Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate students Numan Ahmad, Mojdeh Azad, Amin Mohamadi Hezaveh, Nitesh Shah, and Zhihua Zhang were named 2019 Traffic Safety Scholars (TSS) and received a $1,000 scholarship award at the 37th annual National Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, held in Louisville, Kentucky, from March 30 to April 2. The students were five among 50 to be selected through a competitive essay application process where they explained how their study could help countries move closer to achieving the goal of zero fatalities on roadways.
Zhang said that the Lifesavers Conference is important because it brings together highway safety professionals as well as professionals from fields like engineering, public health, law enforcement, and education, all with the goal of improving traffic safety.
Shah added that it was motivating to know that road safety matters to a diverse group of professionals who consider it a serious and multifaceted problem. “There have been initiatives to reduce crashes and fatalities in the roadway, but we have learned from past experience that there is no simple approach,” he said.
All five Scholars from UT and their fellow Traffic Safety Scholars were honored at a pre-conference reception where they met with fellow scholars, Lifesavers Conference Planning Committee members, and traffic safety professionals representing government, NGOs, and the private sector. The keynote address was given by Elaine L. Chao, US Secretary of Transportation, during the opening plenary.
During the conference, the scholars had the opportunity to participate in more than 80 workshops on Adult Occupant Protection/Vehicle Technology, Aging Drivers, Communications, Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement, Distracted Driving, Evolving Safety Priorities & Solutions, Impaired Driving, Occupant Protection for Children, Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety, and Teen Traffic Safety.
“I was so honored to be selected to participate in this conference, said Azad. She said she appreciated the chance to present her study on the safety of Vulnerable Road Users along with other students who work on different safety-related topics.
“I believe occasions such as Lifesavers National conferences are an excellent opportunity for students to extend their networks,” said Hezaveh. “More importantly, being a recipient of the Traffic Safety Scholars encourages students to pursue their research and learn about the application of road safety research in real life problems.”