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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Media Contact: Sunni Brown
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

Governors 2016 Transportation Safety Awards Announced
Groups and Citizens Recognized for Commitment to Saving Lives

RICHMOND - Virginia's top transportation safety advocates were honored today during a ceremony at Virginia's Executive Mansion. Governor Terry McAuliffe and DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb presented the 2016 Governor's Transportation Safety Awards

The following individuals and organizations were honored for outstanding contributions to transportation safety:

Lifetime Achievement - F.W. "Wakie" Howard, Jr., New Kent

Sheriff F. W. "Wakie" Howard, Jr. served as sheriff of New Kent County for 36 years. When elected in 1979, Sheriff Howard was the youngest sheriff in the state. He was the longest serving sheriff among Virginia's sheriffs upon his retirement. During his career, Sheriff Howard served on numerous local, state and national safety committees and has always been a strong supporter of transportation safety in the Commonwealth. He has testified or had representatives from his department testify at the General Assembly on various transportation safety topics. Sheriff Howard, his department, and his staff received countless awards and recognitions at the state and national levels during his tenure as sheriff.

Employer Safety - Ryder System, Lexington

Ryder System is a leading provider of commercial transportation, logistics, and supply chain management solutions. Ryder has a strong driver safety program that includes a no tolerance policy for mobile phone use while driving. Ryder also has a policy requiring drivers to wear seat belts at all times. Some of Ryder's safety policies are stronger than the federal regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers.

General Traffic Safety - Lt. Larry E. Humphries, Virginia State Police

Virginia State Police Lt. Larry E. Humphries planned and directed the 2015 Drive to Save Lives campaign. He recruited both Coach Mike London from the University of Virginia and Coach Frank Beamer from Virginia Tech to participate in the production of a public service announcement focusing on reducing traffic crashes and fatalities in Virginia. Lt. Humphries wrote the video script and designed banners and posters supporting the campaign themes: "Join the Winning Team" and "Our Game Plan is to Save Lives." Almost one year after planning began, the video was released to the public during the 2015 college football season.

Impaired Driving - The Commission on Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, Richmond

The Commission on Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program hosted the first Multi-State Ignition Interlock Forum in 2015. The forum focused specifically on addressing reciprocity issues among the states. Participants shared individual state experiences, brainstormed ideas, and formulated a foundation for overcoming reciprocity barriers among the states. Reciprocity is a critical component of the efficient transfer of interlock obligations across state lines. A major outcome was the ability to bring together "decision making stakeholders" to address and implement workable solutions to overcome reciprocity barriers. A second product from this forum was the creation of a reciprocity mobile app called Approcity. This app is a building block to future strategies.

Law Enforcement - Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department, Richmond

In 2015, the VCU Police Department conducted traffic initiatives and programs to enhance public safety and seat belt enforcement. Programs included Buckle Up, Phone Down, an education programs to combat texting while driving, and RVA BUZZKILL, a new multimedia awareness campaign that highlights the personal, professional, and legal consequences of underage drinking and serving alcohol to individuals under 21. The department partnered with other safety advocates in various campaigns including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Richmond Police Department, Virginia State Police, and DRIVE SMART Virginia. Through the use of social media and the VCU LiveSafe app, messaging reaches more than 50,000 individuals in the VCU community.

Media - Roanoke Valley Regional Coalition

Four community coalitions in the Roanoke Valley region came together to gather data around motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol among 15-24 year olds. These coalitions sought to identify contributing factors behind the motor vehicle crash rates, identify key intervention strategies aimed at reducing the motor vehicle crash rate within the jurisdictions, and develop and implement an evaluation strategy to measure the effects of the selected interventions. Through this collaborative effort, strategies were aligned for maximum regional impact. The shared data promoted the adaption of a shared strategy: a media campaign to address highway safety and drunk driving by 15-24 year old drivers. The coalition coordinated the timing of its media campaign with local law enforcement which increased sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols. The campaign, called "What's My Plan," featured ads on television, radio, and social media and in movie theaters.

Motor Carrier Safety - David W. Boyer, Fries

David W. Boyer is a professional truck driver for ABF Freight System, Inc. with 45 years of professional driving experience. He is also a Captain on America's Road Team (ART), a national public outreach program led by a small group of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records, and a strong desire to spread the word about safety on the highway. For most of his career, David has been involved in educating the motoring public, young drivers, policy makers, judges, and the media on how to share the road with large trucks. David takes the American Trucking Association's Share the Road program to schools to demonstrate the blind spots around large trucks. He also teaches about the limitations of large vehicles, merging and stopping distances of large trucks, tailgating obstacles, and much more. David talks about the dangers of speeding and distracted driving. David gives hands-on demonstrations by inviting students to get up in the cab of an 18 wheeler to see first-hand what a professional truck driver can and cannot see. In addition to educating students, David contacts the local media to cover his school demonstrations and encourages them to air Share the Road stories and report safety tips in their news broadcasts.

