JEFFERSON CITY – Five highway safety statewide award winners and 13 regional award winners were given recognition at the 2016 Traffic Safety and Blueprint Conference recently held in Columbia. The conference is organized by the Missouri Coalition of 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 toward the ultimate goal of losing zero lives on Missouri roads,” said Bill Whitfield, director of highway safety for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The statewide Arrive Alive Award was presented to Roger Mauzy, Sr., former Warren County coroner and presiding commissioner, for his efforts to have guard cable installed along Interstate 70 in the mid-2000’s. 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. Prior to statewide concentrated efforts on reducing fatalities and disabling injuries, prior to the formation of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, there was someone who was already passionate about saving lives – especially in his “back yard.” As Warren County coroner, Mauzy had seen too many crossover accidents on Interstate 70 in his county. His persistence to install guard cable along I-70 medians became reality in 2002. As a result of his efforts, MoDOT believes there have been more than 300 lives saved since the final installation on all interstates.
The statewide Tempe Humphrey Award was presented to Sgt. Larry Stobbs with the St. Joseph Police Department. 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. Stobbs is a 28-year veteran of the St. Joseph Police Department. He has worked hard with the local drug-free coalition to develop a local ordinance requiring persons that sell alcohol in St. Joseph to obtain mandatory responsible beverage server training. Over 8,000 employees have completed the two-hour training since the start of the program in 2008. He also coordinates the youth alcohol enforcement efforts in the region including the alcohol compliance inspections. Since 2007, they have conducted 3,962 compliance checks for alcohol. Most counties in the region had a compliance rate under 50 percent on their initial checks; and by the end of 2015, the compliance rate had gone up to almost 90 percent.
The statewide Lay Down the Law Award was presented to the Midland Empire Task Force, based in northwest Missouri. This award recognizes an individual or group who has substantially advanced highway safety in Missouri. This task force was created in 2007 with the St. Joseph Police Department, Buchanan County Sheriff, Missouri Western State University Police Department and the St. Joseph Youth Alliance. It covers 15 counties in northwest Missouri, assisting law enforcement agencies with unlicensed liquor establishment complaint and problem bars that fail to close on time or have a history of fights or excessive drinking. Their most important function is to reduce underage drinking and driving incidents by a variety of programs including compliance checks. In 2015, the task force conducted 599 compliance inspections and obtained an 89.8% compliance rate.
The inaugural statewide Safety Neer (Engineering) Award was presented to Keith Killen, a professional engineer with Missouri Department of Transportation’s Northeast District. 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. While the j-turn intersection design has proven to save lives, they are not popular with drivers in Missouri. There has been significant negative feedback prior to their construction, and when Killen led a project team to improve two intersections on a four-lane expressway in Northeast Missouri (U.S. 63) by installing J-turns, he got double the feedback. However, his professionalism and convincing, sincere mannerisms helped many of the customers accept the design and eventual construction, and now drivers are successfully using these safe intersections. Prior to the project, the intersections had experienced numerous severe crashes, including five fatalities. In the two years following the installation of J-turns, the intersections have had no severe or fatal crashes.
The statewide Show-Me Safety Award was presented to the MoDOT Traffic Incident Management Coalition. This statewide award recognizes an individual or group for a particular event which helped promote safe driving in Missouri. This training coalition has helped promote safe driving by training 7,346 of the estimated 31,000 statewide emergency responders how to safely manage traffic incidents. The unique training for first responders promotes a shared understanding of the requirements for safe, quick clearance at traffic incident scenes; prompt, reliable and open communications; and motorist and responder safeguards. Through traffic incident management training, this coalition helps improve traffic incident response.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety oversees 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. They are as follows:
Northwest Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is the Midland Empire Alcohol Task Force for their efforts to reduce underage drinking and drunk driving in northwest Missouri.
Northwest Regional Show-Me Safety Award winner is Shannon Hutcherson, a registered nurse, who has led several docudramas for events and schools throughout northwest Missouri.
Northeast Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is Stacy Corbin, R.N., a nurse and certified child passenger technician for the Macon County Health Department, for her efforts to educate parents and children about the importance of being properly restrained.
Northeast Regional Show-Me Safety Award winner is Dustin Betz, a former Bowling Green High School student who organized a mock DWI crash at the school in 2016, his senior year.
Kansas City Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is Rocky Duff, a safety advocate in the region. The Kansas City Region did not have a Show-Me Safety Award winner.
Central Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is Sgt. Scott White with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was cited as being caring and compassionate while sharing the importance message of safe driving to audiences of all ages.
Central Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is Robbie Pace-Courtwright, who presents to various organizations throughout Missouri, including offenders in prison, is the MADD Central MO Chapter President and is the Volunteer Coordinator for the central Missouri Victim Impact Panels (VIP) in Jefferson City. Her brother, Duane Pace, was killed while conducting signage work at a MODOT construction site in Ozark about fourteen years ago.
St. Louis Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is TyRRED, an acronym for Tyler Raising Education/Awareness for Driving Drowsy. This is a partnership between the Warne family, who lost their 18 year old son, Tyler, to a car crash attributed to drowsy driving, and the Clayton Sleep Institute. Their presentation has been given all over the country about the dangers of this impairment.
St. Louis Regional Show-Me Safety Award winner is the Work Zone 5K and 1 mile fun run/walk for their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of driving safely through highway work zones.
Southwest Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is Bruce Pettus, incident management coordinator for MoDOT’s Southwest District, for his efforts to assist motorists in times of need.
Southwest Regional Show-Me Safety Award winner is Shaulene Frock, motorcycle awareness coordinator for Freedom of Road Riders, for her efforts to address the issues of rider awareness and taking responsibility for you by presenting to many groups all over the region.
Southeast Regional Arrive Alive Award winner is Deputy Joey Bruner with the Ripley County Sheriff’s Department for his efforts to gain full financial support to fund safety programs in Ripley, Butler and Wayne County schools and other events.
Southeast Regional Show-Me Safety Award winner is the Butler County Community Resource Council, a partnership who organizes an annual event called “Risky Business” for area high school seniors.
These awards are presented every two years and are 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. Photos of award winners are also posted there.