State and National Highway Safety Officials Mourn the Passing of Highly Regarded Retired Research Director

OLYMPIA, WA — Former Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) Research Director Phillip M. Salzberg passed away November 8, 2014, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia after undergoing heart surgery.

Phil was born in Berkeley California, on June 19, 1947. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from U.C. Davis with a B.A. in psychology, received a master’s degree from Sacramento State University, and went on to obtain his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Colorado in 1974. After spending a brief period in academia with the University of Washington and City University, he turned to doing what he called ‘applied research’ for the State of Washington. In 1976, he began his professional career with the Washington Department of Motor Vehicles, later called the Department of Licensing. In 1990, he became Research Director at the WTSC, where he served until his retirement in 2006. He was a published author with many important and creative research studies and papers to his name. His research findings have informed the vast majority of Washington’s statutory and policy innovations in traffic safety for nearly forty years.

“He was a well-respected colleague, boss, mentor, and good friend to all of us who had the opportunity to know him and work with him,” said WTSC Director Darrin Grondel. “Phil’s dedication to traffic safety research shaped and guided many programs and projects that made our roads safer for Washington motorists. The love he had for this work was evident when he continued to provide input on research projects well after his retirement. Phil’s life was proof that if you love your job, it never really feels like work.”

Though he loved his research work, Phil’s family was the center of his life. He is survived by his wife, Vicki, daughters Sarah and Emily and their husbands, and four grandchildren. A celebration of Phil’s life will be held at the end of January 2015. At the family’s request, contributions in Phil’s honor can be made to Providence Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia.