FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher has been honored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for his leadership and commitment to saving lives and reducing injuries on Kentucky’s roadways. In 2006, the Governor led the charge for passage of a primary seatbelt law in Kentucky.
The special recognition was announced on March 28 during the 25th Annual Lifesavers Conference in Chicago, hosted by the NHTSA. Governor Fletcher was one of only 15 individuals and groups from across the nation to be honored for their achievements on behalf of highway safety.
“This is a great honor which I am pleased to share with all the courageous leaders in the Commonwealth who put political differences aside in the interest of saving lives,” said Governor Fletcher. “I am also grateful to the thousands of Kentuckians who worked at the grass roots level to ensure the success of our campaign for primary seatbelt legislation. It is clear to me that the single most important thing we can do to reduce fatalities and devastating injuries caused by vehicle crashes is to wear our seatbelts.”
“We are all joined by a common mission: to save lives and prevent traffic injuries,” said NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason, who presented the awards. “Thanks to initiative and dedication, it is a pleasure to work with state partners like Governor Ernie Fletcher to keep the roadways in states like Kentucky, safer.”
Kentucky highway fatalities dropped to a six year low last year. To date, 11 fewer lives have been lost on Kentucky roadways in 2007, compared to the same period in 2006. The primary seatbelt law is expected to save more than 60 lives in Kentucky over the course of a year.
“From the outset of the 2006 Kentucky legislative session, Governor Fletcher championed the primary seatbelt law,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. “No one is more deserving of this award than our Governor. He has consistently challenged us to find every way possible to improve highway safety in Kentucky.”
Early in his administration Governor Fletcher created the Governor’s Executive Committee on Highway Safety to act as one voice behind all highway safety initiatives in Kentucky. The group encompasses members from what’s commonly referred to as the “four Es” of highway safety: engineering, enforcement, education and emergency response. Last year, the Governor also established the Department of Transportation Safety within the Transportation Cabinet to further emphasize the administration’s commitment to making our road network safer.
“Governor Fletcher’s leadership was crucial for the passage of our primary seatbelt law, not to mention the graduated driver license and quick clearance legislation which will save lives too,” concluded Tim Hazlette, commissioner of the Department of Transportation Safety and Chairman of the Executive Committee. “The Governor is to be congratulated for this honor bestowed by the NHTSA. Few people in the nation are as genuinely committed to highway safety.”