GHSA Presents 2008 Highway Safety Awards
The Governors Highway Safety Association presented its 2008 highway safety awards on Tuesday during its annual meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. Seat belt proponents, state leaders, and effective state programs were honored. Separately, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that Alaska on Sept. 1 became the fifth U.S. state to ban text messaging by vehicle drivers. (The others are Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington.)
The top GHSA award, the James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award, went to Lt. Col. James E. Champagne of Baton Rouge. Champagne had a 20-year career as a Louisiana state trooper before becoming executive director of the state's highway safety commission, according to GHSA. He was the association's chairman in 2004-06, focusing on drunken driving, speeding, and motorcycle helmet issues. The inaugural Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award went to Philip W. Haseltine of Arlington, Va. He has served as chief of Michigan's highway safety office, chief of staff for the U.S. secretary of Transportation, head of the Automobile Coalition for Traffic Safety, and head of the National Safety Council's Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign.
GHSA gave Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards to California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow for his development of the Prepare, Understand, Respond, Stop, Utilize and Examine (P.U.R.S.U.E.) video, which offers guidance to police officers on why agencies should establish a formal pursuit policy; Safe Kids Buckle Up, a child safety seat inspection program from Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors; the Pennsylvania Occupant Protection Program, which raised the state's seat belt usage rate to 86.7 percent in 2007; Utah's E.A.S.Y. -- ParentsEmpowered.org program, which has curbed underage drinking in Utah through community mobilization; and West Virginia's LifeSavers Program, which cost effectively provides incentives to law enforcement officers to improve seat belt use.