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GHSA News Release

May 3, 2013

Contact: Barbara Harsha
202-789-0942 x120
202-669-9750 (cell)

Increase in Highway Deaths is Urgent Reminder

GHSA Projects Motorcyclist Deaths at All-Time High Proportion

Statement for Attribution to Barbara Harsha, Executive Director,
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Governors Highway Safety Association is disappointed that highway deaths are projected to have risen 5.3 percent in 2012, to more than 34,000 lives lost.

The news, while disheartening, is not surprising. With the improving economy and historically low levels of motor vehicle deaths in recent years, we expected deaths to increase. Highway deaths have been declining significantly in recent years and even with today’s projection, remain dramatically lower than five or ten years ago.

Of particular concern in 2012 are the data about some of the most vulnerable road users – motorcyclists. GHSA is projecting that approximately 5,000 motorcyclists died in 2012. This would represent 14.7 percent of overall traffic fatalities—the highest percentage ever. As noted in our report last week on motorcyclist deaths, a comprehensive strategy is needed to keep motorcyclists safe. Most crucial in this strategy are universal helmet laws, which 31 states currently lack.

While today’s news is upsetting, the good news is that last year’s highway bill provides states with needed resources to conduct educational programs and enforcement efforts that are proven effective. States are committed to working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other partners to save lives and reduce injuries.

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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 Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.