David Harkey speaks at an IIHS event in August. Photo courtesy of IIHS.

David Harkey speaks at an IIHS event in August. Photo courtesy of IIHS.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute announced that David L. Harkey will become president of the two traffic safety research groups in January of next year.

Harkey will succeed Adrian K. Lund, who is retiring after serving as IIHS-HLDI president since 2006.

Harkey, 54, has directed the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center since 2006 and has more than 30 years of experience in road safety research. As an engineer, he has focused the majority of his work on improving roadway design and operations for all road users, including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Harkey has collaborated with IIHS researchers on past projects. In August, he was the keynote speaker at the institute’s second roundtable discussion on the problem of large truck underride crashes.

The work of the two institutes, supported by insurers, has played an instrumental role in making highways and vehicles safer. IIHS research has helped lead to stricter laws on a range of issues including alcohol-impaired driving and graduated licensing for teen drivers. IIHS is a leader in testing and evaluating vehicle crashworthiness and new crash avoidance technologies.

“Our roads and vehicles are much safer today because of the strong and internationally respected work of IIHS and HLDI,” Harkey said. “Even with so much progress, it is unacceptable that nearly 100 lives are still lost in crashes every day. As we work with our safety partners toward the goal of zero crash deaths, we will continue to conduct high-quality research about ways to reduce crashes and the deaths, injuries and property damage that result from them.”