June 16, 2015 Governor’s 2015 Transportation Safety Awards Announced Groups and Citizens Recognized for Commitment to Saving Lives
RICHMOND – Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian J. Moran saluted the winners of the 2015 Governor’s Transportation Safety Awards during a ceremony at the Capitol on Tuesday, June 16.
“These awards recognize the hard work, cooperation, and innovation that are hallmarks of Virginia’s safety organizations, law enforcement, and individuals looking to make a difference,” Secretary Moran said. “But the real reward can be measured in lives saved. Traffic fatalities have been on the decline for years in Virginia, thanks to all of you.”
The following individuals and organizations were honored for outstanding contributions to transportation safety:
Lifetime Achievement - Lloyd “Bud” Vye, Henrico
An avid cyclist, Lloyd “Bud” Vye is the treasurer and longtime advocacy director for the Virginia Bicycling Federation. He’s also the advocacy chair for the Richmond Area Bicycling Association and a representative on the Richmond Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee. Due to his tireless efforts at the Virginia General Assembly, Bud was named Advocate of the Year in 2009 by the Alliance for Biking and Walking, a national organization.
Some of Bud’s achievements include requiring that the Richmond transit system install bike racks on all local buses; overturning the law that required bicyclists to ride on a side path where they are available; and successfully championing bills that require bicyclists to use lights while riding after dark and permit bicyclists to ride two abreast provided they fall into single file when being approached by a faster moving vehicle from the rear.
Bud has also been actively involved with the development of the Virginia Capital Trail, a dedicated paved pedestrian and bicycle trail from Richmond to Jamestown. Most recently, Bud worked throughout 2013 to lay the groundwork for a law requiring motorists passing bicyclists to be at a minimum distance of three feet. He also helped efforts to pass a following-too-closely bicyclists bill and a passing-on-double-yellow-line bill.
Employer Safety – Cintas Corporation, Chester
The Cintas fleet management team set out to decrease crash rates by launching a safe driver competition, increasing driver training activities, and identifying unique needs, such as close-quarter driver training. As a result, Cintas in Virginia reduced its vehicle accidents by 15 percent in 2014 and expects this trend to continue into 2015. Along with their standards for fleet driver training, Cintas also goes above and beyond with training for employees’ families. Managers put together a program with the help of DRIVE SMART Virginia that included a presentation on defensive driving, a video featuring victims of car crashes, and a texting and driving simulator. This program focused on providing traffic safety education to Cintas employees’ teenaged children.
General Traffic Safety - Lt. Paul D. Watts and Sgt. Jason S. Haga, Virginia State Police
Lt. Paul D. Watts and Sgt. Jason S. Haga teamed up to crack down on texting while driving in the Roanoke Valley. While one trooper drove a police van, the other looked for drivers texting. Since the van was more elevated than a standard cruiser, it was easier to spot violators and, as such, the troopers cited 10 violations within the first eight hours of the focused patrol. After a few weeks, word of the new enforcement technique spread and the number of observed violations dramatically decreased.
Impaired Driving - Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE), Chesterfield
Serving Chesterfield County since 1999, SAFE uses awareness and education, community partnerships, youth leadership, and advocacy to address substance abuse issues. SAFE’s Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant focused on decreasing the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes with drivers 18 to 24 years old in Chesterfield County. One of the ways SAFE reached its goal was through “Drinks Cost More than You Think,” a mass media campaign to raise awareness of increased DUI saturation patrols and to increase the perception of risk of DUI citations and associated penalties.
Law Enforcement - Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department, Richmond
In 2014, the Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department conducted numerous traffic initiatives and programs to enhance public safety, including vehicle safety checks for students, education programs to combat texting while driving, and a partnership with campus sororities to share ways to have fun without alcohol. In addition, the department partnered with other safety advocates including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and DRIVE SMART Virginia and participated in campaigns such as Click It or Ticket and U-Drink U-Drive U-Lose.
Media - Peter Bacqué, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, posthumous recognition
Peter Bacqué, a longtime Times-Dispatch reporter, was uncompromising when it came to getting the story right and making sure that both sides were equally and fairly represented. The transportation topics he covered spanned every possible mode of transport and every consumer issue related to moving about the Commonwealth. Peter helped to shape Virginia’s transportation picture as it exists today. His work also sparked conversations among policymakers and transportation advocates, and brought public input to the table. A flying and gliding instructor, his passion for air, road, rail, and all modes of transportation was apparent and it was that passion that made him a truly outstanding reporter. His work will be truly missed in Virginia.
