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The James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award Winners

The James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award honors an individual for sustained, outstanding leadership in endeavors that significantly improve highway safety on a national level.

About James J. Howard


David A. Sleet

David A. Sleet, Ph.D.—Dr. David Sleet is the Associate Director for Science with the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is responsible for bringing the public health and behavioral science approach to traffic safety. Dr. Sleet's research has led to such achievements as improved child passenger safety laws, the nationwide adoption of the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration standard and the classification of alcohol-impaired driving as "child endangerment" in many states. Learn More


James Fell

James Fell—A senior scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Fell played an instrumental role in bringing about one of the most remarkable U.S. traffic safety achievements: the reduction of alcohol-related fatal crashes by one third between 1982 and 1995. Over the course of his 45-year career, Fell has worked to help researchers, activists and policy makers design, implement and evaluate programs and policies to reduce drinking and driving in the United States. Learn More


Honorable Kathleen Rice

Honorable Kathleen Rice—A law enforcement official and fearless innovator, the Honorable Kathleen Rice, District Attorney for Nassau County, New York, has used her position for the last eight-and-a-half years to advance highway safety at every level and through all the means at her disposal: spearheading prevention programs, legislation, training, and bold, high profile prosecutions that have received national attention. Learn More


Dr. James Hedlund

Dr. James Hedlund—Follow the data, follow the science. That aptly describes Dr. James “Jim” Hedlund’s highway safety philosophy, which he has honed over the past 37 years. A mathematician by training, Jim is skilled at taking complex, sometimes abstract problems and boiling them down into understandable parts. Learn More


John Lacey
John Lacey—In his more than 40 years of program implementation, project evaluation and policy advocacy, John Lacey has been a true highway safety trailblazer. While he is best known for his research and evaluation of programs to reduce alcohol-impaired driving, he has also conducted pioneering studies in other areas of highway safety. Learn More


Dr. Herb Simpson
Dr. Herb Simpson—The 2011 James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award is presented posthumously to Dr. Herb Simpson for his outstanding contributions to the field of highway safety through his groundbreaking research. Dr. Simpson served as President and CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) from 1975 to 2006.

Despite significant health challenges, he continued to contribute to research and mentor staff as Senior Research and Policy Consultant, until his untimely death at the age of 71 on April 25, 2011. Learn More


Chuck Hurley
Chuck Hurley—Charles "Chuck" Hurley is the recipient of the 2010 James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award.

During his more than 30-year career, he has become one of the most recognized highway safety advocates in the country, pushing for comprehensive safety legislation on various highway safety issues such as: improved driving laws; the installation of air bags in automobiles; strong seat belt and speeding laws; safer automobile designs; and child passenger safety at both the state and national levels. Learn More


Sen. John J. Cullerton
Senator John J. Cullerton—Illinois Senator John J. Cullerton is the recipient of the 2009 James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award.

Throughout his 30-year career in the Illinois State Legislature, Senator Cullerton has amassed a traffic safety record that likely surpasses that of any state legislator in the nation. He has led the effort in the state to enact safety legislation on a variety of issues, including: child passenger safety; primary seat belt use; mandatory motorcycle helmet use; .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC); graduated licensing; and ignition interlocks. Learn More


Lt. Col. James E. Champagne
Lt. Col. James E. Champagne—In his more than 40-year career, Jim Champagne has brought unmatched commitment, passion and zeal to highway safety.As a state trooper, in various positions in the Louisiana State Police leadership, as the state’s Governor’s Highway Safety Representative (GR) and as chairman of GHSA, Champagne’s dedication and perseverance have resulted in countless lives being saved. Learn More


Robert B. Voas, Ph.D.
Robert B. Voas, Ph.D.—One of the most well-respected and influential traffic safety researchers in the country, Dr. Voas' research projects have included national studies of the effect of .08 BAC law, zero-tolerance laws, vehicle sanction laws, alcohol ignition interlock laws, and studies of underage binge drinkers crossing the border to drink in Tijuana, where the drinking age is 18. He recently completed a national study of differences between ethnic groups in their involvement in alcohol-related fatal crashes. Learn More


Senator Ben Brown
Senator Ben Brown—Senator Ben Brown has been instrumental in reducing deaths and injuries on Oklahoma's roadways. His work began in 1981 when the people elected him to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. In 1985, Senator Brown was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate, serving 16 years before accepting the position of Deputy Commissioner of Substance Abuse Services at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Learn More


Dr. Marilyn Bull
Dr. Marilyn Bull—Dr. Marilyn Bull has fought for the most vulnerable occupants of our roadways—children with special needs. Without her unfailing dedication to a small and previously overlooked area of highway safety, it is unlikely that such improvements would have ever been made. Learn More


James Nichols
James Nichols—Dr. James Nichols is one of those rare individuals who has devoted his life to highway safety.

He has established and implemented numerous highway safety programs and is responsible for advancements in technology and research throughout his career with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These contributions have allowed the federal and state governments to dramatically improve highway safety. Learn More