The Minnesota Department of Transportation has won a 2012 Safety Leadership Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials  (ASSHTO).

ASSHTO officials lauded MnDOT for its efforts to drive down seriouis injuries and fatalities on state highways when presenting the award during its annual meeting held Thanksgiving week in Pittsburgh. They also recognized the Massachusetts Department of Transportation with the award.

"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," said Tony Kane, director of engineering and technical service for the nonprofit association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

MnDOT was chosen for its progressive approaches to comprehensive safety programs and testing crash prevention technologies. Its suport for research to improve teen driver safety and emergency medical response to crashes has helped to make MnDOT a safety leader, the association said.

To win the award, AASHTO looks for states that have a Strategic Highway Safety Plan in place and aggressive safety targets to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.

Minnesota has done both. MnDOT and other agencies such as the Department of Public Safety worked on producing the state's Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan in 2004. Since the plan was implemented, the number of traffic fatalities annually on state roads has fallen from 657 in 2002 to 368 last year.

This is the second time MnDOT has won the honor.




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