Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards

O'Rourke 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, media, government agencies, universities, or programs. Submissions may include traffic safety programs, plans or legislation in areas including – but not limited to – occupant protection, impaired driving, speeding or aggressive driving, driver distraction, law enforcement, traffic records, emergency medical services and bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian safety.

Nominations for the 2019 O'Rourke Awards closed April 12, 2019. The award will be presented on Tuesday, August 27 at the GHSA 2019 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California.

Peter K. O'Rourke

About Peter K. O'Rourke (1943 - 1996)

Peter K. O'Rourke, past GHSA chairman and highway safety leader, began his career as a California highway patrolman, where he witnessed the devastating consequences of vehicle crashes first-hand. He served to make highways safer through many roles. He was director of the California Office for Traffic Safety under two governors and was instrumental in the passage of several important pieces of safety legislation. The national respect gained from his commitment to highway safety led O'Rourke to be elected chairman of GHSA by his peers. After leaving state government, he served as vice president of The Century Council, where he worked on prevention of underage drinking and drunk driving.

Past Winners

Washington Regional Alcohol Program

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP) SoberRide program has increased the number of safe rides home in the Washington, D.C. area to record setting levels by removing tens of thousands of potential drunk drivers from the region’s roadways.


Grim Reaper

The South Dakota Office of Highway Safety’s “Jim Reaper” campaign is a marketing strategy designed to keep drivers safe by reminding them that death is always waiting for them to slip up.


Montana FCCLA

The Montana Family, Career and Community Leaders of America’s (FCCLA) Traffic Safety Program is leading the way in saving lives in rural communities across the state.


Connecticut Judicial Branch Superior Court Operations On Line Adjudications

The Connecticut Superior Court’s Online Adjudication System enables individuals who plead “not guilty” to a traffic infraction to participate in the court process electronically, rather than be required to physically appear in court.


The Deutscher Family

Tom and Arlene Deutscher and Donna and Lynn Mickelson are the parents of a young couple, Aaron and Allison Deutscher, who – along with their daughter Brielle and an unborn child – were killed by a drunk driver in a crash on North Dakota roads in July 2012.


New York State Pedestrian Safety Action Plan

The New York State Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is an ambitious partnership of the New York State departments of health and transportation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to protect the state’s most vulnerable road users.


Renew Atlanta

The City of Atlanta’s innovative North Avenue Smart Corridor pilot project uses technology, data and partnerships to address traffic and the related mobility and safety challenges along a busy urban artery.


Watch for Me NC

Education and enforcement are at the core of nearly all successful traffic safety programs.


Teen Driver Impact Program

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds, and teens are more likely than adults to be involved in a fatal crash. That is why it is critical to identify and recognize programs that help teens make better decisions behind the wheel.


Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office

Traffic-related incidents are one of the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers each year.


Texas Municipal Traffic Safety Initiatives

Texas Municipal Traffic Safety Initiatives (MTSI) was established in 2008 to strengthen the ability of municipal courts to combat impaired driving.


North Carolina Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking

In 2013, underage drinking cost the citizens of North Carolina $1.3 billion for medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering associated with the use of alcohol by youth.


New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee

As the problem of drugged driving continues to grow, law enforcement officers need tools to help them evaluate impaired motorists, as well as data to help them better understand where to focus enforcement efforts.


Connecticut DOT

A May 2012 assessment of Connecticut's Crash Data Improvement Program (CDIP) was the impetus that spurred the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s (CTDOT) Crash Data and Analysis and Highway Safety Offices, together with the University of Connecticut (UConn) School of Engineering, to collab


Walk Smart

Ocean City, Maryland, is a small island community where the population swells from nearly 7,100 off-season residents to 400,000 people each week in the summer. The beach community hosts more than 8 million visitors each year.