COVID-19: Exposing Road Safety Challenges

News reports are full of anecdotal reports of how the pandemic has affected traffic safety. While we don’t know the full scope of the effects now, the crisis has shown a bright light on big unsolved challenges that have long festered on our roads from speeding to impairment.

David Harkey, President, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI)

David L. Harkey is president of the IIHS and the HLDI.

Before taking the helm at IIHS-HLDI in 2018, Dr. Harkey, an engineer by training, led the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center for 11 years. There he directed numerous projects to develop tools and strategies for enhanced safety analysis, improve safety data for researchers and decision makers, and develop training materials for safety practitioners.

Dr. Harkey’s own research has focused on improving roadway design and operations for all users, including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. He has led major research programs and projects for the Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other public agencies throughout his career and published numerous technical reports and peer-reviewed articles on road safety.

Dr. Harkey received a doctorate in civil engineering from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is actively involved in several professional organizations, including the Transportation Research Board and the Institute for Transportation Engineers.

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