Austin, Richard H. (1913-2001)

Richard Austin

As Michigan's longest serving Secretary of State (1971-1994), Austin became known as "Mr. Traffic Safety" for his vigorous and successful efforts to improve highway safety. He was chairman of the Michigan State Safety Commission and was nationally known in the traffic safety community for innovative programs and laws that became national models. These included driver improvement programs that focused on youth and problem drivers, aiming to help them become crash-free and violation-free motorists. He led a 14 year campaign to enact a vehicle safety belt law, culminating in its passage in 1985. Austin was a key advocate of Michigan's child passenger safety law, supported stiffer penalties for drinking drivers and led the fight to retain the state motorcycle helmet law.

Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor, 1996