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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 during the prior calendar year by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, government agencies, universities or programs. About Peter K. O'Rourke

2005 Winner: The Clermont County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office

GHSA Highway Safety Awards

Lt. Randy Harvey

In the past year, the Clermont County Sheriff's Office has taken many strides in reducing teenage driving fatalities. Before 2005, Clermont County had the most rural crashes and the seventh most DUI offenses involving underage drivers in Ohio. In 2001, the county experienced 10 teenage fatalities, with little improvement in subsequent years. The Clermont County Juvenile Court heard 2,400 traffic cases that year. Eighty percent of these cases involved driver speeds of 20 miles per hour over the limit.

The Last Chance educational program was designed to counter the growing problem of high risk youthful drivers by targeting repeat offenders ages 16 to 24. The program identifies specific high risk offenders, develops traffic targeted prevention messages and involves the driver and parents as well as a mental health care professional in an intervention.

Last Chance is an interactive learning experience where teenagers come to recognize their destructive driving habits and reckless attitude. A mental health professional from Child Focus, Inc. conducts a two-hour session with the teenager and parents, engaging the family in trust issues, discussing the role of the parent in a child's early driving experience and exploring how reckless driving affects everyone surrounding the driver. A review of the youthful repeat offender's traffic record is conducted three months after the program and again at six months.

Currently, 1,800 teenagers have participated in the program. Eighty percent have yet to have a repeat offense after the six-month monitoring phase is complete. Last Chance not only improves highway safety among teenage drivers, but funds generated from program fees help support other traffic safety initiatives.

For more information please contact Lt. Randy Harvey at rharvey@co.clermont.oh.us.