Nancy Johnson, a founding member of Minnesotans for Safe Driving, was awarded the prestigious Katherine Swanson Outstanding Service Award for 2015 from the statewide TZD program. This award recognizes individuals who have shown exceptional leadership in efforts to improve traffic safety in Minnesota, build partnerships, and mentor others in the field. Recipients also have demonstrated a long-term passion, dedication, and commitment to reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes on Minnesota roads.
Nancy is considered one of the strongest advocates for public safety in Minnesota. She has been dedicated to this issue since the death of her 18 year old daughter Tina 31 years ago. In addition to her work with MSD, Nancy is an active member of the Minnesota DWI Taskforce. Nancy with Bill Lemons from the
Minnesota County Attorney’s Assoc.
She previously served on the state and national board of MADD and was a member and chair of Minnesota’s Victim Reparations Board.
As a volunteer with MSD, Nancy assisted victims of traffic crashes, provides training in death notification to law enforcement and others, speaks to groups and manages the MSD website. She also has strong relationships with members of the legislature in her capacity as a volunteer lobbyist and advocates for legal changes that promote public safety. For example, this year Nancy successfully lobbied on behalf of the DWI Task Force for the change in Minnesota’s alcohol enhancement level from .20 to .16, meeting with more than 60 legislators during the process. She also lobbied on behalf of Minnesotans for Safe Driving in 2014 to clarify the hit and Run statue which passed and this year also advocated for change to enhance the penalty for those that kill or seriously injure others in non-alcohol related crashes. This bill also passed this year after 10 years of lobbying.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving, Sharon Gehrman-Driscoll and Jon Cummings, were honored by the court for their time and support of the Hennepin County DWI Court at the ceremony recognizing the Hennepin County DWI Court as a National Academy Court. (see article on the DWI Court page)
Sharon, the Director/Victim Advocate of Minnesotans for Safe Driving has been an active member of the DWI Court Team from the beginning. Either Sharon or Jon attends the weekly DWI Court Team meetings and the Court sessions where the Team interacts directly with the offenders. Minnesotans for Safe Driving recognizes the obvious benefits of DWI Court and its process. We have observed the change in behavior of repeat alcohol offenders due to the daily supervision, treatment, and weekly meetings with the DWI Court Team. There have been many successes and personal achievements for these repeat DWI offenders which makes Minnesotans for Safe Driving honored to participate in this worthwhile project. (pictured is Sharon and Jon receiving their award from Dennis Miller, Problem Solving Court Coordinator)
MINNESOTA STATE PATROL HIGHLIGHTS 9-1-1 RADIO DISPATCHERS IN STOPPING IMPAIRED DRIVERS and MINNESOTANS for SAFE DRIVING HONORS TWO OF THESE OPERATORS
Troopers Encourage Motoring Public to Report Impaired Driving Behavior
Sarah Johnson, Deanna Othoudt from MSD, and Stacy Hass
The Minnesota State Patrol had a press conference in April highlighting the work of 9-1-1 radio dispatchers as an important tool in the fight against impaired driving. At this news conference in St. Paul, the traffic safety organization,Minnesotans for Safe Drivinghonored two State Patrol radio dispatchers for their outstanding service in the arrests of DWI drivers: Stacy Hass, a 10-year veteran and Sarah Johnson, a 9-year veteran of the agency. The dispatchers were recognized as a part ofNational Telecommunicators Week, April 10–16.
According to the State Patrol, 9-1-1 operators play a vital role in handling driver complaints, investigating those calls, and providing troopers with detailed information by monitoring traffic cameras to locate and track impaired drivers. In 2010, State Patrol dispatchers received 42,000 driver complaints, resulting in 662 DWI arrests. Each year in Minnesota, alcohol-related crashes account for more than 140 deaths and 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI.
“The value of the information dispatchers relay to troopers is immeasurable,” says State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. “They are a trooper’s extra set of eyes and ears, and they serve as a vital link between the public and our troopers on the road.” Roeske cites that information from citizens reporting unsafe driving is critical to stopping impaired drivers. The motoring public is encouraged to report impaired driving by calling 9-1-1. Those reporting should be prepared to provide a description of the vehicle — most importantly a license plate number — the location of the vehicle and description of the driver behavior. The State Patrol has 69 operators statewide.
Kathy Swanson Award
Cheri Marti , Director, Office of DPS, Sharon Gehrman-Driscoll, Jean Ryan, DPS Impaired driving coordinator and Michael Campion,
Sharon Gehrman Driscoll, director and victim advocate for Minnesotans for Safe Driving was awarded theKathy Swanson Outstanding Service Awardat the October 2010 statewide TZD conference. This conference is a partnership between the Departments of Transportation, Public Safety, Health and the Center for Transportation at the University of Minnesota to advocate for traffic safety, and “Towards Zero Deaths” TZD.
This prestigious award recognizes an individual or individuals who have shown exceptional leadership in efforts to improve traffic safety in Minnesota, build partnerships, and mentor others in the field. Recipients of this yearly award have demonstrated a long term passion, dedication, and commitment to reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes on Minnesota roads.
Sharon received this award because she has dedicated more than 26 years to improving traffic safety in Minnesota, including her work with Minnesotans for Safe Driving and MADD. She has promoted legislation involving Ignition Interlock, felony DWI, forfeiture, and vehicle impoundment; worked extensively as a victim advocate and with victim impact panels; and provided training opportunities to law enforcement and first responders. Over the years, Sharon has partnered with law enforcement, the Office of Traffic Safety, the Minnesota Legislature, the courts and many others to keep the public informed on traffic safety issues.
Sharon has received numerous awards for her dedication to traffic safety and the victims caused by unsafe driving. Her past awards are:
2008 Forst Lowery Award from the DWI Taskforce
2007 Kosiak Award for outstanding victim advocacy from the Office of Justice Programs
MN. Public Safety Award from North Memorial Hospital
Certificate of Appreciation from the Minnesota State Patrol
Woman of Achievement Award from the Twin Cities Chamber of Commerce