Governor's Traffic Safety Committee

Highway Safety Strategic Plan

Highway Safety Strategic Plan 2004

Message from George E. Pataki
Governor of New York State


Governor PatakiI am pleased to present New York State's 2004 Highway Safety Strategic Plan. New York has long been a national leader in the field of highway safety and our history of performance-based program planning allows us to identify new or reemerging traffic safety problems and address the needs of an ever-changing environment.

As we look for additional ways to make our roadways safer, the use of occupant restraints remains the single most effective strategy to reduce injuries and deaths on our highways. We will continue our aggressive efforts to increase seat belt use among motorists. We also recognize that the problem of impaired driving requires persistent and innovative countermeasures, and we want to continue to send a strong message that such behavior will not be tolerated in New York. That is why I signed legislation that went into effect July 151 of this year, which significantly strengthened our impaired driving laws. The DWI threshold was lowered from .10 to .08, a reduction that will save countless lives.

Another priority of our highway safety program continues to be the reduction of unsafe driving behaviors. In addition to our efforts to reduce impaired driving and aggressive driving behaviors, we passed the nation's first law outlawing the use of hand-held cellular phones while driving. We are also pursuing other strategies to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. We must also focus on increasing the safety of pedestrians, especially in our largest metropolitan areas, including New York City. This will continue to be a priority in our efforts to keep our State's roads and highways as safe as possible.

As the highway safety environment continues to evolve, I am confident that New York will maintain our leadership role by continuing to develop fresh new approaches to problems that may arise. Now in our sixth year of performance-based planning, the program utilizes scientific methods, including data-driven problem identification and program evaluation. Performance-based planning enables us to direct our resources toward our most serious problems and to identify emerging traffic safety issues.

With the submission of our 2004 Highway Safety Strategic Plan, I would like to once again thank each and every member of New York State's traffic safety community for their dedication to the cause of reducing the human and economic costs of crashes on our highways.

Message from Ray Martinez
Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee


Commissioner MartinezGovernor Pataki and I are pleased to present New York's 2004 Highway Safety Strategic Plan. This plan states goals and objectives for reducing the number of traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our highways. New York's comprehensive and coordinated program to increase highway safety uses the proven strategies of public information, education, enforcement, and engineering improvements.

The September 11th attack on America had many aftereffects, and some of those relating to traffic safety are still with us. Primarily, there is more traffic on the highways and the need for increased security means that we must prioritize our needs and focus our resources to a high degree. In this program year, we will continue to increase occupant restraint use through our exemplary Buckle Up New York/Click It or Ticket program and we will renew our commitment to combat impaired driving and speeding.

New York has been a leader in the field of traffic safety for decades and I am confident that our strong program will be successful in addressing these issues. I look forward to working with all of you in the highway safety community in the coming year.

Highway Safety Strategic Plan 2004 HIGHWAY SAFETY
STRATEGIC PLAN 2004

INTRODUCTION

In preparing its 2004 Highway Safety Strategic Plan, New York continued a performance-based approach to the planning and management of the state's program. The intent of New York's strategic planning process is to provide a documented, proactive method for setting priorities for the state's highway safety program.

The top priorities of Governor Pataki' s 2004 highway safety program are increasing the use of occupant restraints; the reduction of unsafe driving behaviors, including speeding and impaired driving; and improving the safety of pedestrians and motorcyclists. This document outlines the major highway safety problems that have been identified and presents short-term and long-term performance goals for improvements in these areas. In addition to comprehensive statewide goals, specific goals and objectives for each major program area have been established. Brief descriptions of the current status, goals, and objectives of the statewide highway safety program and the major program areas follow.

At the time this Highway Safety Strategic Plan was prepared, the 2001 crash data had not yet been finalized. Since the final data were not available, is was not possible to revise the goals relating to crashes and the previous year's goals have been retained. Other data, primarily tickets issued in 2001 and 2002, were available; therefore, goals relating to these data have been revised.

