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NHTSA Recognizes Traffic Safety Advocates at Annual Lifesavers Conference

| Denver, CO

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman today honored six individuals and five organizations with 2024 NHTSA Public Service Awards during the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities. The conference, held this year in Denver, is the largest annual gathering of traffic safety professionals in the United States.

“These awards celebrate the hardworking public servants and community members who make our cities and states safer places to live, work and play,” Deputy Administrator Shulman said. “It’s an honor to congratulate these difference makers for their inspirational, lifesaving achievements.”

NHTSA plays a key part in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy launched in early 2022, which is a comprehensive approach to significantly reduce serious injuries and deaths on our roads. The NRSS not only outlines efforts at the U.S. DOT, but it also calls on partners across communities—including in the public and private sectors, and in advocacy and research—to join the efforts to bring the number of traffic deaths to zero.

Awardees received plaques with the following citations:

Bala Akundi (Lifetime Achievement awarded posthumously to Mrs. Shailaja Somaraju)
Baltimore Metropolitan Council 
Citation: For his tireless work in improving safety on Maryland’s roadways.

Mandy Büttgen-Quinn  
Public Works Department, Traffic Engineering Division  
Springfield, Missouri
Citation: For your inspiring work to advance pedestrian safety in Springfield and beyond.

Marielena Gutierrez
Georgia Safe Routes to School Coordinator 
Citation: For your work to ensure that all students can walk, bike, or ride safely to school.

Grease Monkey Oil Change Centers
Pocatello, Idaho 
Citation: For your innovative work in ensuring that all children in Idaho are safe on the road.

Captain John Hotz 
Missouri State Patrol 
Jefferson City, Missouri
Citation: For your efforts in bringing communities together to save lives on Missouri’s roadways.

Jackson State University Youth Highway Safety Programs
Jackson, Mississippi
Citation: For your tireless dedication to educating and protecting the next generation of Mississippi drivers.

New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services
Citation: For your efforts to keep the City of New York’s fleet drivers and vulnerable road users safe.

North Dakota Primary Seatbelt Law Priority Emphasis Area Team
Bismarck, North Dakota
Citation: In recognition of your dedication and success in passing a primary seat belt law for the State of North Dakota.

John Paul (Lifetime Achievement)  
Senior Manager of Traffic Safety, AAA Northeast
Providence, Rhode Island 
Citation: For your lifetime of dedication to keeping all road users safe in New England and across the country.

Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) Program
California Department of Beverage Control
Sacramento, California
Citation: In recognition of your work to prevent impaired-driving fatalities through robust data collection and information sharing.

Jun Yang 
Homeless Coordinator, Hawaii DOT
Citation: For your efforts to keep the State of Hawaii’s vulnerable road users safe.

NHTSA 202-366-9550