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National Highway Safety Experts to Meet in Norfolk; Virginia Event to Focus on Strategies for Reducing Traffic Deaths


NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 26 -- Nationally known political analyst Dr. Larry Sabato will headline a prestigious group of speakers during the Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) annual meeting being held August 28-31 in Norfolk, Virginia. Approximately 400 of the country’s top highway safety experts and public health officials will explore ways to decrease fatalities on America’s highways. This year’s meeting, themed, Navigating the Crash Course, is particularly timely given that Congress recently passed a highway bill that provides a significant increase in funding for highway safety.

Called “America’s favorite political scientist” by the Fox News Channel, Dr. Sabato is the founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. He is the author of more than 20 books and essays about the American political process, including his most recent book, Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election. Dr. Sabato has appeared on national television news shows since the 1970s. According to the Wall Street Journal, he is “the most cited college professor in any field.”

During his opening session presentation on August 29, Dr. Sabato will discuss the role that politics played when Congress passed the highway bill at the end of July. This legislation took almost three years to pass. Sabato also will look into his “crystal ball” and share some thoughts on the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Monday’s opening session also will feature Virginia Governor Mark Warner’s Chief of Staff Bill Leighty. A state government veteran for almost 30 years, Leighty began working in the transportation sector in 1986 when he was tapped by Governor Gerald Baliles to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety. During his presentation, Leighty will review how safety programs have helped reduce Virginia’s highway fatalities two years in a row. He also will outline the success of Governor Mark Warner’s Task Force to Combat Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol.

On Tuesday, August 30, GHSA will present its national awards recognizing outstanding contributions to highway safety. Actress June Lockhart (“Lassie,” “Lost in Space”) will accept an award for her contribution to a public service campaign in Santa Monica, Calif.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall will deliver remarks during the national awards luncheon. A former state trooper, Marshall was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the United States Marshal for Virginia’s Eastern District. Marshall continues a family tradition of public service, as he is the son of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Other GHSA general session speakers include:

-- Jayne O’Donnell, auto safety reporter, USA Today

-- Rear Admiral Richard Brooks, commander, Naval Safety Center

-- Dr. Michael Meyer, professor, Georgia Institute of Technology -- School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jack Lettiere Jr., president, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

The GHSA meeting will feature a variety of workshops that focus on current highway safety issues. Workshop topics include:

-- Distracted Driving Laws: What are the Impacts?

-- What Do We Do About Pocket Bikes, Personal Conveyances and other Non-Traditional Vehicles?

-- New Ideas for Reducing Speed

-- Fatigue and Driver Safety: Latest Developments

-- What’s It Going to Take to Reduce Motorcycle Fatalities?

News media representatives may call GHSA Communications Director at or onsite in Norfolk at .


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