STATEWIDE HIGHWAY
SAFETY PROGRAM
Statewide Highway Safety Program

The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) provides leadership and support for the attainment of the traffic safety goals through its administration of the federal 402 program, the various TEA-21 incentive grants awarded to the state, and grants under the proposed Safe and Flexible Transportation Efficiency Act of 2003. A crucial part of the process is problem identification which is accomplished through analyses of crash, fatality, and injury measures such as those presented below.

NEW YORK STATE CRASH, FATALITY, AND INJURY MEASURES
1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
Fatalities 1,630 1,505 1,584 1,444 1,420 1,350
Fatal Crash Rate/ 100 million VMT 1.24 1.13 1.15 1.08 1.03 0.97
Mean Severity of Injury (MSI) 1.306 1.293 1.274 1.249 1.201 1.139

Over the four years, 1997 to 2000, an average of 1,541 people died each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes in New York State. The fatal crash rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) declined considerably from 1997 to 2000. For each of these years, New York State's fatal crash rate was consistently below the national level. As indicated by the decrease in the MSI, the severity of injuries suffered in crashes declined steadily between 1997 and 2000.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The overall goals of New York's highway safety program are to prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, and reduce the severity of the injuries suffered. A comprehensive approach will be undertaken with strategies implemented in all of the major highway safety program areas. The effectiveness of the collective efforts will be assessed through changes in fatality and injury measures.

IMPAIRED DRIVING Impaired Driving

Alcohol and other drug-impaired driving continues to threaten the safety of all road users in New York State. As part of its long-term commitment to improve highway safety, New York conducts a vigorous campaign to fight impaired driving. Enhanced enforcement efforts have been successfully coupled with increased public information and education to produce very positive results.

Effective July 1,2003, a new law signed by Governor Pataki reduced the per se BAC from .10% to .08%; this is an important landmark in the fight against impaired driving. The new law also provides for the prompt suspension of the driver's license, pending prosecution, of any person charged with a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law subdivision two or three of section 1192 who is alleged to have been driving with .08% or higher BAC and provides tougher penalties for repeat offenders.

Governor Pataki also signed a new beer keg registration law to discourage retailers from selling beer to minors, to prevent adults from purchasing beer for someone under the age of 21, and to discourage minors from attempting to illegally buy beer or drink beer at parties. Effective November 2003, an identification tag will be attached to every keg sold at a retail store. The tag must contain the name and address of the retail store, the name of the keg purchaser, and an individual keg identification number. The law also requires the purchaser of the keg to sign a statement that they understand the underage drinking laws, and that they will not allow consumption of the beer in violation of the law. Retailers must maintain records of the names, addresses, and driver's license number of purchasers and the size of the keg container, amount of the registration deposit, date and time of purchase, and the keg identification number. Keg purchasers will pay a $75 registration deposit on each keg, which will be refunded upon return of the keg with an intact identification tag. If the keg's identification tag is missing or damaged, the keg purchaser may be fined $250 to $450.

Other legislative initiatives such as the Zero Tolerance Law, enacted in 1996, and increased license sanctions for the use of fraudulent identification to purchase alcohol, have played a key role in reducing impaired driving by persons under the age of 21. The recent passage of "Sean's Law," which allows a judge to suspend the license or learner's permit of a minor charged with DWI or DWAI until the minor's next court appearance is another important tool in the fight against underage drinking and driving.

In order to sustain the progress achieved thus far, new strategies must be developed and implemented. For instance, Governor Pataki has signed legislation to encourage retail establishments that sell and serve alcoholic beverages to attend a certified Alcohol Awareness Training program. New York City, Nassau County, and Suffolk County have pioneered the innovative strategy of confiscating the automobiles of motorists arrested for drunk driving. Rensselaer County has adopted this measure and other jurisdictions are encouraged to adopt this policy as well.

