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.
The above statement is from Barbara Harsha, Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association