by Samantha Atchison
The Teens in the Driver Seat® program has been honored with a 2011 highway safety award from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award.
The Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Awards “recognize notable achievements in the field of highway safety by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, government agencies, universities or programs.” The award was presented to Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT’s) Director of Traffic Safety Terry Pence during a ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 27. TxDOT has supported the program since its creation in 2002.
In pointing out the accomplishments of the program, the GHSA news release stated, “Teens in the Driver Seat has had a strong positive impact in Texas, and its influence is beginning to be felt in other states. Since the program’s inception in 2002, Texas has seen a 40 percent decrease in the frequency of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes.”
Teens in the Driver Seat was recognized last year in the GHSA’s Guidebook for State Highway Safety Offices, National Best Practices Guide and is a six-time national award winning program.
Russell Henk, Director of the Teens in the Driver Seat program has also recently accepted a nomination to be on the GHSA/State Farm Teen Driving Expert Panel. The panel was formed to oversee a GHSA case study on teen driving. State Farm Insurance has been a sponsor of the program since 2007.