By Brian Stacy, PE
I’m sure most would think I’m talking about the fact I’m nearing the end of my presidential term and staring intently at the finish line. Or maybe the fact that our Annual Conference is right around the corner, featuring great opportunities to network, learn and grow professionally.
Although both are certainly noteworthy, that actually isn’t the focus of my article.
For anyone following NACE, you know first and foremost we stand for Safety. Most everything we do has a Safety element to it, and rightfully so. With that in mind, remember when we shared with you our desire to pursue Safety grants as an association?
Well, the National Safety Council and U.S. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just announced NACE is a Safe System Innovation Grant recipient! To my knowledge, this is a first for NACE and provides a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in a field we are all passionate about.
The initiative we pursued is Advancing Local Road Safety Practices with State DOTs. This is certainly something worthy of a CELEBRATION!!
As a reminder of the 35,095 roadway fatalities in 2015, more than half of them occurred on rural roads mostly owned by local agencies. The fatality rate is 2.4 times that of rural roads. Yet given this discrepancy, most states allocate a fraction of their federal funds on locally owned roads. We believe it is impossible to achieve the Road to Zero vision without addressing this huge disparency.
The few state DOTs that have allocated their resources based on fatalities have seen a significant drop. Counties in Minnesota have seen a 25% drop in fatalities since implementing safety plans uses Highway Safety Improvement Program dollars.
NACE proposes to strategically identify 5 key states to facilitate a gathering of key stakeholders as described below. This emulates a successful meeting conducted with FL DOT that resulted in improved collaboration and adoption of proven best practices. The top 5 states represent 33% of all the fatalities. Of those, 5,451 were on rural roads which represent 16% of all of the US fatalities.
This grant will result in about a 12 month effort broken down into 4 components:
With the new grant, state specific presentations will be developed to identify the issues and suggest practices for collaborating with locals to address local road safety. A meeting of key stakeholders will be organized to meet with the state DOT. As in FL, stakeholders will include NACE, our state affiliate, LTAP, FHWA and other locals as appropriate. The goal is to improve collaboration between the state and local agencies, adopt “new” proven practices, and change the behaviors on how states allocate resources to locals.
The grant will be the impetus for what we hope will be one of many future Safety-related opportunities for NACE to make the country a safer place to drive!
Congratulations to the Safety Committee and NACE staff for their successful grant application!
The Annual Conference is only days away. Looking forward to seeing you all in Cincy!!
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