Motor Carrier Safety – Bill Murphy, Valley Energy, Purcellville
Bill Murphy, president of Valley Energy, supplied a tractor trailer and professional truck driver to educate students through the “No-Zone” program for the past eight years in Loudoun County Public Schools’ driver’s education classes. The program informs young drivers of the dangers of the blind spot areas around tractor trailers. In 2014, more than 4,000 students participated in the “No Zone” presentation as well as the hands-on experience. Since 2007, Bill and his program have educated an estimated 32,000 students.
Motorcycle Safety - Mike Mitchell, Richmond
Mike Mitchell has been involved in promoting motorcycle safety for more than 20 years. Thousands of motorcyclists and other motorists have benefited from his safety efforts. Mike became active in motorcycle safety after taking a leadership role in a local Goldwing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) chapter. He organized and presented seminars and training sessions to encourage riders to make safety a priority. He also fostered and mentored his chapter educator’s efforts to develop a group riding program and seminar series. The program became part of the district training program and grew to the regional level. It was implemented into the national and international GWRRA’s safety curriculum and has been adopted by many other motorcycle owners associations. Mike retired as assistant international director of the organization after many years of promoting motorcycle safety to the public.
Occupant Protection – Eileen Gerling, Norfolk
As program manager of the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters’ Child Passenger Safety program, Eileen Gerling works tirelessly to ensure that children referred to the program get the very best care. She works closely with families to evaluate each child’s seating needs, understand the family’s needs, and alleviate their concerns, and ultimately to ensure the safety of children while traveling in the family vehicle. An occupational therapist and assistive technology professional, Eileen’s commitment to child passenger safety is evident in all that she does. She is one of two instructors in Virginia for the national curriculum Safe Travel for all Children: Transporting Children with Special Healthcare Needs.
Pedestrian/ Bicycle Safety - RIDE Solutions Bicycle Safety Campaign, Roanoke
RIDE Solutions is the Transportation Demand Management agency for the greater Roanoke, New River Valley, and Lynchburg regions. After several high-profile bicycle accidents and rising concerns the cycling community, RIDE Solutions organized a community meeting that identified a number of ways to help improve road safety. Through incentive programs, education, and encouragement, RIDE Solutions connects people to transportation options including safe cycling.
Public Transportation - Chesapeake Transportation Safety Commission, Chesapeake
In 2014, the Chesapeake Transportation Safety Commission was involved with numerous projects to raise awareness and educate the community about traffic safety. The commission prepared a proclamation for motorcycle safety and distributed it to local motorcycle shops. In partnership with AAA, the commission endorsed a traffic safety banner which was placed on a highly traveled roadway in front of a middle school prior to the opening of the school year. Additionally, the commission encouraged active participation by community members by producing a traffic safety song campaign.
Youth Traffic Safety - Kathryn Koscinski, South Riding
As a driver education teacher, Kathy Koscinski touches the lives of hundreds of Loudoun County Public Schools’ (LCPS) students and parents, as well as adult learners at Northern Virginia Community College. It is her quest to prevent unnecessary injuries and make the roads safer for all citizens in Virginia. With Kathy’s help, LCPS adopted the Partners for Safe Teen Driving program prior to it being required by the state. Through this program and other project-based learning activities, Kathy has helped approximately 75,000 students and parents. She has created innovative lessons and effective rubrics that ensure all student teachers understand and can effectively teach the curriculum to their students. Kathy is very creative and often makes her own teaching materials such as props and videos.
Commissioner’s Special Achievement Award - Mayor’s Youth Academy Program, Richmond
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hosted five students last summer from the Mayor’s Youth Academy Program, a program that provides career and leadership development opportunities for Richmond teens. As part of a project, the teens developed a safety awareness campaign about distracted driving, a topic critically relevant to their age group. The slogan “It Can Wait – Concentrate” encourages drivers to put their phones and other distractions aside until they reach their destinations. The teen’s safety theme was featured in DMV social media posts, as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation highway message boards.
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. For more information, visit dmvNOW.com.
“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 DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “What these folks are doing is saving lives and, for that, we are very grateful.”