ALCOHOL-RELATED FATALITIES AND INJURIES IN NEW YORK STATE 1
1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
Alcohol-Related Fatalities 322 328 333 334 310 270
Alcohol-Related Injuries 10,413 9,775 8,868 9,263 9,000 8,700

In each year from 1997 through 2000, there have been approximately 330 alcohol-related fatalities. In 1999 and 2000 there were approximately 9,000 alcohol-related injuries in crashes, compared to about 10,000 in 1997 and 1998.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary goals of the impaired driving program are to reduce the numbers of alcohol- related traffic fatalities and injuries. These goals will be accomplished by increasing enforcement of the impaired driving laws, conducting training programs for police officers and prosecutors, and raising public awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. A variety of educational programs for drivers under age 21 will be supported. Other measures that target underage drinking drivers, drivers 21 to 29 years of age, and repeat offenders will be emphasized.

POLICE TRAFFIC SERVICES Police Traffic Services

Enforcement of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, along with educational endeavors, has always been a cornerstone of New York's highway safety program. A proven strategy for success, and a long-held doctrine of the traffic safety community, is that a combination of highly visible enforcement and public information and education is needed to achieve and sustain significant improvements in highway safety. These strategies have the added benefit of encouraging positive behavior such as safety belt use and reductions in aggressive driving. Although traditional enforcement strategies are successful with the general driving population, different approaches are required for some groups, especially those who intentionally disregard the laws and become adept at avoiding apprehension, as opposed to those who simply do not know enough about the issues. The former group includes recidivist impaired drivers, aggressive drivers, drivers guilty of aggravated unlicensed operation, and those who refuse to wear safety restraints.

In the aftermath of September 11, it became clear that traffic enforcement efforts supported and were intimately linked with our new security and anti-terrorist agenda. With the dawning knowledge that commercial vehicles were a likely means to deliver explosives or other terrorist weapons, commercial vehicle enforcement assumed greater importance than ever. Furthermore, the enforcement community realized that "looking beyond the ticket" was also more important than ever; traffic enforcement provides an efficient and effective means of apprehending dangerous individuals, including those potentially involved with terrorist activities.

Analysis of data related to motor vehicle crashes indicates that the total number of reportable crashes increased dramatically over the four-year period, 1997-2000. The crash rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) also showed considerable increases between 1997 and 2000. Much of the increase in these two measures is attributable to the changes in the policies relating to accident reporting.2

NEW YORK STATE MOTOR VEHICLE CRASHES, 2 1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal3
2008
Goal3
Total Crashes 263,604 306,646 356,981 392,245
Rate (crashes/l00 million VMT) 218 249 282 311

SPEED ENFORCEMENT

Speed enforcement continues to be apriority, since it is well known that vehicle speed contributes directly to the severity of a crash. The increased traffic congestion since September 11 continues to pose difficulties for enforcement personnel in intercepting speeders. GTSC will support innovative strategies in this area, including the purchase of specialized speed enforcement equipment. Between 1997 and 2000, the proportion of crash-involved drivers whose speed was listed as a contributing factor was between 5 % and 6 %. However, the number of crash-involved drivers whose speed was listed as a contributing factor increased significantly from 1997 to 2000. Enforcement agencies wrote over 790,000 tickets for speeding in 2002, accounting for 21 % of all tickets issued.

DRIVERS WITH SPEED AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR
TO CRASHES IN NEW YORK STATE, 2, 4 1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
Drivers Whose Speed Was a 
Contributing  Factor to a Crash
21,715 23,704 28,408 32,961 32,400 30,900

AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

There is ample evidence that aggressive driving behaviors have become more prevalent in the past few years. Speeding, failure to yield the right-of-way, and improper passing/lane usage accounted for approximately 6%, 10%, and 8%, respectively, of the crash-related violations charged from 1997 to 2000. These actions, which in themselves often cause crashes, may be accompanied by other negative driver-to-driver interactions, such as shouting and obscene gestures; these incidents may then escalate into "road rage."

