The James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award is GHSA's highest award. The award honors an individual for sustained, outstanding leadership in endeavors that significantly improve highway safety. The recipient of this award must have undertaken a concerted, long-term effort to make our nation’s highways safer and made a significant contribution to the field of highway safety. The recipient must have established and implemented programs or been responsible for notable advancements in technology or research throughout the years that yielded a demonstrated national safety impact.
Nominations for the 2023 Howard Award closed in March. The award will be presented during the GHSA 2023 Annual Meeting in New York City.
About James J. Howard (1927–1988)
The career of Representative James J. Howard (D-NJ) was distinguished by his steadfast commitment to highway safety issues. First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964, Howard — who came to be known as "Mr. Highway Safety" — was named Chair of the Public Works and Transportation Committee in 1980. He had previously chaired the Public Works Energy Subcommittee where, in 1974, he introduced the idea of a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit. In addition, Howard authored an innovative coordinated surface transportation policy and program.
Howard's other notable, enduring contributions to the fight for enhanced highway safety include sponsorship of a myriad of bills, including the following:
- The Howard-Barnes anti-drunk driving legislation (1982)
- The Child Restraint Law (1984), which increased funding for state child passenger safety programs
- Legislation establishing a uniform minimum drinking age of 21 (1984)
- The National Driver's Register (1982)
- The Motor Carrier Act (1980), which was the first regulatory reform of the trucking industry in half a century that, among other things, increased federal aid for truck safety programs
Debbie Hersman is a visionary and pioneering advocate for highway safety who has dedicated her professional career to saving lives across all modes of transportation.
Fred Manocherian is a pioneering and relentless national advocate for highway safety. Next year marks the 60th anniversary of his founding of the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF), whose mission is to educate people of all ages about the risks of dangerous driving behaviors.
Candace Lightner has devoted her life to traffic safety. Her commitment arose from heartbreaking circumstances, when her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a chronically drunk driver while walking to a church carnival with a friend.