New Chair Elected, Policies Updated for GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association's updated policy statements reflect the latest science and expert consensus to address drugged driving, including zero tolerance laws for illicit drugs, use of electronic warrants, and marijuana open container laws.

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently announced that Dr. Darrin Grondel, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, was elected to chair GHSA at the association's 2018 annual meeting in Atlanta. Grondel will serve a one-year term for GHSA, a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Grondel will work to advocate for and achieve GHSA's policies and priorities, which the association recently enhanced to reflect evolving traffic safety issues -- notably, with provisions addressing substance-impaired driving, preparing for autonomous vehicle technologies, and ensuring the safety of all road users. "With so many emerging threats, states need to focus on the basics of saving lives by ministering strong programs rather than administering bureaucracy," he said.

According to GHSA, having participated in the process of Washington's implementation of legalized recreational marijuana sales, Grondel is dedicated to elevating the issue of drug-impaired driving. The association's updated policy statements reflect the latest science and expert consensus to address drugged driving, including zero tolerance laws for illicit drugs, use of electronic warrants, and marijuana open container laws. The recognizes that the best available research has not identified a scientifically sound illegal per se limit for marijuana.

"Impairment is impairment, regardless of the substance," Grondel said. "Combating this growing problem means having the research, funding, and tools to effectively educate the public and equip and energize law enforcement."

The new policies and priorities offer renewed encouragement for research, testing, and the deployment of connected, autonomous, and advanced driver assistance technologies.

Joining Grondel as GHSA executive officers for the upcoming year are Vice Chair Harris Blackwood, director of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety; Secretary Lauren Stewart, director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety; and Treasurer Lee Axdahl, director of the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety.

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