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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

2006 Winner: Meharry–State Farm Alliance

GHSA Highway Safety Awards

Meharry-State Farm

The Meharry–State Farm Alliance (MSFA) was established in 2002 to reduce the large number of injuries and deaths among African American motorists by eliminating racial disparities in safety belt use. Four strategic objectives were implemented including public policy, national leadership, education and research.

The Alliance aimed to assist state legislators working to pass primary enforcement safety belt legislation. Their efforts focused on providing legislators with scientifically-valid data underscoring the pivotal role of primary laws in reducing motor vehicle crash morbidity and mortality and on helping legislators address concerns about racial profiling by law enforcement offices when a primary bill passes.

MSFA's education and public awareness initiatives are community focused. The Metropolitan Urban Demonstration Project, Teen Occupant Protection Project and Children Are Restrained for Safety (CARS) Program are a few of the ways the Alliance educates the community regarding safety. In addition to these programs, MSFA publishes a biweekly electronic newsletter titled, "The Alliance Alert" and sponsors family health and safety days as well as teen service-learning projects.

MSFA has focused on bridging an almost complete gap in knowledge about racial and ethnic differences in factors influencing safety belt use. This knowledge provides a critical foundation for implementing successful interventions to eliminate racial disparities in safety belt use and ultimately to eliminate racial disparities in motor vehicle crash morbidity and mortality.

The efforts made by the Meharry-State Farm Alliance resulted in safety belt use as a community-wide priority, a greater educational reach into communities, expansion of allies in the policy arena and a strengthened community infrastructure.

For more information, contact Irwin Goldzweig at igoldzweig@mmc.edu or (615) 327-6142.