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City's responsible driving program earns state's top award

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The methods the City of Greer Police Department uses to help educate young drivers earned their own reward Tuesday when the Alive at 25 program and SIDNE go-kart training tool won the 2012 Municipal Association of South Carolina Achievement Award for Public Safety.

“The MASC Achievement Awards annually highlight the most innovative programs in South Carolina. It’s highly competitive and we’re thrilled that the judges have honored the City of Greer’s program to curtail distracted and impaired driving,” City Administrator Ed Driggers said. Driggers made the announcement tonight at the City Council meeting.

Judging criteria included innovation, efficient use of resources, effective use of partnerships, quantifiable results, role in the city’s overall vision and adaptability to other municipalities.  Greer's entry was for public safety. Other categories were communications, economic development and public service or public safety.

In addition to a written submission, the category divisions require an oral presentation about an entry. "We had 20 minutes for an oral presentation and 10 minutes for questions and answers," city Communications Director Steve Owens said. Owens, Sgt. Chad Richardson and Riverside High School Athletic Director Stephanie Smith made the presentation. Smith invited the city to bring SIDNE to Riverside last month.

"Stephanie told the judges that the teens reacted as if a lightbulb was going off as they talked about distractions while driving," Richardson said. 

The City of Greer implemented Alive at 25, a one-day interactive driver education program, in 1999 to target drivers in the 15-24 age group. Led by Cpl. Brenda Veach, the class bluntly addresses the consequences of making bad decisions while driving. Any student who desires to purchase a parking pass at Riverside High School must attend an Alive at 25 class.

To complement the program, Greer partnered in 2011 with Duncan and Lyman to purchase the Simulated Impaired Driving Experience (SIDNE) package that puts young people behind the wheel of a specially-designed go-kart. With the aid of trained instructor Richardson who is able to remotely interrupt the controls, SIDNE gives the driver a safe but effective experience of the potential dangers of driving impaired or distracted.

Alive at 25 and SIDNE combine to deliver an interactive classroom and field experience.

“Public safety is not only the number one goal of our police department, but it is a key element of the City of Greer’s strategic plan,” Police Chief Dan Reynolds said.  “Preserving the lives of young people with teaching tools that ideally will instill safe driving skills for a lifetime promotes a higher quality of life for all in the community.”

The 2012 awards will be presented during the Municipal Association’s annual meeting June 28 – July 1.

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Ed Driggers

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City of Greer

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