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.
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
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.
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.