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CEE Students Named 2018 Lifesavers Traffic Safety Scholars

The University of Tennessee Knoxville graduate students Alexandra “Ali” Boggs and Meng Zhang were named 2018 Traffic Safety Scholars (TSS) and received an award of a $1,000 scholarship at the 36th annual National Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, held in San Antonio, Texas, from April 20-24. Boggs is pursuing the doctoral degree and Zhang got the doctoral degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. They are selected through writing competitive essay which address the problem of roadway crashes.

“As a second-year TSS, I was able to expand my knowledge on innovative methods to combat transportation safety-related issues,” Boggs said. She went on to say that the keynote speaker, Deborah Hersman of the National Safety Council, gave a powerful and moving presentation to the attendees of enforcers, researchers, and students that illustrated that our work to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries truly matters. It was an honor to present my research on the shortage of truck parking and its related safety implications to the attendees of the Lifesavers Conference.

“It was a wonderful experience being involved in the Lifesavers conference,” said Zhang. “The Lifesavers conference provided a good opportunity for me to communicate with professionals in transportation field, especially from the practical aspect.” She said, “The human error, as a key contributing factor to roadway safety, can be reduced through the proper applications, including advanced technologies, education, and law enforcement.”

This was the third year of the Traffic Safety Scholars program, which provides college students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees the opportunity to attend the Lifesavers Conference, the largest gathering of traffic safety professionals in the U.S. The goal of the TSS program is to showcase the diversity of opportunities in traffic safety and encourage students, regardless of discipline, to pursue a career in a dynamic field that draws from a variety disciplines from engineering, education and enforcement to communications, business, marketing, medicine, public health, political science, counseling, and more.

Boggs, Zhang and their fellow Traffic Safety Scholars were honored at a pre-conference reception on April 21 in San Antonio where they were welcomed by Terry Pence, Traffic Safety Director for the Texas Department of Transportation; Erin Sauber-Schatz, Leader of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Transportation Safety Team; and John Ulczycki, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for LMG Holdings, Inc. and Chairman of the Lifesavers Board of Directors. The Scholars had the opportunity to participate in three plenary sessions and more than 80 workshops featuring leading experts in the field of distracted and impaired driving and walking; child passenger, pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle, teen, and older driver safety; adult occupant protection; vehicle technology; law enforcement; commercial vehicles; roadway design; and more.