NCDOT’s Watch for Me Safety Initiative Receives Peter K. O’Rourke Achievement Award Tuesday, September 19, 2017

RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Watch for Me program today was awarded the Governor’s Highway Safety Association’s Peter O’Rourke Special Achievement Award. The award is in recognition of the program’s efforts to educate the public about bicycle and pedestrian safety, while also training law enforcement officers to apply existing laws.

The Watch for Me NC program, which began in 2012, directs safety and educational messages toward drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, along with enforcement efforts by area police to crack down on violations of traffic safety laws. As part of the effort, communities that apply and are invited to become partners receive additional support and training from NCDOT. Communities also receive technical assistance, materials and paid advertising to help raise public awareness about important pedestrian and bicycle safety issues.

“We’re honored that Watch for Me NC’s safety and awareness efforts are being recognized,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Mark Ezzell. “This program has turned training, enforcement and education into real-life results that are keeping pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers safe across our state.”

The program reached its highest level of participation to date in 2017 with 32 community programs encompassing more than 140 individual agencies or departments. A preliminary analysis of crash trends in the Watch for Me NC pilot region (Orange, Durham, and Wake counties) showed a five percent reduction in the average pedestrian and bicycle crash rate in the after the pilot (2012-2014) compared to before (2009 to 2011).

The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award recognizes notable achievements in the field of highway safety by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, media, government agencies, universities or programs. It is named for Peter K. O'Rourke, who was instrumental in the passage of several important pieces of safety legislation in California before being elected GHSA chairman.

The UNC Highway Safety Research Center provides technical support with campaign implementation and evaluation. To learn what communities have done to improve safety, visit: www.watchformenc.org/about/partner-community-profiles.

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Interim Bicycle and Pedestrian Division Director and Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator Ed Johnson accepts the Peter O'Rourke Award. Photo credit: Governor''s Highway Safety Association

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