Remarks of Debbie Hersman
Member, National Transportation Safety Board
to the Emergency Nurses Association
Emergency Nurses Association National Scorecard
On State Roadway Laws
November 19, 2008
Thank you for inviting me to participate in this very important press conference to highlight the limited progress States have made in improving highway safety. I am honored to represent the National Transportation Safety Board and to stand here with the Emergency Nurses Association and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety to release ENA’s National Scorecard on State Roadway Laws.
Improving highway safety is paramount at the Safety Board. While the Board investigates crashes in all modes of transportation, we know that over 95 percent of transportation-related fatalities occur on our nation’s highways. For far too long we, as a society, have tolerated 41,000 fatalities annually: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, friends, and colleagues. The legislative leaders in the States can stop this needless loss of life by making highway safety a priority. The ENA 2008 Scorecard identifies 13 critical measures that States can take to reduce the tragedies that occur every minute of the day on our nation’s highways.
The items on this Scorecard will reduce crashes and save lives when they are adopted. They have not been randomly selected, but instead are based on the real-world experience in the States. In each case, there is solid research demonstrating their effectiveness. For example,
The Safety Board makes recommendations for safety improvements based on thorough, independent, and objective investigations. And, our recommendations are remarkably consistent with the elements on this scorecard.
It is important that emergency room nurses have identified highway safety as a priority and spoken out on the initiatives in their scorecard. They see first hand the tragic results of the continuing carnage on our highways. I commend ENA for its continued efforts to keep highway safety in the forefront. This Scorecard shows both how far we have come and how far we have left to go in better protecting our family, friends, and communities.
The Safety Board maintains a list of Most Wanted safety improvements that is similar to the elements on the Emergency Nurses Association scorecard. And like the Scorecard, primary seat belt enforcement, impaired driving, teen driving, and child occupant protection are key elements of the Board’s Most Wanted list.
The Safety Board is committed to working with the Emergency Nurses Association. We will continue to promote sound legislation and enforcement of those laws, and we will take our message on the road, directly to the States, to encourage States to enact comprehensive highway safety legislation.
Together, we can do it.