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NHTSA 06-07
Monday, March 26, 2007
Contact: Heather Hopkins
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

NHTSA Presents Awards for Safety Achievements and Public Service

CHICAGO, IL. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced awards honoring 15 individuals and groups from across the nation for their achievements in highway safety. During a luncheon at the 25th Annual Lifesavers conference, NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason presented and honored the individuals with the public service awards for their work to reduce traffic deaths and injuries across the country.

“We are all joined by a common mission: to save lives and prevent traffic injuries,” said Administrator Nason. “Thanks to the initiative and dedication of everyone here today, our roadways are safer.”

More than 2,300 participants are attending this year’s three-day Lifesavers conference, which features 87 workshops and 105 exhibitors. The meeting focuses on common-sense solutions to critical highway safety issues and is considered the leading event of its kind in the United States. Topics being covered include child passenger safety, occupant protection, and new vehicle safety technology.

The 15 individuals and organizations NHTSA Administrator Nason gave awards to are:

• Gabrielle M. Abbate, Executive Director, Rhode Island Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Providence, Rhode Island, for her dedication in reducing alcohol-related fatalities and injuries in the State of Rhode Island.

• Representative John Ahern, Washington State House of Representatives, Spokane, Washington, for outstanding leadership and efforts to make repeat drunk driving a felony crime in Washington State

• American College of Surgeons/Committee on Trauma, Chicago, Illinois, in recognition of more than 50 years of leadership supporting excellence of care to injured patients by promoting improved emergency medical services and trauma systems.

• Deborah Baer, President, Maryland Child Passenger Safety Association, Pikesville, Maryland, for her commitment to ensuring the safe transportation of Maryland’s children.

• Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, for the outstanding year-long series about “Teens at the Wheel” and the Tribune’s examination of ways to reverse the trend in teen fatalities.

• Catherine Childers, Director, Public Outreach, Louisiana Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for exemplary service in reducing drunk driving through education of government leaders and the public.

• Governor Ernie Fletcher, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Frankfort, Kentucky, for his leadership and commitment to saving lives and reducing injuries in the Commonwealth of Kentucky by leading the charge for passage of the primary seat belt law. The primary law in Kentucky became effective July 12, 2006.

• Peter J. Grady, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General, Des Moines, Iowa, for dedicating his time and talents to train Iowa’s law enforcement officers and prosecutors and helping Iowa become a national leader in reducing impaired driving fatalities.

• Dr. Dorothy Height, Chair Emeritus, National Council of Negro Women, Washington, D.C., in recognition of her tireless efforts to engage African-American leaders in the movement to increase the use of seat belts and child safety seats among people of color.

• Captain Charles Hirata, Commander, Maui Police Department, Lahaina District, Lahaina, Hawaii, for his initiative and dedication to improving child passenger safety and traffic safety in the State of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.

• Maureen McCormick, Chief, Vehicular Crimes Unit, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Mineola, New York, in recognition of her diligent investigation and prosecution of vehicular crimes, training others in the field, and many other efforts on behalf of victims of DWI crashes.

• Judge Anthony S. Montelione, Retired Presiding Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County Fifth Municipal District, Bridgeview, Illinois, for judicial leadership in progressive ways to address driving under the influence offenses.

• Kevin O’Brien, Director, Motor Carrier and Driver Safety Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, Albany, New York, for national leadership to prevent unsafe drivers from obtaining valid driver licenses.

• Secretary of State Jesse White, State of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, for leadership to enhance the Illinois graduated driver licensing program and combat teen driving fatalities and injuries.

• Serious Traffic Offender Program (STOP), Rapid City Police Department, Rapid City, South Dakota, in recognition of the Rapid City Police Department’s innovative program that reduces the number of crashes attributable to drivers with suspended or revoked licenses.