The National Safety Council (NSC) recently awarded Russell Henk, program manager for TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program, the organization’s 2015 Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award. Henk won the award for his “long-term commitment to reducing teen crashes through developing, nurturing and growing” Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS), the program Henk founded more than a decade ago.
TDS promotes awareness of the top five dangers of teen driving: driving at night; speeding and street racing; distractions, such as cell phones/texting and teen passengers; not wearing a seat belt; and alcohol/drug use. With the program’s resources and staff support, high schools undertake a variety of grassroots outreach activities throughout the year in their schools and communities to help create a traffic safety culture.
The citation by Kelly Nantel, vice president of communications and advocacy for NSC, specifically mentions how Henk and TDS championing teen driving safety “directly effects change in both behavior and perception.”
“We know those efforts save lives and prevent injuries on our nation’s roadways,” says Nantel. “The research component of TDS—that is, being able to measure its effectiveness with teens over time—was vitally important to Mr. Henk’s receiving this award. That kind of measurement is imperative in our ongoing efforts to curb teen driver crashes and save lives.”
Each year the NSC bestows awards on individuals and organizations who’ve proven they’re making a real difference in improving driving habits among teens. Winners of the 2015 awards received their awards in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 26 at the annual Defensive Driving Courses banquet, part of the 2015 NSC Congress & Expo.
“Receiving this award is both humbling and thrilling,” says Henk. “It’s a great tribute that I must share with the entire TDS team, with whom I am so blessed to work. Validation of our collective accomplishments by such a well-respected organization on a national stage is pretty incredible, but knowing we’ve saved lives is the most rewarding aspect of all.”