David Strickland, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), today presented the agency's top Public Service Awards to 15 safety advocates and organizations at the 30th Annual Lifesavers Conference. Each year NHTSA recognizes safety leaders from around the country for making outstanding contributions to improving highway safety.
"With roadway deaths at historic lows, it's clear we're making real progress in improving safety for motorists," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "That success is thanks in no small part to the contributions made by our 2012 honorees, who exemplify the highest level of professionalism and dedication to saving lives every single day."
The NHTSA Public Service Awards were presented at an annual conference hosted by Lifesavers, a national, non-profit organization of private and public groups and individuals dedicated to improving highway safety. The Lifesavers meeting provides a forum for safety advocates to share the latest data and best practices. The award winners are dedicated to promoting highway and traffic safety, and saving lives across America.
"While safety has always been our agency's highest priority, we rely on the continued leadership of safety practitioners across the country to help tackle the most dangerous driving practices -- whether the issue is drunk driving, seatbelt use, or distraction," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "The honorees today know firsthand the kind of dedication needed to keep our roadways safe, from promoting traffic safety in their communities, to developing and implementing innovative programs, to providing invaluable hands-on experience on a daily basis."
NHTSA data show that highway deaths fell to 32,885 in 2010, the lowest level since 1949. The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even as American drivers traveled nearly 46 billion more miles during the year, an increase of 1.6 percent over the 2009 level. 2010 also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010, down from 1.15 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009. Early estimates for 2011 fatality and injury data indicate these historic lows continued through last year.
The 15 public service award winners, and their plaque citations, are as follows:
Coordinator, Safe Kids Greater Sacramento Coalition
In recognition of her key efforts and support resulting in the passage of California's booster seat law in October 2011.
Chief John R. Batiste
Washington State Patrol
In recognition of his outstanding achievements in reducing traffic deaths in Washington State through the Target Zero Teams and your leadership in the fight against impaired driving.
State Senator Shirley Breeden
In recognition of her personal commitment to traffic safety, going beyond civic duty to protect motorists on Nevada roadways.
Executive Director, National Association of State EMS Officials
Falls Church, Virginia
In recognition of her outstanding national leadership in enhancing the collaboration among highway safety, public health, transportation, and emergency medical services.
Chief, Ground Safety 436 AW/SEG
Dover Air Force Base -- Wing Safety Office
Dover AFB, Delaware
In recognition of his leadership in stressing the importance of everyday traffic safety to a select group of young men who are difficult to reach.
Captain Bill Hisle
Shawnee, Kansas, Police Department
In recognition of his superior leadership and special dedication to advancing Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety initiative both regionally and nationally to reduce motor vehicle crashes and social harm in communities.
Corporate Owner of the Chuggington Children's TV and Web Media
New York, New York
In recognition of the outstanding contributions to the safety of children through the promotion of child safety seats, pedestrian safety, and bicycle safety.
Kenneth L. Morckel
Col. (Ret'd), Former Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety
In recognition of his lifelong dedication to public service and commitment to traffic safety.
Lowell M. Porter
Former Director, Washington State Traffic Safety Commission
Gig Harbor, Washington
In recognition of his lifelong leadership, commitment, and dedication to traffic safety.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
In recognition of the sorority's dedication and passion for traffic safety and for its efforts above and beyond the call of duty to educate African-American residents for over a decade about traffic safety.
Stephen K. Talpins
Chief Executive Officer
National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime
In recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contributions and dedication to law enforcement officers and prosecutors in removing impaired drivers from the highways.
State Senator John Tassoni
Rhode Island General Assembly
Providence, Rhode Island
In recognition of his perseverance toward enactment of a primary seat belt law to save lives and to prevent injuries from traffic crashes in Rhode Island.
Stewart Wang, M.D., Ph.D., FACS
Director, International Center for Automotive Medicine
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
In recognition of his ability to foster automotive innovations and to make cars safer.
State Representative Katherine M. Watson
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Warrington Township, Pennsylvania
In recognition of her leadership in enhancing teen driver safety and the safety of all highway users in the Keystone State.
State Representative Anastasia Williams
Rhode Island General Assembly
Providence, Rhode Island
In recognition of her perseverance toward enactment of a primary seat belt law to save lives and to prevent injuries from traffic crashes in Rhode Island.