Statewide Toward Zero Deaths program has helped to reduce fatalities on Minnesota roads by 3% since 2011
Ten individuals and organizations were recognized by the Minnesota departments of health, public safety and transportation at the statewide Toward Zero Deaths conference for their efforts to reduce the number of traffic deaths and serious injuries in the state. Road fatalities have decreased by 45% since the program began in 2003.
About 1,000 traffic safety professionals attended this year’s TZD conference October 23-24 in Mankato.
“TZD is a tremendous asset to the state in reducing traffic deaths,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “The individuals and organizations honored this year for their work are making a difference to save lives and reduce serious injuries on our roadways.”
The awards are given annually to individuals and organizations in Minnesota that show excellence in TZD’s emphasis areas of enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, engineering, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. They have shown their leadership and creative capacities to improve traffic safety throughout the state and build partnerships.
“Some people may think that aiming for zero deaths on Minnesota roads is not a reasonable goal, but we’re making progress,” said Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman. “I’m proud of our statewide traffic safety partners and TZD award winners for seeing that vision and working every day to turn it into reality. Minnesotans are listening and increasingly making safe choices on the road.”
“Crashes are a leading cause of injury and death in Minnesota, and as with other public health concerns the best solutions require cooperation across sectors,” said Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “I continue to be impressed with what we can accomplish when we work together to prevent crashes and improve health outcomes for those who are injured.”
Mark Peterson, current public affairs specialist for AAA who worked for the Minnesota State Patrol for 25 years, received the Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award. He received TZD’s top honor for his exceptional leadership to improve traffic safety in Minnesota, build partnerships and mentor others in the field.
Twin Cities Metro area award winners
• Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award – Mark Peterson, Hopkins
• Child Passenger Safety Star Award – Karri Hendrickson, Maple Grove
• Distinguished Public Leadership Award – Lisa Kons, Cottage Grove
• Enforcement Star Award – Kevin Otto, Maplewood
Greater Minnesota award winners
• Emergency and Trauma Services Star Award – Amy Saylor, Hill City
• Engineering Star Award – Richard Sanders, Crookston
• Judicial and Court System Star Award – Abby Kuschel, Grand Rapids
• Education Award – Jeff Strom, Albert Lea
• Traffic Innovation Award – Bemidji Area Schools
• Special Award of Recognition – Emily Steffens, Dodge Center