data-driven programs. NHTSA is scheduled to release a plan to guide its motorcycle safety research efforts by the spring of 2013. GHSA looks forward to this research roadmap.
Highlights of the GAO report and the report itself are online at http://gao.gov/products/GAO-13-42.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.