Sandt and Mozingo Named Co-Directors of UNC Highway Safety Research Center
CHAPEL HILL, NC (November 8, 2023) — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) announced today that Laura Sandt, Ph.D., and Caroline Mozingo have been named permanent co-directors of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC). Their appointments represent the fifth leadership change in HSRC’s nearly 60 years of operation, and the co-director structure is a first of its kind for the Center. Sandt and Mozingo will join forces to lead Center efforts to improve the safety, sustainability, and efficiency of all surface roadway transportation modes.
“To their new roles, Sandt and Mozingo bring a combined 33 years of experience in overseeing and driving success in HSRC research, outreach, and operations,” said Penny Gordon-Larsen, UNC-CH Vice Chancellor for Research. “This leadership has resulted in growth of the center’s $7 million in annual research activity, resulting in more robust road safety research and education in North Carolina.”
Gordon-Larsen continued, “The impact of this work often extends nationally and globally, supporting new policies that make transportation safer everywhere. Thanks to the efforts of the researchers, students, and staff of the HSRC — the only transportation center in the country focused solely on highway safety — being on the road today is much safer than it was when the center was founded more than 50 years ago.”
As the new, permanent leaders of HSRC, Sandt and Mozingo will equally share overall oversight and managerial responsibility, including activities related to financial management, human resources, strategic planning, and coordination with UNC leadership. Other areas will be divided, with Sandt serving as Co-Director, Research Strategy and Implementation, and Mozingo serving as Co-Director, Strategic Communications, Partnerships, and Operations. Sandt and Mozingo have worked together for more than 13 years, including the last two years when they both served as interim co-directors.
“I came to HSRC as a graduate student in 2004 and was fortunate to be mentored by some of the most brilliant transportation safety researchers in the field whose impact on safety practices continues today,” said Sandt. “In this new role, I’m excited to build upon HSRC’s great legacy and work with the next generation of transportation safety researchers. We have rapidly evolving challenges in road safety, and HSRC is the perfect place for cultivating innovative research that brings diverse fields together to think about road safety differently.”
“Since joining HSRC in 2009, I have worked with our amazing researchers in every area of study across the Center. The experience I’ve gained working so closely with our research puts me in a unique position to lead the partnerships and outreach that are key to translating research into practice,” said Mozingo. “I’m excited about our new co-director leadership, which is well suited for how HSRC’s people and projects work, and appreciate the confidence and support from the Vice Chancellor for Research and our staff. I look forward to continuing to work with our researchers, partners, and friends as we conduct, implement, and share our important work to make roads safer every day.”
Sandt’s background as an epidemiologist lends immense value to her perspective and ability to co-lead a transportation safety research center. She leads a diverse portfolio of research projects with a focus on safety, mobility, Safe Systems, and access for people of all ages and abilities who walk, bike, and roll. Sandt encourages the uptake of research to practice by leading opportunities for knowledge exchange, as well as interfacing directly with leaders in multidisciplinary fields and informing adoption and implementation of ideas.
Mozingo leads HSRC’s internal and external communications, strategic development, and education efforts. She is responsible for disseminating key research findings to diverse audiences including transportation, health, and safety practitioners; state and national policymakers; and researchers, and she oversees the development of HSRC’s strategic communications and partnership development activities. Before joining the transportation research world in 2009, Caroline was a manager at RF|Binder Partners, a strategic communications and public relations firm in New York City, where she gained a range of media strategy, community relations, and crisis communications experience.
About the UNC Highway Safety Research Center
The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center strives to shape the field and future direction of transportation safety. Since its inception in 1965, the UNC Highway Safety Research Center has made a number of important contributions to improving safety on our nation’s roadways including: development of policies and programs to increase occupant restraint use; enhancement of systems for the collection and management of crash, roadway inventory, and other safety data; dissemination of knowledge regarding the safety and mobility of pedestrians and bicyclists; advancement of understanding of the roles of Safe Systems and systems science in promoting safer transportation; improvements in licensing systems for young drivers; and creation of strategies to address risky driver behaviors. 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.