HSRC Child Passenger Safety Expert Bill Hall Receives Governors Highway Safety Association Award

Bill Hall accepting his award at the 2017 GHSA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2017) – Today, the Governors Highway Safety Association presented one of its most prestigious honors, the 2017 Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award, to long-time University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center child passenger safety advocate, Bill Hall. Hall received the award at the Highway Safety Awards luncheon today at the 2017 GHSA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky.

Bill Hall was selected as one of two recipients of the 2017 Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award for his dedicated service to child passenger safety. His contributions span a 40-year career at HSRC as an expert in child restraints, safety belts, airbags, and occupant restraint issues.

“Child passenger safety is one of our biggest safety success stories, due in large part due to the work of Bill Hall,” said Jonathon Adkins, GHSA Executive Director. “His passion for keeping kids safe in vehicles has undoubtedly saved many lives in North Carolina and across the country. We are proud to be able to recognize his service.”

“Over the course of his 40-year career, Bill’s efforts have protected a generation of children who grew up riding safely in the car,” said David Harkey, director of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. “Bill’s contributions to road safety are present every day when children travel safely restrained in cars.”

When Hall began his career in the late 1970s, seat belts had only been required in vehicles for a decade, and child car seats were just starting to become commercially available. Hall’s early work, funded by the North Carolina Governors Highway Safety Program, focused on educating parents about the benefits of car seats in an effort to encourage their use. Hall and a team of HSRC staff traveled across the state of North Carolina talking to physicians, nurses, and parent groups about the importance of protecting children in cars. This grassroots work led to support for North Carolina’s first-ever child passenger safety law passed in 1981. And, by extension, resulted in child passenger laws being enacted in all states across the nation.

Hall served as a founding member of the National Child Passenger Safety Board and helped develop the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Standardized Child Passenger Safety Technical Training” certification curriculum for child passenger safety advocates and educators. Today, more than 142,000 individuals nationwide have successfully completed the program.

Hall’s commitment to making sure every single child is safe has always been a personal one. He is responsible for establishing a North Carolina toll-free number that anyone in the state can use to ask questions about car seats and seat belts. Over the decades, Hall has personally answered thousands of questions through this phone line. In the early days of child passenger safety, Hall spent many afternoons upside-down in car trunks installing tether anchors for child seats, and, to this day, he can still be found in the community helping parents and other caregivers install seats and educating the community on best practices.

In addition to improvements for child safety, Hall has also been involved in some of the most influential passenger safety programs in the country. Hall’s work on the “Click It Or Ticket” campaign, started in North Carolina, became a nationwide success and has contributed significantly to the high seat belt use rates seen throughout the country.

Along with Hall’s recognition, the HSRC-led Watch for Me NC program, funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, will be recognized with the 2017 Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award. To learn more about the Governors Highway Safety Association and the awards program, visit http://www.ghsa.org/about/safety-awards.

 About the UNC Highway Safety Research Center

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center is working hard to help shape the field of transportation safety. HSRC is committed to excellence in sound research, and safety is the preeminent goal – every day and in every project staff undertakes. Birthplace of innovative national programs like Click It or Ticket, graduated driver licensing and Walk to School Day, the center’s mission is to improve the safety, sustainability and efficiency of all surface transportation modes through a balanced, interdisciplinary program of research, evaluation and information dissemination. Learn more at www.hsrc.unc.edu.