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NSC announces 2013 Excellence in Highway Safety award winners

Lawmakers championed inclusion of key incentive grant provisions in MAP-21 legislation

ITASCA, Ill., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Safety Council today announced it plans to present its Excellence in Highway Safety award to two U.S. senators and two U.S. congressmen for their leadership in teen driving and distracted driving. NSC will recognize Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) for leading efforts to include state Graduated Driver Licensing and distracted driving incentive grant provisions in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). President Barack Obama signed MAP-21 into law last July.

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"We are grateful to Sen. Gillibrand, Sen. Rockefeller, Rep. Bishop and Rep. Hultgren for recognizing the need for including incentives for states to strengthen their Graduated Driver Licensing and distracted driving laws," said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO at NSC. "We are proud to present our Excellence in Highway Safety awards to lawmakers who took action on these important issues."

MAP-21 is a two-year reauthorization of surface transportation programs. The bill was the first multi-year transportation authorization enacted since 2005, and it will provide more than $105 billion to fund surface transportation programs in 2013 and 2014. Funds from the previous bill ended in 2009 when the bill expired, but had been extended nine times.

NSC supports Graduated Driver Licensing systems because they reduce crashes involving teen drivers by as much as 40 percent. Every state and D.C. has some form of GDL, although no state has all seven elements recommended by NSC. Advocating for strong laws to combat cell phone distracted driving also is a top priority for NSC. In 2009, NSC called for a total ban on all driver cell phone use – handheld and hands-free – after more than 30 research studies established the significant risk of handheld and hands-free cell phone use while driving.

This will be the second Excellence in Highway Safety Award for Rep. Hultgren, who also was recognized in 2003 for his sponsorship of the first Illinois teen driving passenger restriction law. Excellence in Highway Safety Awards have been presented to cabinet members, U.S. senators and representatives, governors, state legislators, law enforcement leaders and others over the years. Past honorees include President Obama, who was recognized in 2003 when, as an Illinois state senator, he co-sponsored the state's primary seat belt law.

Sen. Gillibrand, Sen. Rockefeller, Rep. Bishop and Rep. Hultgren will be formally presented with the award in the near future on Capitol Hill.

About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety and safety beyond the workplace.

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SOURCE National Safety Council

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