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Summer 2007 | Vol. 10 | No. 2
Highway Safety Awards to be Presented in Portland
One of the highlights of the GHSA Annual Meeting will be the presentation of the Association's highway safety awards at a luncheon on Tuesday, September 25. GHSA will award its highest honor, the James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award, to one recipient and present five Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards.
The 2007 winner of the Howard Award is Dr. Robert Voas, one of the most well-respected and influential traffic safety researchers in the country.
Throughout his career, Dr. Voas' research projects have included national studies of the effect of .08 BAC laws, zero-tolerance laws, vehicle sanction laws, alcohol ignition laws and studies of underage binge drinking. He was one of the first research scientists to translate his research into practice. Whenever his research indicated a positive effect on impaired driving, he worked hard to get the strategy, the law or the program implemented in states and communities. The results of much of Dr. Voas' research correlate with a reduction in impaired driving in America. He has shown the courage, competence and leadership to make a demonstrated difference in highway safety and is certainly deserving of GHSA's highest honor.
Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards will be presented to the following:
- The Century Council, for the development of the first of its kind judicial education project to help judges effectively adjudicate hardcore drunk driver cases. This program has helped fill a gap in knowledge of the complexities of impaired driving cases.
- Marshall Jespersen, trustee of the Massachusetts Auto Dealers Charitable Foundation, for his dramatic expansion of the SkidSchool Advanced Driver Training program. This school, which is offered at a discount due to auto dealer contributions, teaches true-to-life defensive driving and has been available to many more teens as a result of Jespersen's effort. Additionally, Jespersen has been active in helping to strengthen the state's graduated licensing laws.
- Governor Ernest L. Fletcher of Kentucky, for his highway leadership in the state. Under his guidance, the state has passed a primary seat belt law, strengthened its graduated licensing law and further coordinated the state agencies that address highway safety.
- The highway safety office in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and Pennsylvania for the Smooth Operator Program. This effort throughout the Mid-Atlantic region has responded to aggressive drivers through news media efforts, a public education and awareness campaign, and increased law enforcement and engineering activities. Evaluation of the program has shown that messages on aggressive driving and speeding produced a 35 percent increase in driver awareness among the target audience. Additionally, after enforcement waves, fewer motorists reported that they drove aggressively by committing acts such as speeding or cutting in front of other cars.
- Fresno Police Department Traffic Enforcement Bureau, for its Help Eliminate Alcohol Re-Offender Team (H.E.A.R.T) effort. The program consists of a multi-faceted effort, including bar stings, courtroom stings and aggressive use of sobriety checkpoints. Since the program's inception in 2003, there has been a 60 percent decline in alcohol-related fatalities and a 12 percent reduction in alcoholrelated injuries in Fresno.