ATSSA Signal March/April 2019

American Traffic Safety Services Association 14 Government Relations Texas state Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez (D-Texas) said it best —“If you can protect one person, save the life of one person, that’s more than enough.” Martinez has spent his career in public service and has been a longtime advo- cate for transportation and roadway safety. Prior to being elected to the leg- islature in 2004, Martinez worked as an EMT paramedic, and as both a volunteer and career firefighter. “It’s all about public service and that’s why I enjoy doing it,” said Martinez. Martinez has served on the House Com- mittee on Transportation since 2011 and served as vice chair to the committee from 2013 to 2018. “I have always liked transportation. When I joined the leg- islature, I asked for [the Transportation Committee]. There’s so much under transportation and the effects of trans- portation, especially with the economy, that has always sparked my interest. The daily impact that this industry has on the residents of the state, as well as the need to properly plan for our future infrastructure, shows the importance of it.” Throughout his career, Martinez has worked to pass legislation related to roadway safety, including Senate Bill 510, which passed in 2013. The legisla- tion expanded on the “slow down/move over” laws in place that require motor- ists to slowdown and change lanes when first responders and law enforcement are in emergency stops on roadways, to include Texas Department of Trans- portation (TxDOT) vehicles and work zone workers. “I have [also] continuously filed the Safe Passage Act, which sets more rigorous road rules to better protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and those using farm equipment,” said Martinez. The bill, which to date has not passed, would establish a criminal penalty for motorists that do not move into anoth- er lane or safely pass vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists, those on farm equipment, and those riding on horseback on the Texas roadways. Looking ahead to the future of Texas roadways, Martinez remarked on the importance of Intelligent Transporta- tion Systems (ITS), smart work zones, and the advent of Connected Automat- ed Vehicle (CAV) technology. “They’ve provided our motorists with more information than ever to travel as efficiently as possible, and as safely as possible. These intelligent transporta- tion systems (ITS) allow for law enforce- ment and first responders to have a faster response, especially when dan- gerous events occur,” said Martinez. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Trans- portation (U.S. DOT) named Texas as a “national Automated Vehicle (AV) Prov- ing Ground”, where they would be test- ing CAV technology. “We look forward to continuing to work on legislation that will help improve transportation. Infra- structure is extremely important. Tech- nology is extremely important,” said Martinez. Twenty-seven ATSSA members held a state advocacy day at the Texas State Capitol in January, where they had an opportunity to speak with 32 Texas leg- islators about the importance of road- way safety infrastructure and how it saves lives. “Participating in the Texas state advoca- cy day was incredibly rewarding. Shar- ing our experiences and knowledge with our legislators was beneficial for me as well as helpful for our elected officials,” said Chad England, vice president of New Ventures. ATSSA’s Director of State Government Relations AshleyWieland said that ATSSA members were advocating to include roadway maintenance contractors— many of which are ATSSA member com- panies—in the state’s “slow down/move over” law, which Martinez was success- fully able to add TxDOT employees to back in 2013. Don’t mess with Texas roads ATSSA talks roadway safety with Rep. Armando Martinez (D-Texas) Rep. Martinez (D-Texas)