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 2021 O'Rourke Awards must be submitted online by April 16, 2021. The award will be presented on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at the GHSA 2021 Annual Meeting in Denver.

Peter K. O'Rourke

About Peter K. O'Rourke (1943–1996)

Peter K. O'Rourke, past GHSA Chair and highway safety leader, began his career as a California highway patrolman, where he witnessed the devastating consequences of vehicle crashes firsthand. 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 Chair 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
North Carolina’s Watch for Me NC program is a comprehensive effort to reduce bicyclist and pedestrian deaths.

Teen Driver Impact Program
Mississippi’s Teen Driver Impact Program has an innovative method that not only trains teens on how to drive safely.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office made driving and traffic safety a priority leading to a significant reduction in traffic-, pursuit-, and collision-related injuries and damages.

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
North Carolina's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission created the North Carolina Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking.

New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee
In New York, officers who are Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) can now use tablet computers to enter their observations and assessments of persons suspected of drugged driving.

Connecticut DOT
The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s (CTDOT) Crash Data and Analysis and Highway Safety Offices collaborated with the UConn School of Engineering to improve the quality and accessibility of the state’s crash data.

Walk Smart
Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) spearheaded the Walk Smart program, a collaborative approach to reducing the number of pedestrian crashes.