Highway Safety Leaders Focusing on Reauthorization; Traffic Safety
An Important Component Of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2002 /U.S. Newswire/ -- State highway safety
leaders from across the country will be in Washington March 10-12
to meet with congressional staff and leaders of the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The purpose of the
visit is to outline the states' highway safety priorities for
reauthorization of TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st
Century). In addition to restructuring federal highway transit and
motor carrier programs, TEA-21 authorized $2.3 billion for highway
safety grant programs for fiscal years 1998-2003. Members of the
National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives
(NAGHSR) are responsible for administering these funds in
accordance with their governors' highway safety plan. Congress is
expected to conduct oversight hearings on TEA-21 this year and then
debate legislation early next year.

One of the main messages NAGHSR will communicate with Congress is
that traffic safety enforcement programs are an important part of
the homeland security effort. Chair Marsha Lembke says, "While
routine traffic stops have caught high-profile criminals like
Timothy McVeigh, they also result in apprehending criminals every
day." Lembke cites the "Click it or Ticket" mobilization
enforcement effort last May in the Southeastern states as an
example. During two weeks of intense enforcement of seat belt laws,
over 1,400 fugitives were arrested.

This was an added benefit to the countless lives that were saved
as over 119,000 seatbelt citations were made and over 8,000 DUI
offenders were netted. Another example of the broad benefit of
traffic safety enforcement occurred in the Washington, DC area in
February. Following a routine traffic stop, police found the driver
had produced more than $3,700 in counterfeit money and was in
possession of illicit drugs. After further investigation, the
driver was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor relating to
the money and 10 counts related to drug possession. Lembke says,
"These are just a couple instances of the key role traffic safety
plays in our broader security effort."

NAGHSR urges Congress to continue full funding of traffic safety
programs and consider additional funding for law enforcement
efforts when TEA-21 is reauthorized. According to Lembke, "This is
particularly important in states like mine (North Dakota) where the
responsibility of defending dams and power plants has fallen solely
on state and local police."

NAGHSR has produced a report detailing the states' experiences
with TEA-21 and their suggestions for improvement. The key findings
of the report will be discussed with NHTSA Administrator Dr. Jeff
Runge as well as other agency leaders and congressional staff. The
report, "Taking the Temperature of TEA-21: An Evaluation and
Prescription for Safety" is available online at

Note: NAGHSR Chair Marsha Lembke is available for media
interviews on March 11 and 12. Contact the Association for more
information. Lembke is the Director of the Drivers License and
Traffic Safety Division for the North Dakota Department of

NAGHSR is the governors highway safety association. The
nonprofit organization represents the highway safety offices of
states, territories, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the
Indian Nation. Its members are appointed by their Governors to
administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement
state highway safety plans. For further information, call NAGHSR at
202-789-0942, e-mail jadkins@statehighwaysafety.org or visit

Contact: Jonathan Adkins of NAGHSR, 202-789-0942
Email: jadkins@statehighwaysafety.org

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

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