Under Governor Pataki's leadership, New York was among the first states to address the problem of aggressive driving, and the Governor proposed legislation to increase the penalties for dangerously aggressive driving. A recent New York State law requires that a component of instruction on road rage must be included in the 5-hour driver prelicensing course, PIRP courses, and the driver's license manual, and questions on this topic must be included on the written driver's license test. In 2002, GTSC introduced a popular new grant program, STEP to Reduce Unsafe Driving Behaviors. Another initiative is the New York State Police Aggressive Driving Enforcement program, which seeks to reduce the number of deaths and injuries which result from aggressive driving through a combination of public education and enforcement.

The New York City Police Department will continue its Combat Aggressive Driving (CAD) program. The program has allowed the NYPD to fund details dedicated to aggressive driving enforcement. The Department is seizing for forfeiture the vehicles of certain aggressive drivers, including reckless drivers, those traveling at twice the speed limit, and those receiving citations for three or more hazardous driving violations at one time. With funding from GTSC, other police agencies statewide are also focusing more attention on aggressive drivers.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary goal of the police traffic services program is to decrease the number and severity of motor vehicle crashes by deterring aggressive driving and other risky behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, etc. In addition to routine and selective enforcement approaches, training programs will be conducted for police officers, probation officers, judges, and prosecutors. Additional initiatives targeting specific issues, such as aggressive drivers, scofflaws, unlicensed drivers, and commercial vehicle operators will also be explored.

MOTORCYCLE SAFETY Motorcycle Safety

During the seasons of the year when weather permits, motorcycles continue to be a popular sport and mode of transportation in New York. The number of motorcycle registrations increased to almost 218,000 in 2001, an all-time high. Motorcyclists face particular risks on the road, since they are highly vulnerable in a crash.

In 1997, New York began a major initiative to improve motorcycle safety by establishing the Motorcycle Safety Program. Created through legislation signed by Governor Pataki, this rider- funded program provides instruction and field training to improve the riding skills of motorcyclists. The program, administered by the Motorcycle Association of New York State, Inc., now offers training at 23 sites around the state and includes a public information component aimed at raising the awareness of all motorists to motorcycles. Additional training sites will be established in future years. In addition, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee continues its ongoing efforts to encourage motorists to be aware of the presence of motorcycles on the roadways.

MOTORCYCLE CRASHES IN NEW YORK STATE, 5 1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
Motorcycle Crashes 3,534 3,740 4,128 4,211 3,950 3,600
Motorcyclists Killed 114 112 113 118 112 104

Motorcycle crashes decreased considerably during the mid-1990s. However, the number of motorcycle crashes increased between 1997 and 2000; in 2000 there were 4,211 crashes involving motorcycles. Young motorcycle operators continue to be overrepresented in fatal and personal injury motorcycle crashes: 10% of the motorcyclists involved in crashes were under 21 years of age, but less than 1 % of the licensed operators are in this age group; 34 % of motorcyclists involved in crashes were aged 21-29, but only 7% of the licensed operators are between the ages of 21 and 29.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary goals in the area of motorcycle safety are to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities. Objectives include continued expansion of motorcycle rider education opportunities and examination of the characteristics of motorcycle crashes and unlicensed operators. The strategies that will be used include public information and education and research and evaluation initiatives. Research will focus on identifying trends and issues related to the characteristics of fatal motorcycle crashes and the operators in these crashes, and assessing the extent to which persons continue to operate motorcycles without the proper license. The public information and education activities will stress the need for the motoring public to be aware of motorcyclists.