Motorcycle Safety - Trish Adams, Suffolk

Trish Adams volunteers her time organizing and leading presentations on motorcycle awareness to driver education students in Tidewater-area schools. Trish's presentations include a video, student activities, and discussions on how students can better be aware of motorcycles on the road. Trish not only organizes and makes presentations, she also invites other motorcyclists to participate. During the last five years, Trish has made numerous visits to area schools and presented the motorcycle awareness messages to approximately 10,000 students.

Occupant Protection - Town of Chilhowie Fire and EMS Department, Chilhowie

Town of Chilhowie Fire and EMS Department (CFEMS) has provided child passenger safety seat checks for nearly four years. In 2015, the agency enhanced its efforts. The department acquired a safety trailer that has equipment, manuals, seats, and supplies needed to remedy problems facing passengers placed in improperly installed child safety seats. Enhancing the program has provided opportunities to reach members of not only CFEMS's community but members of surrounding towns and counties. The department receives numerous requests for participation at community events. Certified child passenger safety seat technicians take the trailer loaded with equipment and information to events where owners of vehicles with child passengers are most likely to attend. Spreading safety messages at these events provides interventions for caregivers who may not otherwise stop at fire station for a child safety seat check. Through the use of the safety trailer, CFEMS is able to significantly increase the number of child safety seat checks and the distribution of safety information to its target audience.

Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety - Sports Backers, Richmond

RVA Bikeways: A user guide for people on bikes and in cars is an informational brochure that is intended to educate people on what bicycle infrastructure is and how people should behave around it. This guide is meant to educate both motorists and cyclists equally and fairly in an effort to reduce the number of conflicts between users on the roads. It uses photos and simple language to get across key points. The guide, designed by Sports Backers, illustrates the various types of bicycle infrastructure existing and forthcoming in the Richmond region and how drivers and cyclists should operate their vehicles and bicycles on and around that infrastructure. Thousands of guides were mailed to residents in zip codes that had the highest rates of bike/pedestrian crashes reported and are in close proximity to bicycle infrastructure improvements that have either been recently implemented or are planned for the near future. Sports Backers also distributed copies at various cycling events and through its key partners. Sports Backers also launched two social media campaigns to distribute the guide electronically. Several Richmond City Council members distributed the guide in their monthly e-newsletters.

Pupil Transportation - Ginger Rothermel, Norfolk

Ginger Rothermel works diligently to incorporate pupil safety at Crossroads Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhoods. She educates citizens about safe walking and biking to school. She hosted a free bicycle rodeo which included organizing volunteers and gathering sponsorships. She led a parade on International Walk to School Day. She also organized a Crossing Guard Appreciation Day where students expressed appreciation to the crossing guards for the work they do. Through her work, Ginger developed partnerships with the Safe Routes to School program and Bike Norfolk to spread safety messages and information about the safety events that she coordinated.

Youth Traffic Safety - DRIVE SMART Virginia, Richmond

DRIVE SMART Virginia coordinated and implemented 44 interactive traffic safety days at Virginia high schools in 2015. Event activities included an in-vehicle texting and driving simulator, an impaired tricycle obstacle course, major crash reconstruction with students pretending to be victims and community partners responding to the scene, and presentations by trauma nurses, crash victims, and crash victims' family members. These events were planned with high school teachers and administrators and included community partners such as law enforcement, trauma centers, and fire departments. Most events occurred during the school day to complement what students had learned in the classroom. DRIVE SMART Virginia held several focus groups with teenagers to discuss what really makes a difference. Teens at the focus groups believed that interactive activities were the most effective way to educate teen drivers.

The Governor's Transportation Safety Awards were awarded by DMV's Highway Safety Office. Nominations were accepted in March. Entries were judged on creativity, imagination, uniqueness, impact on the community, and the use of volunteers and private sector resources.

"We are happy to take this time to recognize the impressive efforts made by Virginians to help make an impact on the safety of everyone who shares our roadways," said Commissioner Holcomb who is also the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "What these folks are doing is saving lives and, for that, we are very grateful."

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