FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2006
Contact: Jonathan Adkins, (202)789-0942
Meharry-State Farm Alliance Honored by the Governors Highway Safety Association
Alliance receives award for its work to improve highway safety, encourage seat belt use and reduce injuries and deaths among African-American motorists
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has presented the Meharry-State Farm Alliance with the Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award in recognition of the Alliance's work to improve roadway safety, encourage seat belt use and reduce the number of injuries and deaths among African-American motorists. Nominated for the award by the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office, the Meharry-State Farm Alliance received this recognition at the GHSA's Annual meeting in Oklahoma City.
"We are delighted to have been presented with this special award," said Irwin Goldzweig of the Meharry-State Farm Alliance. "Seat belt use is a vital part of keeping our roadways safe. Understanding patterns of seatbelt use, providing government officials and community leaders with useful data, and creating tailored programs to encourage greater seat belt use is the hallmark of the Meharry-State Farm Alliance. We thank the GHSA for this great recognition."
The annual special achievement award is named for Peter K. O'Rourke, a past GHSA chairman and leader in highway safety. O'Rourke was director of the California Office of Traffic Safety under two governors and was instrumental in the passage of several important pieces of safety legislation. After leaving state government, he served as vice president of The Century Council, where he worked to prevent underage drinking and drunk driving.
The Meharry-State Farm Alliance was established in 2002 to promote seat belt use among African Americans and reduce fatalities, injuries, and economic costs associated with motor vehicle crashes. As part of its efforts, the Alliance has partnered with national, state and local governments and organizations as well as academic institutions and community leaders to raise awareness of racial disparities in seat belt use, pass primary enforcement seat belt legislation in several states, and create community-focused education and public awareness campaigns to encourage seat belt use.
The Meharry-State Farm Alliance's work is centered in four primary areas: public policy, national leadership, education, and research. Key Alliance accomplishments for 2005 include:
- Public policy: Provided legislators in CO, FL, MA, MS, SC, and WI with data underscoring the pivotal role of primary seat belt laws in reducing death and injury due to motor vehicle crashes. Mississippi and South Carolina enacted primary enforcement legislation and Florida passed it for motorists up to age 18.
- National leadership: Promoted the use of seat belts and child passenger safety seats through research, education, and public awareness.
- Seat Belt Champion Awards presented to legislators in South Carolina
- Family Health & Safety Days
- Teen service-learning programs
- Metropolitan Urban Demonstration Project
- Research: Prepared research papers for peer-reviewed publications, including:
- "The Fatality Analysis Reporting System As A Tool For Investigating Racial And Ethnic Determinants Of Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities" (Accident Analysis & Prevention)
- "Seat Belt Law Enforcement and Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities Among Blacks and Whites in Louisiana and Mississippi" (Southern Medical Journal)
- "Seat Belt Law Enforcement and Racial Disparities in Seat Belt Use" (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
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About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.
About the Meharry-State Farm Alliance
The Meharry-State Farm Alliance is a joint venture of Meharry Medical College, a historically black academic health center in Nashville, Tenn., and State Farm, which insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 69,000 employees serve nearly 73 million auto, fire and health policies in the United States and Canada.