PEDESTRIAN, BICYCLE, IN-LINE SKATING, AND NON-MOTORIZED SCOOTER SAFETY Pedestrian, Bicycle, In-line Skating and Non-Motorized Scooter Safety

Pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skaters, and non-motorized scooter operators are among our most vulnerable roadway users. When involved in crashes with motor vehicles and fixed objects, these highway users almost always suffer more serious injuries than vehicle occupants. Although crashes involving this group represent only about 6% of the reportable crashes in the state, they account for about one-fourth of all fatal crashes and approximately 10% of all injury crashes. The injuries sustained in these crashes often require extensive medical treatment and/or lengthy rehabilitation. Pedestrian safety continues to be a priority for FFY 2004. Public information and education efforts will be a major countermeasure in this program area.

Governor Pataki signed legislation improving pedestrian safety by simplifying New York State's law regarding pedestrian right-of-way in crosswalks. Since January 19, 2003, drivers must yield to pedestrians walking in a crosswalk in both halves of the street where a traffic signal is not present or operating. This replaced the previous law that required drivers to yield to pedestrians in their half of the crosswalk.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

PEDESTRIANS KILLED AND INJURED IN NEW YORK STATE, 1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
Pedestrians Killed (NYS) 374 372 383 335 320 300
     in New York City 222 181 186 180 173 160
Pedestrians Injured (NYS) 18,830 18,836 17,966 17,320 17,050 16,200

From 1997 to 2000, an average of 366 pedestrians were killed and 18,238 were injured each year. The 2000 figures were the lowest of the four years. In each year, approximately half of all pedestrian fatalities occurred in New York City.

BICYCLE SAFETY

Over the four-year period, 1997-2000, 38 to 53 bicyclists have been killed each year in motor vehicle crashes. New York State's law requiring children under age 14 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle was implemented to mitigate the severity of injuries. Efforts to prevent bicycle crashes through education and increased public awareness for both bicyclists and motorists will continue.

BICYCLISTS KILLED AND INJURED IN NEW YORK STATE, 1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
Bicyclists Killed (NYS) 49 53 45 38 33 27
     In New York City 20 18 27 15 14 12
Bicyclists Injured (NYS) 9,109 8,616 7,787 7,061 6,700 6,200

In 2000, 46 % of the bicyclists killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes were under 20 years of age; another 39% were between the ages of 20 and 44. Over the past four years, more than half (56 %) of the bicycle/motor vehicle crashes occurred in New York City.

IN-LINE SKATING SAFETY

Although primarily a recreational activity, it is also used by messenger/delivery services, particularly in the New York City area. Since January 1996, when legislation signed by Governor Pataki became effective, children under age 14 have been required to wear a helmet when skating. In July 1996, a revised police crash report form was distributed to enforcement agencies; this form captures information on in-line skating crashes, including the type of safety equipment used by skaters. Many localities are beginning to track crashes involving in-line skaters and have expanded their programs to include this issue.

NON-MOTORIZED SCOOTER SAFETY

The popularity of scooters in New York State over the past several years has been paralleled by a substantial rise in scooter-related injuries. Since July 1, 2002, it has been illegal for persons 13 years of age or younger to operate a scooter or ride as a passenger on a scooter without wearing an approved bicycle helmet.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary goals of the pedestrian, bicycle, in-line skating, and non-motorized scooter safety programs are to reduce the number of pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, and scooter riders killed and injured. These goals will be accomplished by providing safety education to both the general public and specific target groups, developing and evaluating engineering solutions to address these problems, and expanding helmet distribution programs. Community-based programs will play a major role in these efforts. Research and evaluation activities will be undertaken to assist in defining the scope and nature of the various safety issues, assess program effectiveness, and identify potential countermeasures.

OCCUPANT PROTECTION Occupant Protection

Since introduction of the Buckle Up New York (BUNY) campaign in 1996 by First Lady Libby Pataki, the program has greatly expanded. Using Section 157b grant funding, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) has supported the participation of approximately 300 local enforcement agencies in this comprehensive statewide enforcement and PI&E effort. The program has resulted in unprecedented numbers of tickets issued for violations of the safety restraint laws and substantial increases in the seat belt usage rate. The BUNY campaign, now called Buckle Up New York, Click It or Ticket, is close to achieving its ambitious goal of an 86% seat belt usage rate. The most recent statewide observational surveys, conducted before and after the May 2003 BUNY mobilization, estimated usage to be 80% before the enforcement wave and 85% following the wave.

