RICHMOND – Virginia’s top transportation safety advocates were honored today during a ceremony at Virginia’s State Capitol. Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran and DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb presented the 2017 Governor’s Transportation Safety Awards.
The following individuals and organizations were honored for outstanding contributions to transportation safety:
Lifetime Achievement – Tom Clifford, Retired, Hampton Police Division
Employed by the City of Hampton Police Division from 1968 until his retirement in January 2004, Lieutenant Tom Clifford showed an unwavering devotion to highway safety that has had impacts at the local and state levels. He developed a number of training programs for the city’s ongoing efforts against impaired driving and drug usage. One of those programs was replicated by 107 Virginia law enforcement agencies and won awards at both the state and national levels. Throughout his career, Tom served on numerous committees, commissions, and task forces.
Following his retirement from the Hampton Police Division, this dedicated worker only took three days off before starting to work full time as the Driver Improvement Administrator for AAA Tidewater Virginia. Currently, he teaches several safety courses and oversees all area driving schools using the AAA Driver Improvement curriculum.
Employer Safety – USS George Washington
Safety officials onboard the USS George Washington identified a need and arranged traffic safety training for its crew members while at sea. Five trainers from DRIVE SMART Virginia, the National Transportation Safety Board, and Virginia State Police were flown to the carrier aboard a Navy transport plane. Over a three-day period, more than 1,200 Navy personnel received traffic safety training.
General Traffic Safety – DRIVE SMART Virginia
DRIVE SMART Virginia’s 4th Annual Virginia Distracted Driving Summit brought together industry leaders, scientists, educators and law enforcement officials to share ideas, gather information, learn about best practices and forge solutions for distracted driving. The goal was for all attendees to return to their communities with fresh ideas and reasonable solutions for the distracted driving issues in their areas. A tandem goal was for DRIVE SMART Virginia to gather information and knowledge on issues and roadblocks throughout Virginia in order to build upon existing programs and design better educational opportunities for the future.
Impaired Driving – Henrico Doctors’ Hospital Trauma Program
Using fatal vision goggles, commonly known as “beer goggles,” that simulate a range of blood alcohol levels, staff from Henrico Doctors’ Hospital Trauma program set up a display where members of the community could attempt to perform simple tasks such as writing their name, catching a ball or walking heel to toe. The goggles allow for a sober person to see how their brain reacts at various levels of impairment without the euphoria of the alcohol.
Law Enforcement – Virginia State Police Wytheville Division IV
Virginia State Police Wytheville Division IV area commanders identified local traffic crash patterns and crash prone locations, sought out educational opportunities within their communities, partnered with local law enforcement and neighboring state highway patrols and state police on traffic-enforcement operations and used traditional and social media exposure to promote safe, responsible driving habits. The Wytheville Division IV area offices conducted an unprecedented 18 Drive to Save Lives traffic enforcement initiatives and multiple traffic-safety community outreach and educational presentations across southwest Virginia.
Media – WFXR, Roanoke
WFXR television partnered with the Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) for its statewide spring safe driving campaign, Arrive Alive. The partnership included weekly live appearances on WFXR’s morning show, Good Day Virginia. Among those who participated in interviews were YOVASO staff, Virginia State Police troopers, an insurance agent, a school resource officer, a medical professional, a driving school instructor, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Montgomery County, the parent of a teen killed in a crash, and members of Stuarts Draft High School’s YOVASO and Students Against Drunk Driving clubs. The stories shared each week focused on a variety of topics and incorporated Arrive Alive by reinforcing the campaign’s message to keep teen drivers and passengers safe during the high-risk warm weather months.
Motor Carrier Safety – Perdue Farms
Perdue Farms, of Accomack County, implemented cutting-edge technology into its large commercial fleet vehicles to minimize crash risks and maximize driver safety. The use of video camera technology paired with innovative driver training and coaching and support from Perdue’s management allowed the company to see a significant reduction in fleet vehicle crashes.
Motorcycle Safety – First Sergeant Timothy A. Knight
Virginia State Police First Sergeant Timothy A. Knight, of Natural Bridge, has been involved in numerous motorcycle safety presentations including instructing police officers in the proper operation of their police motorcycles. He also developed the Ride2Save Lives, a civilian motorcycle assessment program which focuses on reducing motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities. His efforts have no doubt reduced motorcycle crashes among law enforcement officers and the riding public.
Occupant Protection – Ariel Rodriguez, Harrisonburg Fire Department
Ariel Rodriguez, child passenger safety technician for the Harrisonburg Fire Department, works passionately and tirelessly to help reduce the number one cause of unintentional deaths for children - motor vehicle crashes. She provides free child safety seat installations and participates in several outreach and educational opportunities. Being bilingual, Ariel’s ability to speak fluent Spanish has increased the department’s child passenger safety/motor vehicle safety efforts.
Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety – Ashland Police Department
The Ashland Police Department’s Be Safe Be Seen program involved officers distributing bags that contained bicycle and pedestrian safety equipment along with educational material. Rather than issuing citations for violations, officers provided potential life-saving reflective gear, light kits, and educational information.
Pupil Transportation – Martinsville City Public Schools
The caution lights on many of Martinsville Public Schools’ buses were old, low output incandescent lamps that were difficult to see during sunny or foggy days. The city upgraded all buses to the latest, high output LED lights that have a very long life and much greater output for the ultimate visibility. In addition, buses were equipped with a third brake light below the standard high-mounted brake light. This creates the “triangle of safety” with a pulsating, flashing pattern for maximum visibility to those behind the bus.
Youth Traffic Safety – GEICO and Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast
Girl Scouts earn a Car Care badge by learning basic care maintenance, investigate vehicle safety, research safe driving practices, find out what to do in case of emergency, and drive for a greener world. GEICO auto damage associates and other GEICO volunteers educate the girls at their Car Care Clinics held twice a year. Upon completion of the clinic, participants earn the Girl Scout Car Care badge.
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.”