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NCSL Safer Streets, Safer States Preconference Agenda and Presentations | July 2022

August 25, 2022

NCSL hosted the Safer Streets, Safer States Preconference, on July 31, 2022, in Denver. Attendees heard from state legislators and other experts on the latest state traffic safety policy challenges and opportunities.

The meeting focused on six topic areas:

  • Impaired driving.
  • Railroad crossing safety.
  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • Speeding.
  • Vulnerable road user safety.
  • Autonomous vehicles.

July 31, 2022

How Should States Address the Growing Issue of Polysubstance-Impaired Driving?

Drivers impaired by multiple substances has become a common and deadly problem. Attendees learned from experts about the latest statistics on polysubstance-impaired driving and how toxicology and data collection can help us better understand the prevalence of this behavior. Lastly, attendees heard about efforts in Nevada to tackle impaired driving.


  • Darrin Grondel, vice president of traffic safety and government relations, | Presentation


  • Sabra Jones, regional toxicology liaison, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Region 5 | Presentation
  • Nevada Assemblyman Steve Yeager, Nevada Legislature | Presentation

Testing for Impairment: What Are the Options?

Attendees heard from state, industry and law enforcement experts on various options to test for impairment, the advantages and disadvantages of each method and how legislatures can support this key step in detecting impaired driving.


  • Jake Nelson, director, traffic safety advocacy & research, AAA


  • Erin Holmes, director, global road safety, Abbott | Presentation
  • Mark Ashby, drug recognition expert/standard field sobriety testingstate coordinator, Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Minority Leader Hugh McKean, Colorado Legislature

State and Federal Efforts to Improve Railroad Crossing Safety | Handout

Railroad crossing incidents are the second-leading cause of rail-related deaths in America, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. This session covered new state and federal actions to enhance railroad crossing safety by reducing the number of at-grade crossings.


  • Representative Megan Blanksma, Idaho Legislature


  • Rudy Husband, regional vice president, Norfolk Southern Corporation | Presentation
  • Majority Leader Jon Burns, Georgia Legislature

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Traffic Safety Overview

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, aka the bipartisan infrastructure law, has dedicated substantial funding to the improvement of vehicle and highway traffic safety. The speaker briefly explored the law’s traffic safety provisions and what they mean for states.


Effective Interventions to Combat Speeding

Speeding is a major contributing factor in fatal vehicle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29% of fatal crashes in 2020 involved at least one driver who was speeding. Attendees learned about the latest data on speeding, what this behavior looks like in rural areas and interventions states can use to combat speeding, such as automated enforcement, lowering speed limits and enhanced road design.


  • Senator Chris Lee, Hawaii Legislature


  • Jaime Sullivan, director, National Center for Rural Road Safety | Presentation
  • Dr. Wen Hu, senior research transportation engineer, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety | Presentation

Creating a Safe Space for Vulnerable Road Users

Fatalities for bicyclists and pedestrians are at near-record highs. This session covered national fatality and injury statistics for vulnerable road users, the latest micromobility trends and notable federal and state efforts to improve safety for those on foot, bike or scooter.


  • Gina Espinosa-Salcedo, regional administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Region 8


  • Rita Hill, regional program manager, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Region 8 | Presentation
  • Josh Johnson, senior manager, transit, bikes & scooters, Lyft | Presentation
  • Barb Chamberlain, director, active transportation division, Washington State Department of Transportation | Presentation

How States Are Paving the Way for Autonomous Vehicles | Panel Discussion

States have taken a variety of approaches to position themselves as leaders in the testing and deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles. Learn from state and industry experts about the role of legislatures in these initiatives, and about the safety provisions in state laws and the partnerships created to support projects involving these vehicles.


  • Doug Shinkle, transportation program director, NCSL


  • Assemblymember Laura Friedman, California Legislature
  • Jose Alvarado, manager of government affairs, Cruise
  • Dezbah Hatathli, community outreach manager, Arizona Department of Transportation

Meeting Adjourned

Thank You to Meeting Sponsors

Funding for this preconference was provided by Abbott, Cruise, Lyft, Norfolk Southern Corporation and

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