The youngest vehicle occupants continue to be of special concern, since motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among children. The Child Passenger Safety Task Force, established in 1998, continues to take a lead role in seeking solutions to the issues that have been identified. New York currently has 200 permanent child safety seat fitting stations; these stations enable certified child passenger safety seat technicians to educate the public across the state in the proper installation and use of child safety seats.

PROPORTION OF VEHICLE OCCUPANTS COVERED BY NEW YORK STATE'S
 SEAT BELT LAW KILLED OR SERIOUSLY INJURED IN CRASHES 4
1997-2000

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
Fatalities .19% .15%  .13% .11% .10% .09%
Serious Injuries 2.42% 1.96% 1.57% 1.37% 1.32% 1.26%

The number and percentage of fatalities among vehicle occupants covered by the seat belt law declined from 1997 to 2000. The number and percentage of covered occupants receiving serious injuries also declined over this period.

MEAN SEVERITY OF INJURY (MSI) FOR VEHICLE OCCUPANTS 
COVERED BY NEW YORK STATE'S SEAT BELT LAW, 1997-2000

1997 1998 1999 2000 2004
Goal
2008
Goal
1.273 1.262 1.245 1.224 1.187 1.138

Over the period 1997 to 2000, the Mean Severity of Injury (MSI) measure also indicates a decrease in the severity of injuries suffered by the occupants of vehicles covered by the seat belt law. In calculating the MSI, a weight of 4 is assigned to a fatality, 3 to a serious injury, 2 to a moderate injury, and 1 to a minor injury. Between 1997 and 2000, the MSI declined from 1.273 to 1.224.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary goals of the occupant protection program are to decrease the number of vehicle occupants killed and to mitigate the severity of the injuries suffered. This will be accomplished by encouraging seat belt use and enhancing the safety of young passengers by increasing the number of children 12 and under who ride in the back seat and the number of children who are properly restrained in child safety seats. The strategies identified for accomplishing these goals include enforcement, research to identify target groups of motorists who do not comply with the law, public information and education, and child passenger safety training. Additional permanent child safety seat fitting stations will be established, with an emphasis on stations in culturally-diverse communities, staffed by bi-lingual certified technicians.

TRAFFIC RECORDS Traffic Records

Performance-based program planning processes are used by traffic safety agencies and organizations at all jurisdictional levels to develop traffic safety initiatives. In identifying the nature and location of traffic safety problems so that appropriate countermeasures can be developed, a critical component of these processes is accessibility to traffic records data. Increasing demands for data on crashes and injuries, arrests and convictions for traffic violations, and highway engineering and for data analysis support have impelled New York to make major improvements in the way it maintains and uses its traffic records systems.

The importance placed on improving the state's traffic records systems is evident in Governor Pataki's continuing support of efforts to reengineer the state's accident and ticket records systems. System improvements are monitored annually through an assessment process conducted by the state's Traffic Records Advisory Committee (TRAC). Under the direction of the GTSC, TRAC assesses and documents the progress that has been made in improving the traffic records systems in six areas: crashes, tickets, drivers, injury surveillance, roadways, and vehicles. Major reengineering initiatives involving the crash and ticket records systems are well underway. These efforts have been accompanied by important changes in other areas, especially with regard to roadway and injury surveillance information.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary goals of the efforts undertaken in the area of traffic records are to continue the reengineering of the DMV accident and ticket records systems, improve data linkage capabilities among traffic safety-related data systems, and assist with the coordination and direction of efforts to upgrade the state's various traffic safety-related data systems. This will be accomplished through support for the implementation of new technologies by state agencies and local police agencies. The strategies include continued involvement in the state's Safety Management System, increased use of technology for data collection and dissemination, the development and use of linked data bases, and research and evaluation initiatives to support problem identification and the development and evaluation of countermeasures.

