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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Governor's 2010 Transportation Safety Awards Announced

RICHMOND - Governor Robert F. McDonnell presented awards to the winners of the 2010 Governor's Transportation Safety Awards during a ceremony yesterday at the Governor's Mansion. The following individuals and organizations were honored for their outstanding contributions to transportation safety:

Lifetime Safety Achievement - Wayne Ferguson of Charlottesville, now retired, has more than 40 years experience at the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) where he began as a Research Analyst in 1967. Ferguson was instrumental in the creation of the original Fairfax Alcohol Safety Action Project (ASAP). His subsequent evaluations of the Fairfax ASAP and other studies of alcohol-related enforcement created a platform for the expansion from a single ASAP to the statewide program Virginia has today. During the 40 years Mr. Ferguson worked for and led the VRTC, he and his team conducted more than 200 studies requested by DMV, the General Assembly, State Police and Department of Education on topics including speed enforcement, changes in speed limits, differential speed limits for cars and trucks, and safety evaluation data.

Aviation Safety - John Mazza Jr. of Matoaca, a member of the Capital Region Airport Commission-Richmond International Airport, has made safety improvements to airports across the state including installing security cameras at Dinwiddie Airport, clearing obstacles from approaches to airports, holding safety briefings and flight formation clinics, and advocating for airports' automated weather observing systems (AWOS).

Employer Safety - Kevin Jones and Bee Line Towing of Lynchburg provided cars for safety demonstrations, displays, and education programs during events such as Kids Sake Safety Day. Additionally, Bee Line provided vehicles and associated towing services for crash reconstruction classes where the vehicles are intentionally crashed for teaching purposes.

General Traffic Safety - The Ashland Police Department implemented two traffic safety programs called Crash Reduction Utilizing Selective Enforcement (CRUISE) and Addressing Complaints Using Technology and Enforcement (ACUTE). Officers identified and patrolled high-risk intersections. In 2009, there was an 18 percent decline in reportable crashes compared to 2008.

Impaired Driving - The mission of SafeRides at James Madison University in Harrisonburg is to prevent drunk driving through education and provide free rides home for JMU students. In 2009, SafeRides gave rides to between 120 and 150 students each night, each weekend totaling 7,237 rides. To date, SafeRides has given 17,577 rides to JMU students.

Law Enforcement - Master Police Officer Mike R. Gangloff from the Harrisonburg Police Department designed and implemented the department's DUI Golf Cart Program for distracted driving educational exercises. While supervised, students change radio stations, and dial, talk and text on a cell phone while trying to maneuver in and around cone courses. In addition, Officer Gangloff integrated the DUI Golf Cart Program into a field sobriety testing station by having participants wear fatal vision goggles while performing field sobriety tests. Also, Gangloff refurbished the department's inoperable Seat Belt Convincer apparatus.

Motor Carrier Safety - Eugene D. Gibson of Smithfield educates young drivers about sharing the road with trucks through a program called the "No-Zone." He has shown this program to numerous schools in Smithfield and to students attending a truck driving school.

Motorcycle Safety - New Kent County Sheriff's Office and the Blue Knights Chapter VIII sponsored a motorcycle fair with approximately 2,000 attendees. The event included a motorcycle safety skills demonstration area, information pertaining to laws and helmet safety, inspection of helmets and motorcycles, and a child safety seat check. In addition, the sheriff's office and the Blue Knights held five motorcycle safety breaks on Sunday afternoons to allow riders to get off of their motorcycles and take a break.

Occupant Protection - During the 2009 Child Passenger Safety week, the Bedford Police Department partnered with local day care centers to conduct multiple safety seat checks. Also, the department sponsored its Fifth Safety Day where safety seat checks were conducted and the department's airbag sled was demonstrated. The Bedford Police Department also partnered with Liberty High School and conducted a safety event for approximately 300 driver education students.

Pedestrian/Bicycle - The Town of Richlands Department of Police sponsored a bicycle safety program that included proper instruction of the operation of a bicycle, proper use of bicycle safety helmets and a bicycle rodeo, and now the program is held twice a year. Since the program began, the department has distributed several thousand bicycle safety helmets.

Pupil Transportation - The Newport News Police Department's STOP! School Bus Safety Program was instituted as a result of complaints by school bus drivers regarding motorists passing their buses while loading and unloading students. A group of retired men, called the Minutemen, patrolled the school bus stops, collected license plate numbers and sent them to the precinct patrol officer. A letter was sent from the Chief of Police to the vehicle's registered owner advising them of the consequences of this violation. During 2009, 211 letters were mailed to vehicles reported for not observing the law with regard to stopped school buses.

Public Transportation - Blacksburg Transit instituted a Bus Driving Simulator for hiring, training and crash re-creation. Due to this proactive approach, operators were already adept at anticipating how the vehicles would handle in varying road conditions, ultimately keeping crashes to a minimum.

Rail Safety - Sergeant Kassi Allen from the Liberty University Police Department in Lynchburg routinely went beyond her assigned duties to actively promote rail safety. She volunteered at every opportunity to meet with Norfolk Southern employees to gather safety information and then met with students to distribute rail safety literature. She assisted Norfolk Southern police officers at a nearby rail crossing in apprehending violators and distributing safety literature to motorists as they crossed the tracks.

Water Safety - Since the passage of mandatory boating safety education requirements for Virginia's boaters, the boating safety education program continues to grow with the help of William Whitlock and Donna Cook, both of Richmond. Whitlock has more than 3,000 hours of volunteer service and has taught more than 2,000 boating safety students. Cook has logged more than 2,000 hours of volunteer service and has taught more than 1,800 boating safety students.

Youth Traffic Safety - The New River Valley Driving School in Christiansburg presented and coordinated "Shattered Dreams," a mock DUI crash drama presented to more than 400 students, faculty and parents at Auburn High School. Surveys revealed that the program influenced the students' decision not to drink and drive.

The Governor's Transportation Safety Awards are awarded 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.

See photos of the winners and the event.

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