Five highway safety statewide award winners and 14 regional award winners were given recognition at the 2018 Highway Safety and Traffic Blueprint Conference recently held in Columbia. The conference is organized by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, whose goal is to reduce fatalities and disabling injuries on Missouri roads. “We very much appreciate the efforts of all who are involved to encourage safe driving, and we will continue to work towards the ultimate goal of losing zero lives on Missouri roads,” said Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood.
The statewide Arrive Alive Award was presented to Eddie Watkins, Jr., a senior traffic studies specialist with the Missouri Department of Transportation in St. Louis. As an engineer, he focuses on continuously learning and developing best practices. Yet, he doesn’t stop there. He seeks out and is successful in finding funding opportunities. He helps implement and coordinate public engagement and was instrumental in the award winning Natural Bridge Road Safety Audit team. The award recognizes an individual or group who has shown exemplary dedication and leadership in the first of highway safety. It is the highest award given by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.
The statewide Tempe Humphrey Award was presented to Penny Lorenz-Anderson, assistant director with the ThinkFirst Missouri program. This award recognizes an individual or group who has made a significant impact in the area of youth or teen safety. It was named for a former Division of Highway Safety employee who created and implemented the statewide Team Spirit program to engage high school students in the process of safe driving. Tempe was killed in 2006 in a motorcycle crash. As an unbelted teen who survived a car crash, Lorenz-Anderson was left with a spinal cord injury that paralyzed her from the waist down. She has been in her position for 33 years, and it is clear for many who have heard one of the presentations she has given, she cares about young people and making the right choices when it comes to safe driving.
The statewide Lay Down the Law Award was presented to Sergeant Scott Roach with the St. Louis County Police Department. This award recognizes an individual or group who has substantially advanced highway safety in Missouri. This event started eight years ago as a way for law enforcement officers to “ give back” to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). This event was Sgt. Roach’s vision, and because of his vision, passion, tenacity, the statewide event is now become more of a national event. This year, New York and Illinois both participated.
The statewide Safety Neer (Engineering) Award was presented to the Missouri Department of Transportation’s St. Louis Traffic Department for their successful efforts to reduce wrong-way crashes. This statewide award recognizes an engineer(s)/team who has incorporated a unique or proven safety feature in a highway project that has resulted in reduced fatalities. The team targeted freeways, reviewed crash reports and plotted locations where they could implement the Enhanced Wrong-Way Blinker Sign, which is a common starting point for wrong-way driver prevention. It’s been four years since the installation of several of these and there has been a significant reduction in serious and fatal crashes on those freeways.
The statewide Show-Me Safety Award was presented to the Missouri Department of Transportation St. Louis City Area Team for their Natural Bridge Road Safety Audit. This statewide award recognizes an individual or group for a particular event which helped promote safe driving in Missouri. Using Missouri’s Blueprint for Safer Roadways as a guide to reduce a high concentration of automobile crashes, high pedestrian crashes with fatalities, and excessive traveling speed of vehicles on a particular road, the St. Louis Area Team pulled out all the stops to make improvements on Natural Bridge Road or Missouri Route 115. Educational outreach programs, public service messages, and a road safety audit are only a few pieces that have been achieved to implement these changes. The partnership with local law enforcement and designating the area of Travel Safe Zone have already helped with the improvements.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety consists of seven regions, who work closely with communities to identify opportunities to reduce fatalities and disabling injuries on Missouri roads. Each region selected an Arrive Alive Award recipient and a Show-Me Safety Award” recipient. The Kansas City Regional recipients are as follows:
Kansas City Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is Platte County Health Department whose programmed initiative to prevent unintentional injuries among children and teens has touched nearly 6000 students in Platte County.
Kansas City Regional Show-Me Safety Award winner is the Young Traffic Offender’s Program administered by Sergeant Collin Stosberg and Sergeant Bill Lowe with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. They work closely with the ThinkFirst chapter and collaborate with many other organizations to facilitate this court-ordered program, which helps young offenders understand the impact unsafe driving has on families.
These awards are presented every two years and led by several active members of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. More information about the Coalition can be found online at www.savemolives.com.