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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Thursday, June 19, 2008
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Governor's 2008 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 11 ceremony in Portsmouth:

Lifetime Safety Achievement - Captain Robert W. Strickler joined the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in July 1982 and retired after 25 years of service in December 2007. Strickler was involved with the Franklin County Transportation Safety Commission for 25 years and served as chairman for 20 years. He assisted the commission in developing special programs for young drivers, improving seat belt and safety seat use, reducing speeding, DUI/DUID enforcement, and roadway structural issues. He was a founding member of the Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board, and served as chairman for 11 years. During his tenure, he assisted with the REACH America regional program, which lasted for 14 years and trained more than 4,000 youth in drug and alcohol prevention, and traffic safety techniques.

Employer Safety - The Mount Rogers Industrial and Development Center (IDC) in Wytheville offers daily transportation services for citizens with disabilities. During 2007, these vehicles were used to conduct 102,838 passenger trips, and transported approximately 240 persons daily. They also traveled 532,545 miles with no citations to drivers and no crashes resulting in injuries to passengers.

General Traffic Safety - The Bedford Police Department enhanced its efforts for traffic safety by starting an occupant protection initiative to raise awareness about seat belts and air bags. The effort included partnering with local businesses to promote child passenger safety issues.

Impaired Driving - The Alcohol and Drug Control Officers (ADCO) of the United States Fleet Forces, located in Norfolk, set up command prevention teams, and implemented the SAFE RIDE home program and the Save-A-Life tour.

Law Enforcement - Sgt. Kyle Moore, Special Agent David Willis and Trooper Allen Mann, all assigned to the Virginia State Police's Salem division, recently developed and secured funding for a DUI simulator to accompany their DUI-preventative presentations. The golf-cart-turned-miniature-Dodge-Charger works by allowing a driver to drive a course without any impairment. The driver then puts on a pair of fatal vision goggles, which simulate what your mind perceives while under the influence of alcohol, and attempts the course once again.

Legal - Senior attorney Mark M. Neil from the National Traffic Law Center (NTLC), promotes traffic safety issues for the prosecution, and assists law enforcement in their efforts. He is also credited with drafting solid DUI legislation. The NTLC increases the awareness of highway safety issues through the compilation, creation and distribution of legal and technical information, and by providing training and reference services.

Media - Emily Crider from WHSV TV3 in Winchester helped the Front Royal Police Department disseminate transportation safety information to citizens. Some of the important stories that she covered in 2007 include the Click It or Ticket campaign, the Slow Down in Our Town campaign, child safety seat issues and cab rides for intoxicated drivers.

Motor Carrier Safety - The Virginia Beach Police Department's Motor Carrier Unit formed a Specialized Transportation Safety Coalition by partnering with local contractors, permitting authorities, and the other motor carrier safety teams in Hampton Roads to develop a uniform set of hauling regulations. In 2007, there were no fatal crashes involving a commercial carrier where the driver was found at fault, and no serious crashes involving commercial motor vehicles were reported.

Motorcycle Safety - Fred W. Austin, founder of the Motorcycle Safety Center of Virginia (MSCV), secured additional ranges and classrooms throughout the Richmond District to offer motorcycle rider training courses that meet the diverse needs of the public. The MSCV offers three distinct rider training programs and 3,169 students were enrolled in 2007. Mr. Austin secured corporate sponsorships to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to learn how to safely operate a motorcycle in Virginia.

Occupant Protection - The Northside High School Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club in Roanoke participated in a variety of activities in 2007 including the Buckle Up Challenge to raise awareness about wearing seatbelts, and a homecoming parade float with the message: "Don't be a Dummy, Buckle Up!" The club also organized the school's Prom Promise, a presentation for juniors and seniors consisting of speakers, videos and lectures to encourage students to pledge not to drink and drive on prom night.

Pedestrian/Bicycle - The Harrisonburg Police Department educated the public after the Harrisonburg City Council passed a Bicycle Helmet Ordinance for children 14 and younger last year. Approximately 1,500 helmets were properly fitted and given away during 2007 by Harrisonburg police officers. Officers also coordinated traffic control at intersections and deployed departmental speed trailers along school routes during the week after the ordinance passed at all four city elementary schools.

Pupil Transportation - The Henrico County Division of Police issued 1,029 summonses for speeding in a school zone in 2007. Officers also promoted traffic safety during National School Bus Safety Week and Operation Back to School.

Rail Safety - Buster Ray Davis from Norfolk Southern Corporation has worked as a railroad employee for 53 years injury-free. His long career and safety record have been recognized many times. When Mr. Davis sees an employee needing help or assistance with rules compliance, he is the first to offer advice. He does not hesitate to question his co-workers about performing the job correctly in order to keep the railways operation safe.

Water Safety - Senator Stephen D. Newman, Delegate Kathy J. Byron and the Virginia Safe Boating Alliance responded to a tragic boating fatality in August 2005 by taking action to increase boater safety education. The Virginia Safe Boating Alliance was formed to create a boating safety education requirement for Virginia. In 2007, both Delegate Byron and Senator Newman introduced boating safety education requirement bills, which Governor Kaine approved in March 2007.

Youth Traffic Safety - The Drive Safe Hampton Roads "Get It Together Challenge" was a regional safety belt challenge providing education to area high school students. Through a joint partnership with AAA Tidewater, USAA, GEICO, Golden Corral and DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office, a liaison was provided to each school who assisted with seat belt checks.

The Transportation Safety Awards are presented each year by the Board of Transportation Safety. The 12-member board advises the Governor, Secretary of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner 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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