Under SAFETEA-LU, the States were required to develop Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs). A Strategic Highway Safety Plan sets broad numerical goals for safety, lays out a set of emphasis areas for action, and for each emphasis area recommends strategies. Each strategic plan must also be followed up with a detailed implementation plan, which will identify not only emphasis areas and strategies, but specific actions and the agencies and offices that will carry them out. The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have all adopted Strategic Highway Safety Plans.
To identify safety emphasis areas and set goals the States created steering committees and/or executive committees including a wide range of stakeholders. Technical working groups were then formed to identify strategies for each emphasis area. The steering committees and the technical working groups will continue to work in the development of the implementation plans.
The SHSPs are data-driven; each plan shows the number of deaths and injuries and five-year trends for each emphasis area. Common emphasis areas include occupant protection, impaired driving, aggressive driving, old and young drivers, motorcycles, pedestrians, large trucks, licensing and driver competence, information and decision support systems, run off the road, intersections, and work zone safety. All three States are moving to upgrade their traffic records and data reporting systems, to support better safety planning and performance measurement.
For each emphasis area the SHSPs propose strategies and action items. Safety Strategies tend to fall under the Four E's – Engineering, Education, Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services. DC's plan includes 139 strategies and 83 near-term action items, Maryland's plan identifies 168 strategies, and Virginia's plan identifies 119 strategies. A key long-term goal of the SHSP process is evidence-based deployment of strategies to save as many lives as possible with the available resources.