Two states were named recipients of the American Association of State Transportation Officials' 2012 Safety Leadership Award during the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh last week.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Minnesota Department of Transportation were chosen by the award committee for the award, which goes to a state that has demonstrated and championed actions that drive down serious injuries and fatalities on its highways. The award program is run through AASHTO's Standing Committee on Highway Traffic Safety.
"Congratulations to both these states in their efforts to prioritize safety for their state DOTs," said Tony Kane, AASHTO director of engineering and technical services. "Their commitment to overcome challenges and consistent high performance in the area of safety have meant significant decrease in their states' fatalities and serious injuries and truly made them winners."
MassDOT was chosen for its "clear evidence of good results and strong leadership." MassDOT also broke through challenges to obligate Highway Safety Improvement Program funds, making a significant change in their safety program. MassDOT also worked with other agencies to bring about work zone enforcement, data improvements, and use of road safety audits. The focus on safety culture both with employee practices and project-related issues, combined with the strategies and practices named above, have made the department a leader in safety.
MnDOT became an early leader in Strategic Highway Safety Plan development and implementation and has continued to demonstrate progressive approaches to comprehensive safety programs while adopting policies for systematic use of low-cost countermeasures and testing of crash prevention technologies. Supporting research to improve teen driver safety and emergency medical response to crashes has also helped to make MnDOT a safety leader.
In order to win AASHTO's Safety Leadership Award, states must have a Strategic Highway Safety Plan in place and participate in AASHTO, Transportation Research Board/National Cooperative Highway Research Program, or Federal Highway Administration safety-related committees, as well as panels and/or programs. The judges also look for strong partnerships between state and local governments as well as the establishment of aggressive safety targets to reduce fatalities and serious injuries through five-year averages.
Additional information on AASHTO's Safety Leadership Award is available at bit.ly/safetyaward2012.