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May 24, 2018
Governor's 2018 Transportation Safety Awards Announced
Groups and Citizens Recognized for Commitment to Saving Lives

VIRGINIA BEACH - Virginia's top transportation safety advocates were honored Wednesday, May 23 during a ceremony at Virginia's Highway Safety Summit in Virginia Beach. DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative, presented the 2018 Governor's Transportation Safety Awards.

The following individuals and organizations were honored for outstanding contributions to transportation safety:

Lifetime Achievement - Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Retired, Virginia State Police 
A dedicated public servant for 42-years, Colonel W. Steven Flaherty demonstrated every day an understanding and great appreciation for improving traffic safety within the Commonwealth. Rising through the ranks of the Virginia State Police, Flaherty was appointed Superintendent in 2003 by then-Governor Mark Warner. Flaherty set forth to maintain the high level of excellence and professionalism associated with all aspects of the department's traffic safety enforcement, prevention and education initiatives.

Employer Safety - Columbia Gas of Virginia, Chester
Columbia Gas of Virginia instituted a policy prohibiting employees from using any mobile device while operating company vehicles. Since the implementation of its no mobile devices policy, Columbia Gas saw a significant reduction in preventable vehicle crashes.

General Traffic Safety - Vision Zero, a program by the City of Richmond's Safe and Healthy Streets Commission
The City of Richmond's Safe and Healthy Streets Commission embarked on the development of a Vision Zero action plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030. Local, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations and citizens participated in a series of workshops and stakeholder meetings to develop the action plan. The initiative aims to change the long-held belief and mindset that traffic fatalities and serious injuries are inevitable. Vision Zero supports the idea that traffic-related deaths and serious injuries are preventable.

Impaired Driving - Sober on All Roads, a regional DUI task force that includes Roanoke County, City of Roanoke, City of Salem and Town of Vinton
Sober on All Roads (SOAR) achieved its goals by conducting routine patrols within each jurisdiction and with regular multi-jurisdictional checkpoints in areas known to have increased rates of impaired-driving activities. As a result, the task force made 297 DUI arrests between March 2017 and December 2017. The six-member task force accounted for 37 percent of all DUI arrests in the Roanoke Valley.

Law Enforcement - Lieutenant Warren Gosnell, Frederick County Sheriff's Office
Lieutenant Warren Gosnell was involved in numerous safety programs and initiatives in 2017. He approached the task of better educating the motoring public on traffic safety and enforcement by utilizing various forms of demonstrations, education, enforcement and media presentations. Gosnell partnered with a local radio station and made multiple appearances on the radio to discuss safety issues including impaired driving; school safety; and "The Little Things That Can Lead to a Traffic Stop" which informed listeners about those types of infractions that most don't think or don't know could lead to a being stopped and ticketed.

Media - Raz Collier, Collier & Associates, Virginia Beach 
Raz Collier has dedicated the majority of his professional life to improving transportation safety in the Commonwealth. Collier has supported the paid media campaigns of numerous transportation safety-related non-profits for more than a dozen years for a much lower fee other paid media buyers in the state. In addition to his low fees, Collier provides a plethora of free consulting services and participates in paid media buyer brainstorming sessions to help Virginia non-profits get the most return for their paid media dollars.

Motor Carrier Safety - J.D. Newman, Inc.
J.D. Newman, Inc., of Elkwood (Culpepper County), uses modern equipment in their company vehicles to monitor safety mechanisms. Data is pulled from electronic logs and used to determine drivers' statuses on safety practices. The company rewards safe drivers with bonuses for meeting safety goals. In addition, employees are recognized during Truck Driver Appreciation Week. The company's safety efforts proved to be very rewarding in 2017. Out of 2.4 million miles driven, the company received top ratings when it came to roadside inspections, non-preventable crashes and weight compliance.

Motorcycle Safety - Ride 2 Save Lives, a program by the Virginia State Police 
The Ride 2 Save Lives is a free, interactive, motorcycle assessment and training course that the Virginia State Police created for all currently licensed motorcycle operators. The program is specifically designed to supplement the training and skills already acquired in order to obtain a Virginia Class M driver's license and/or by attending a Virginia Rider Training Program. With motorcycle registrations on the rise in recent years, Virginia State Police recognized an opportunity to go beyond its standard role of enforcement in its commitment to enhancing rider safety within the Commonwealth.

Occupant Protection - Dr. Kelli England Will, Eastern Virginia Medical School
Dr. Kelli England Will and her team have been creating and evaluating best practices for increasing booster seat use in Virginia for several years. The program - "Boost 'em in the Back Seat" - has become an important resource for parents and community stakeholders to motivate parents to take seriously the occupant protection needs of booster seat-aged children. The program includes a series of videos that are scientifically designed using best theories of behavior change. The latest videos have had nearly 10 million views.

Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety - Sherry Matthews Marketing, Washington, D.C. 
Sherry Matthews Marketing administers the Street Smart pedestrian and bicycle safety program in Northern Virginia. The Street Smart program includes paid advertising, grassroots outreach and high-visibility enforcement. The Street Smart program continues to make a difference in the pedestrian and bicycle safety arena through the dedication and commitment of the program's public relations firm, Sherry Matthews Marketing. Last year, the Sherry Matthews Marketing team worked especially hard to get messages out for as little money as possible. More than one million Virginians heard messaging publicized about the Street Smart program.

Public Transportation - SafeRides, James Madison University 
SafeRides provides a safe, reliable service within the Harrisonburg community by offering free rides to intoxicated students and/or students who are rendered incapable of driving due to other circumstances. SafeRides is a student run, non-profit organization. Members work to prevent impaired driving by educating JMU students, fundraising to help support the mission and providing free rides home for JMU students. Keeping impaired drivers off the roads benefits the entire community.

Pupil Transportation - Tanya Decker, York County Public Schools 
Tanya Decker, Transportation Supervisor, was instrumental in planning and implementing a school bus fire drill in which a school bus is filled with heavy smoke. Participants in the training learn how quickly conditions deteriorate and how visibility is severely affected. The training added a degree of realism to bus evacuation drills. Decker advocated for student safety stating that the standard school bus fire drills were not sufficient for students and bus drivers.

Youth Traffic Safety - Charles E. Alexander of Charlottesville 
Charles Alexander created the YOGO While Driving program which is a safe driving initiative that addresses anger, aggression and road rage. YOGO stands for "Yo, let it go." YOGO While Driving teaches teen drivers 13 steps to avoid conflict and/or confrontation. This initiative spreads positive messages of tolerance and self-discipline and reminds drivers to think before acting in any conflict.

DMV Commissioner's Special Achievement Award - Below 100 
The Below 100 program aims to reduce law enforcement officers' line of duty deaths to below 100, a number not the seen since 1943. Virginia has embraced the Below 100 effort to "Honor the Fallen by Training the Living." The Below 100 program's valuable training tools help law enforcement personnel continue keep communities safe and still go home to their families at the end of each shift.

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 congratulate the award recipients and are proud 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. "What these folks are doing is saving lives and, for that, we are very grateful."

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