DISTRACTED DRIVING

Distracted drivers and their contribution to crashes on the state's roadways continues to be an area of concern. Distraction can be defined as some event, activity, or person within the vehicle that takes the driver's focus or attention away from the driving task. Some of the most common examples are tuning the car radio, eating, drinking, conversing with passengers, reading and writing, talking on cell phones, and personal grooming.

One of the most prominent concerns with respect to distracted driving behavior is the use of cell phones while driving. To address the use of cell phones while driving and the lack of specific information on distracted driving, New York became the first state in the nation to pass a statewide cell phone law which bans the use of hand-held cell phones by vehicle operators on New York's roadways. Hands-free cell phones remain permissible. Effective November 1, 2001, the law also provided that a comprehensive study on distracted driving, including the use of cell phones while driving, be conducted and a report on the study be submitted to the Legislature by June 28, 2005.

COMMUNITY TRAFFIC
SAFETY PROGRAMS
Community Traffic Safety Programs

Community Traffic Safety Programs combine strategies from several traffic safety program areas to address local highway safety problems. Communities within a county are encouraged to cooperatively develop a strategic plan which identifies and documents the county's highway safety problems; establishes performance goals, objectives, and measures; and proposes strategies that target the problems identified. Because of the integral role local programs play in achieving the statewide highway safety goals, increasing the number of counties participating in the program continues to be a priority.

The strategies implemented under the individual community traffic safety programs will contribute to the attainment of the goals established for the statewide highway safety program. In addition to funding local programs, the strategies in this area include the further development of inter-organizational and target group coalitions, the provision of public information resources, and training for community program managers and staff.

PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

Governor Pataki's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) is responsible for coordinating and managing New York State's comprehensive highway safety program. GTSC takes a leadership role in identifying the state's overall traffic safety priorities; provides assistance to its local partners in identifying local highway safety priorities; and works with its partners to develop programs, public information campaigns, and other activities to address the needs identified. In addition to the 402 highway safety grant program, GTSC administers the highway safety funds awarded to the state through the various TEA-21 incentive grant programs and grants under the proposed Safe and Flexible Transportation Efficiency Act of 2003. In administering the state's highway safety program, GTSC takes a comprehensive approach, providing funding for a wide variety of programs targeting crash reduction through education, enforcement, engineering, community involvement, and greater access to safety-related data.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The GTSC's goals in this area are to continue to improve the effectiveness of New York's highway safety program and the efficiency of its administration. This will be accomplished by enhancing the GTSC's leadership role in identifying priorities and establishing goals for the statewide program, improving the coordination of programs and resources, and promoting innovative approaches to address highway safety issues. GTSC will continue to assess the training needs of its partners and identify training opportunities that meet these needs. Communication and access to information and materials will be enhanced through the continuing development of GTSC's Internet site and other channels.


1 Police-reported crashes

2 Prior to October 1997, by law DMV could not record property damage crashes on its file unless at least one motorist involved in the crash submitted a report, even if a police accident report was filed. Allowing the recording of crashes based only on police reports resulted in a large increase in the number of property damage only crashes; this effect is reflected in the total number of crashes and number of occupants involved in crashes. The effect has lasted over a period of several years, as police departments across the state continue to use existing inventories of old reporting forms.

3 Goals for total crashes and rate are not possible given the definition and procedure changes that take place every few years.

4 Police-reported crashes

5 Prior to October 1997, by law DMV could not record property damage crashes on its file unless at least one motorist involved in the crash submitted a report, even if a police accident report was filed. Allowing the recording of crashes based only on police reports resulted in a large increase in the number of property damage only crashes; this effect is reflected in the total number of crashes and number of occupants involved in crashes. The effect has lasted over a period of years, as police departments across the state continue to use existing inventories of old reporting forms.