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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Media Contact: Tia Freeman
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6701

Governor's 2007 Transportation Safety Awards Announced

RICHMOND - The Virginia Board of Transportation Safety recently announced the winners of the Governor's Transportation Safety Awards. The following individuals and organizations were honored for their outstanding contributions to transportation safety at a June 13 ceremony in Richmond:

Lifetime Safety Achievement - Sgt. Edgar Wimberly (retired), Fairfax, VA - Sgt. Wimberly has devoted a lifetime to traffic safety. In 1970, when he joined the Washington Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C., he was keenly aware of the vital role law enforcement plays in traffic safety. For over sixteen years, he successfully supervised safety sections in the Traffic Division. His work with the Motor Carrier Safety Section and Crash Reconstruction Unit established his reputation as a local, regional, and national expert in his field.

Aviation Safety - Angel Flight of Virginia, Richmond, VA - This non-profit organization ensures that no patient is denied access to distant specialized medical treatment because they lack long-distant medical air transportation. In 2006, the organization's 311 volunteers flew 900 passengers and 565 missions with a 100 percent safety record on flights with patients.

General Traffic Safety - Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board/Roanoke Regional Crash Investigation Team, Roanoke, VA - This regional team assists law enforcement agencies with crash investigation and reconstruction, data collection, and special studies for crashes that result in serious injury. Their efforts last year included: child safety seat checkpoints, youth driving safety, impaired driving checkpoints, the "Click-It or Ticket" campaign with the 460 Blitz, joint jurisdictional checkpoints, and motor carrier checks.

Impaired Driving - Christiansburg Police Department, Christiansburg, VA - To keep impaired drivers off of the roads, Lt. Donald Cromer of the Christiansburg Police Department developed Project Straight Home. This innovative project encourages people to purchase ride certificates that can be redeemed for taxi rides anywhere in Montgomery County.

Law Enforcement - Master Police Officer Robert Barton, Annandale, VA - When MPO Barton began coordinating youth alcohol stings, he combated underage drinking by dramatically reducing the number of violations from an average 34 percent to 15 percent. During his career, he has worked with schools, the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, and the media to educate students, retailers, and members of the community.

Legal - Judge Norman "Dev" Morrison, Berryville, VA - Judge Morrison values the safety of Virginians, taking special interest in cases involving reckless and impaired drivers. In such cases, he strives to make offenders understand how their behavior impacts society. He also worked with agencies to introduce new courtroom technology that is now essential for officers.

Media - Metro Productions, Richmond, VA - After noticing an increase in motorcycle enthusiasts in Virginia, Metro Productions produced a public service announcement (PSA) on motorcycle safety for the Virginia State Police at no cost. To further demonstrate its commitment to safety, it aired the PSA on its Vacation Channel in Hampton Roads.

Motor Carrier Safety - Senior Deputy Christopher Rizzo, Loudoun County, VA - By reducing the number of unsafe trucks on the roads, Deputy Rizzo's diligence keeps Virginia's highways safe. In 2006, he found 4,214 safety violations. He inspected 832 trucks in Loudoun County, placing 503 of those trucks out-of-service for safety or mechanical problems. Rizzo educates motor carriers on proper vehicle safety maintenance and conducts safety inspections that demonstrate to drivers where violations often occur.

Motorcycle Safety - Cundiff Simmons, White Stone, VA - Mr. Simmons is dedicated to educating new and experienced motorcycle riders. He was instrumental in introducing and maintaining the Sidecar/Trike training program in Virginia. He is also a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Certified RiderCoach, an Evergreen Safety Council Certified Chief Instructor, and a member of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association.

Occupant Protection Safety - Gloucester Sheriff's Office, Gloucester, VA - The Gloucester Sheriff's office continued efforts to inform citizens of safety belt laws and violations. In 2006, they targeted their message to males 16-34 years of age. This group typically uses seat belts the least. The office also worked with VDOT to place electronic messages on highways.

Pedestrian / Bicycle Safety - The W & OD Trail Patrol, Ashburn, VA - This volunteer group works to promote safe use of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park. In 2006, it performed 655 patrols totaling 1,257 hours, encompassing 12,746 miles. The group has found lost children, fixed flat tires, provided water, and pointed travelers in the right direction.

Pupil Transportation - Henrico County Division of Police, Richmond, VA - Keeping school zones safe is a priority for Henrico County. The division deters violators by holding an annual Back to School Special. This event reminds drivers to slow down when children return to school. In addition, the division's Bear on the Bus initiative puts officers on school buses to call unmarked police cars when they see school bus light violators.

Water Safety - Newport News Police Department (Marine Patrol), Newport News, VA - With constant training and established procedures, the Newport News Marine Patrol has produced well-trained marine patrol officers. Their efforts make the waters of Newport News a safer place to work and play. Eleven people are alive today because of Marine Patrol assistance to boaters in 2006.

Youth Traffic Safety - Ben Swecker, Partners for Safe Teen Drivers, Manassas, VA - This community health initiative developed a parent awareness campaign to reduce the incidences of teenage automobile crashes in Virginia. The campaign encourages and assists schools and community members with the development and implementation of statewide programs that educate parents on Virginia laws and on how to coach their teens.

The Transportation Safety Awards are presented each year by the Board of Transportation Safety. The12-member board advises the Governor, Secretary of Transportation, and Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles on transportation safety matters. It also identifies elements of a comprehensive safety program for all modes of transportation in Virginia, including air, rail, water, motor carrier, public transportation and pupil transportation.

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