Statewide highway-safety planning underway

Safety advocates across Idaho are joining with ITD’s Office of Highway Safety in actively planning to help move “Toward Zero Deaths” on Idaho's highways. The result will be a data-driven, comprehensive, collaborative State Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) that helps Idaho identify and prioritize its most pressing road-safety needs, and develop strategies with the greatest potential to save lives and reduce injuries.

“The SHSP is for all of Idaho,” said Lisa Losness with the Office of Highway Safety. “From bicycle and pedestrian groups to local highway districts and ITD, it is a framework for everyone to save lives.”

Since December, when approximately 100 law enforcement representatives, community partners, ITD employees and other stakeholders kicked off the process, groups have been meeting to refine ideas. Each of 11 focus-area groups is identifying six to 10 strategies that will help meet Idaho’s highway-safety goals.

“By establishing priorities through the SHSP, stakeholders can better understand where funding may be spent to gain the largest benefit to Idaho,” explained Losness. "The collaborative process of developing and implementing the SHSP has Idaho’s safety partners working together in education, enforcement, engineering, emergency response and policy, identifying and implementing strategies that give ‘the biggest bang for our buck.’”

Building an SHSP begins with reviewing and identifying strategies.

Using a structured framework, each focus-area group helps participants determine which strategies should be recommended for inclusion in the updated SHSP. This format allows “tracking” of similar ideas between groups, similar to cross-pollination. The format also allows documentation of performance measures for monitoring progress.

A simple checklist of criteria helps with decision-making as groups consider what strategies to include:

  1. Have we been doing it, and would like to continue because it has been proven effective?
  2. Is it considered a best practice from another state, or does it align with Idaho-specific recommendations (for example, Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) or other highway safety assessments)?
  3. Is it represented in an existing safety plan (for example, the Highway Safety Plan)?
  4. Is it one of the “Countermeasures that Work,” a crash modification factor or a research-proven project?

By the end of February, four groups will have met to review strategies: Distracted Driving and Impaired Driving task forces, and Youthful Driving and Aggressive Driving focus-area groups. Four other focus-area groups are preparing to meet soon: Occupant Protection, Intersection, Lane Departure and Mature. Later this winter, the Bicycle-Pedestrian, Motorcycle and Commercial Motor Vehicles focus-area groups will draft strategies.

Early findings by the groups will be presented at the Highway Safety Summit March 15-16 in Coeur d’Alene. Compiling a draft of the SHSP will take place in April/May, along with holding additional meetings if needed.

The final compilation of strategies and group findings will be released in June or July.

For more information, Contact OHS Manager John Tomlinson at (208) 334-8557] or SHSP Program Coordinator Lisa Losness at (208) 334-8103]

Published 02-19-16