Leanna Depue has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to highway safety and a personal passion for advancing traffic safety research. Now a consultant, Leanna is the former Director of the Highway Safety Division at the Missouri Department of Transportation, a position she held from 2005 until her retirement in 2015. During her tenure, she oversaw highway safety plans that helped reduce the number of fatalities by 40 percent and the number of serious injury crashes by 36 percent.
Leanna has been an active member of numerous highway safety groups and committees at the national, state, and local levels. She served as a member of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Board for several terms, chairing both the Strategic Planning Committee and Research Committee, serving on the Federal Relations Committee, and acting as GHSA Secretary in 2012. Not only did she lead the development of GHSA’s 2010-2015 strategic plan, she consulted in the development of the Association’s 2015-2020 strategic plan.
As the Research Committee chair and as a consultant, she helped guide GHSA’s research program and eventually was a key player in the transition of the program to the Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program (BTSCRP), now being managed in partnership with the Transportation Research Board.
In addition to her service for GHSA, she has also served on boards, committees, research panels and working groups for organizations such as AASHTO, the National Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders, the Federal Highway Administration, the Transportation Research Board, the National Safety Council, the National Research Council, Veterans of Safety, the National Conference on School Transportation, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and many others.
She has authored more than 10 research publications on a variety of highway safety topics. Leanna's comprehensive commitment to all areas of highway safety was similar to that of Kathy Swanson, and she embodies the ideals of this award.