Highway safety plans, future legislation,
and economic-impact tour
highlight May board meeting

Review of the FY2020 Highway Safety Plan, a listing of legislative ideas being considered for next session, and a tour of the area emphasizing the importance of transportation to the local east Idaho economy will highlight the May 15-16 Idaho Transportation Board meeting in Pocatello.

The board’s tour of District 5 on May 15 will emphasize the importance of transportation to the local economy. The schedule includes visits to Petersen Inc., Driscoll TopHay, and Western States Caterpillar.

Petersen Inc. offers complete fabrication, advanced manufacturing, and machining services geared towards nuclear, petrochemical, aerospace, mining, and industrial projects, equipment, and parts. Driscoll TopHay uses a hay press to drive hydraulic rams into a typical 1,800-lb. hay bale to transform it into a smaller bale for shipping. It gets alfalfa locally and from areas such as Mud Lake and Malad and ships a lot of condensed bales to China.

Highway Safety Plan
Staff will present the draft FY20 Highway Safety Plan at the business meeting on May 16 at Idaho State Police’s facility in Pocatello.

The plan needs to be submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by July 1 in order to receive funding for the behavioral programs. The goal of the program is to eliminate motor vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian deaths, serious injuries, and economic losses.

By reviewing Idaho’s crash data, funds can be directed to focus areas with the biggest need. Some of the projects recommended for funding include educational and outreach efforts for impaired driving, conducting high-visibility enforcement campaigns focusing on impaired and distracted driving, funding overtime for law enforcement officers to focus on various behaviors, promoting motorcycle safety and awareness, and conducting surveys on seatbelt usage.

Legislative ideas
Staff will inform the board of legislative ideas being considered for the 2020 session.

As of now, the only idea is for legislation on distracted driving, using hands-free electronic devices. It would also prohibit the use of headphones or ear pieces in both ears while operating a vehicle.

In 2017, there were 4,808 distracted-driving crashes in Idaho, killing 39 people. Recent studies show that distracted driving can impair a driver’s ability as much as driving while intoxicated, which significantly increases the chances of being involved in a crash.

Legislative ideas must be submitted to the Division of Financial Manegement by July 12.

Published 05-10-19