The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week recognized 4th District state Sen. Mike Padden with its highest public-service award for his “tireless and unending work to end tragedies related to alcohol abuse and DUI.”
NHTSA’s acting chief, David Friedman, announced the honor for Padden during the 32nd annual Lifesavers conference being held in Nashville, Tenn. The award is named for the event, which brings U.S. highway-safety professionals together yearly.
“Safety is our top priority, and NHTSA has worked hard to reduce roadway fatalities to historic lows, but we can’t do this alone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, in a statement regarding the top honor bestowed on Padden and 11 other people or organizations this year.
“Having worked with NHTSA and knowing about the great work being done around our nation in the name of highway safety, I am honored that our efforts to make Washington roads safer are being recognized,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley.
Between his retirement from the Spokane County District Court bench in 2007 and being elected to the state Senate in late 2011, Padden was the federal agency’s judicial-outreach liaison to Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Alaska.
Padden did not attend the conference; accepting the award on his behalf was Staci Hoff, head of research for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
As chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, and using his 12 years’ experience as a judge, Padden spearheaded the successful 2013 drive to significantly strengthen Washington’s laws against driving under the influence. That effort centered on legislation Padden introduced (Senate Bill 5912) and was aimed at reducing the number of repeat DUI offenses.
This year Padden continued his anti-DUI work, proposing changes in law based on recommendations from a workgroup on impaired-driving he co-chaired during the second part of 2013.
“Today’s award recipients represent the full spectrum of dedicated public servants who help us improve safety each and every day across the country. We thank them for their service, for the difference they have made and the example they are setting for others,” Foxx said.