National Highway Safety Awards Presented in Nashville

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News Releases

September 1, 2015

Contact: Kara Macek,
202-789-0942 x140

National Highway Safety Awards Presented in Nashville

Traffic Fatality Researcher, Former GHSA Leader and 
Five Innovative Programs Honored

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Today, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) presented its 2015 highway safety awards to two individuals who have made a national impact on improving highway safety and five programs focusing on the nation’s most pressing highway safety challenges at a luncheon as part of its Annual Meeting in Nashville. The Allstate Foundation ( and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( sponsored the luncheon.

GHSA presented its most prestigious honor, the James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award, to James Fell, senior scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, who played an instrumental role in bringing about one of the most remarkable U.S. traffic safety achievements: the reduction of alcohol-related fatal crashes by one third between 1982 and 1995. Over the course of his 45-year career, Fell has worked to help researchers, activists and policy makers design, implement and evaluate programs and policies to reduce drinking and driving in the United States.

The Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award was presented to former GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha, who led the headquarters office for 25 years, from 1988 until her retirement in 2013. Harsha worked tirelessly to support state highway safety directors and their staffs to ensure that states had the tools, resources and data needed to develop their lifesaving programs and transitioned GHSA into an organization that focused on improving the skills and building the capacity of its membership. She developed close working relationships with her colleagues in the federal, state and private sector and became a trusted leader and mentor to hundreds of highway safety directors throughout her career.

GHSA also presented five Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Awards for outstanding highway safety accomplishments during the previous calendar year to the following programs:

  • ADEPT Driver teenSMART® Program, a computer-based training program that uses neurocognitive training to improve crash avoidance skills in teenage drivers. The program has been vetted independently by dozens of insurance actuaries over a 15-year period and repeatedly has been found to reduce driver crashes and the severity of crashes by 23-35 percent. The program is approved for insurance discounts in 49 states. More than 30,000 teens received teenSMART training in 2014, and over 400,000 teens have been trained nationally since 2000.
  • California Highway Patrol Safety and Farm Labor Vehicle Education Program, an effort to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities attributed to farm labor vehicles (FLVs) in California through a multifaceted traffic safety strategy of vehicle certification, enforcement, inspection and outreach. Prior to the start of the program, in 1999, there were 37 fatalities resulting from a combination of FLVs and the other involved vehicles. Since program’s inception in 2000, hundreds of unsafe vehicles have been removed from service, and these sustained efforts have resulted in zero fatalities from collisions where a certified FLV was at fault.  
  • Ocean City Police Department Walk Smart Program, a collaborative approach to reducing the number of pedestrian crashes in a Maryland beachfront community. The program includes engineering countermeasures to enhance safety, an extensive public education and outreach program and aggressive enforcement of pedestrian safety laws for both drivers and pedestrians. In the first year of the program’s implementation, Ocean City saw a 52 percent reduction in total pedestrian crashes and a 73 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes on state roads.
  • Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe (B.R.A.K.E.S.), an organization founded in North Carolina by NHRA drag racing star Doug Herbert in the wake of the tragic loss of his two young sons in a highway crash in 2008. The organization provides free advanced driver’s education through its Teen Pro-Active Driving Course program. The program teaches steering control, as well as focus, recovery and panic exercises to help teach the skills necessary to maintain control in a variety of conditions. In 2014, B.R.A.K.E.S. conducted 104 classes and trained 3,253 teens to be safer, more responsible drivers. Since the program’s inception, more than 15,000 teenagers and their parents from 30 states and two countries have attended the B.R.A.K.E.S. program.
  • Virginia Highway Safety Office Traffic Records Electronic Data System Ignition Interlock Project, an effort to standardize and automate the statewide ignition interlock workflow in the wake of the passage of the commonwealth’s all-offender ignition interlock legislation in 2012 that saw ignition interlock installations increase 87 percent. The system provides for automated collection and tracking of interlock installs, system alerts at various levels of the case lifecycle, centralized data access for all 24 local Alcohol Safety Action Programs and the four interlock vendors, DUI offender data for analysis and interlock vendor data downloads.

More information can be found at To request a photo from the awards presentation, contact Kara Macek at, or call 202-262-4889. The full GHSA Annual Meeting schedule is available online.

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About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

About The Allstate Foundation
Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity. With a focus on building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, empowering youth and celebrating the charitable community involvement of Allstate agency owners and employees, The Allstate Foundation works to bring out the good in people’s lives. For more information, visit

About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( is a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by distillers to promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol. For more information, go to