Move Forward—In Safety

Move Forward—In Safety

Pandemic trends to keep, and those to leave behind

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Spring is in the air and COVID-19 vaccinations are in full swing, bringing the hope that we are teetering toward good health. The sense of hope is also a reminder to reflect on things we want to keep from the past year and things we want to leave behind.

This issue of MOVE helps us sort through those reflections, illustrating the forward momentum the DMV and traffic safety communities sustained throughout the pandemic in their innovative, nimble and collaborative
approaches to serving the public when other agencies shut down.

There were already trends developing in technology and customer desire for remote and online services, captured in the Trends Impacting DMVs of the Future report. There is no doubt the pandemic accelerated deployment of solutions that will support and advance these trends.

Among the DMV changes that were new and not trending before the pandemic was remote work. This may be a pandemic-derived change that will stick, as DMVs find ways to retain the flexibility of remote work in concert with data privacy, digital identity and customers’ desires for “touchless service.”

As this issue highlights, DMVs are not just meeting the future head-on—they are making it their own.

Also featured in this issue of MOVE is the innovative crash investigation work carried out by the Washington State Highway Patrol with the help of drones. It is a good example of new technologies deployed to achieve safe crash response and investigation, which have long been challenges.

But what if we did not have serious and fatal crashes at all? What will it take to get to zero?

During the pandemic, according to the National Safety Council’s estimates, roadway deaths in 2020 rose 8% while miles driven went down 13%. In other words, driving was less safe during the pandemic, resulting in an estimated 42,060 deaths and 4.8 million serious injuries from vehicle crashes in 2020.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements emphasizes the human factors of impairment, distraction and speeding. These are not new behaviors, but the new intensity leading to a dramatic rise in crashes is a pandemic trend we want to shed for good.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently published timely resources to help DMV and traffic safety officials understand and strengthen countermeasures to reverse this trend:

There are many reasons to be excited about the changes afoot. There is also cause for pause over the frightening increase in crashes. Let us take time to read and reflect on the behaviors and technologies we want to preserve and advance, and those we want to leave behind in the months ahead.

We can all find joy on this journey while we hold firm to our lifesaving vision. See you soon.

– Anne Ferro

AAMVA President and CEO

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