CHICAGO --- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced awards honoring 15 individuals and groups from across the nation for their achievements in highway safety. During a luncheon at the 25th Annual Lifesavers conference, NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason presented and honored the individuals with the public service awards for their work to reduce traffic deaths and injuries across the country. "We are all joined by a common mission: to save lives and prevent traffic injuries," said Nason. "Thanks to the initiative and dedication of everyone here today, our roadways are safer." More than 2,300 participants are attending this year’s three-day Lifesavers conference, which features 87 workshops and 105 exhibitors. The meeting focuses on common-sense solutions to critical highway safety issues and is considered the leading event of its kind in the United States. Topics being covered include child passenger safety, occupant protection, and new vehicle safety technology. The 15 individuals and organizations NHTSA Administrator Nason gave awards to are: • Gabrielle M. Abbate, executive director of Rhode Island Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in Providence, R.I., for her dedication in reducing alcohol-related fatalities and injuries in Rhode Island. • Representative John Ahern of the Washington State House of Representatives in Spokane, Wash., for outstanding leadership and efforts to make repeat drunk driving a felony crime in Washington. • American College of Surgeons/Committee on Trauma in Chicago in recognition of more than 50 years of leadership supporting excellence of care to injured patients by promoting improved emergency medical services and trauma systems. • Deborah Baer, president of the Maryland Child Passenger Safety Association in Pikesville, Maryland for her commitment to ensuring the safe transportation of Maryland's children. • Chicago Tribune for its outstanding year-long series about "Teens at the Wheel" and the Tribune's examination of ways to reverse the trend in teen fatalities. • Catherine Childers, director of Public Outreach in the Louisiana Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General in Baton Rouge, La., for exemplary service in reducing drunk driving through education of government leaders and the public. • Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher for his leadership and commitment to saving lives and reducing injuries in Kentucky by leading the charge for passage of the primary seat belt law. The primary law in Kentucky became effective July 12, 2006. • Peter J. Grady , traffic safety resource prosecutor, assistant attorney general in Des Moines, Iowa, for dedicating his time and talents to train Iowa's law enforcement officers and prosecutors and helping Iowa become a national leader in reducing impaired driving fatalities. • Dr. Dorothy Height, chair Emeritus, National Council of Negro Women in Washington, D.C., in recognition of her tireless efforts to engage African-American leaders in the movement to increase the use of seat belts and child safety seats among people of color. • Captain Charles Hirata, commander in Maui Police Department, Lahaina District, Lahaina, Hawaii., for his initiative and dedication to improving child passenger safety and traffic safety in Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. • Maureen McCormick, chief of the Vehicular Crimes Unit, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in Mineola, N.Y., in recognition of her diligent investigation and prosecution of vehicular crimes, training others in the field, and many other efforts on behalf of victims of DWI crashes. • Judge Anthony S. Montelione, retired presiding judge, Circuit Court of Cook County Fifth Municipal District, Bridgeview, Ill., for judicial leadership in progressive ways to address driving under the influence offenses. • Kevin O'Brien, director, Motor Carrier and Driver Safety Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, Albany, N.Y., for national leadership to prevent unsafe drivers from obtaining valid driver licenses. • Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White for leadership to enhance the Illinois graduated driver licensing program and combat teen driving fatalities and injuries. • Serious Traffic Offender Program (STOP), Rapid City Police Department, Rapid City, S.D., in recognition of the Rapid City Police Department's innovative program that reduces the number of crashes attributable to drivers with suspended or revoked licenses.

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