TZD Traffic Safety Hotdish: Traffic Safety Lessons from Washington State

Wednesday, January 24, 2024 

About the Event

This event featured two speakers with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission sharing recent traffic safety efforts in the state of Washington.

The first presentation discussed Washington’s effort to build a new foundation for the state's strategic highway safety plan based on racial equity, proactive traffic safety culture, and the Safe System approach. From 2019–2022, Washington experienced a nearly 40 percent increase in traffic deaths. Hear why, in this environment, it is more important than ever to understand the data, listen to the public, and integrate shared goals across all the stakeholders that represent the roadway system.

The second presentation focused on work related to drugged and poly-drugged driving in Washington. Over the past decade, the number of poly-drug-positive drivers involved in fatal crashes in the state has steadily increased. However, these poly-drug-positive cases include non-impairing medications, over-the-counter drugs, drug metabolites, or other substances unrelated to the events of the fatal crash (such as drugs administered post-crash by emergency personnel). Therefore, the prevalence of poly-drug-positive drivers may be overestimated. This presentation reviewed how the Commission aimed to reduce the risk of overestimating poly-drug-positive drivers by updating drug-positive driver data and improving the quality of toxicology data.

Event Materials


Max Roberts
Max Roberts
Shelly Baldwin
Shelly Baldwin

Shelly Baldwin, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, is a pioneer in applying proactive traffic safety culture to an innovative statewide campaign called "Together We Get There." The campaign moves away from fear-based messaging, instead emphasizing steps all people can take to make our roadways safer. Baldwin has 25 years of experience in traffic safety, strategic planning, communications, legislation, and preventing impaired and distracted driving. She serves as a co-chair for the Governors Highway Safety Association’s Equity and Engagement Committee.

Max Roberts is the senior research associate at the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. He manages the agency’s data dashboards, conducts research and analysis for trends in traffic fatalities and behavioral traffic safety in Washington, and provides technical support to partners and stakeholders. He also manages the Research Grant Program, supporting grantees to produce new research to promote traffic safety. He also serves as a member of the Research Committee for the Governors Highway Safety Association and as a member of the Transportation Research Board’s standing committee on Impairment in Transportation.


Attendees are eligible for 1.25 Professional Development Hours (PDHs). Download the PDH credit form (PDF) for your records.

More Information

Contact Linda Dolan at


This event was offered by the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Program and the Minnesota Departments of Health, Public Safety, and Transportation, with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It was hosted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies.