Andrea Gierok wins Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Education Star Award
ROCHESTER, Minn. – A local health educator is the recipient of the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Star Award in Education.
Andrea Gierok, health educator from Winona County Community Services, won the TZD Education Star Award, at the statewide TZD conference mid-November in St. Cloud, where more than 900 traffic safety professionals gathered.
Andrea Gierok works as the TZD Safe Roads coordinator for Winona County. Her accomplishments include leading the charge to set up a parent night at driver education programs in southeast Minnesota by helping establish a pilot project at several area driving schools in Winona and Wabasha Counties. She developed materials, helped create an evaluation and participated as a presenter.
In the past two years, about 800 students and parents have been educated about teen driving risks, Graduated Driver’s License requirements, and the importance of parents' involvement in enforcing teen driving restrictions. More than half of those parents reported an increase in their knowledge of and confidence in Minnesota's teen driving laws after attending the class.
“Andrea has also promoted this effort to the other TZD Safe Roads coordinators in the southeast region; they then began similar parent classes, said Kristine Hernandez, State Toward Zero Deaths coordinator. “Other regions have also used this format as a foundation for similar parent education programs, which is an effective countermeasure for helping new teen drivers.”
Past Recipients include: Gail Weinholzer, AAA Minnesota-Iowa (2012); Bryan Carey, Minnesota State Patrol (2011); Dan Schoonhoven, Moorhead Fire Department (2010); Joseph Grafft, Metropolitan State University (2009); and Cheryl Bisping, Mesabi Safe Communities Coalition (2008).
The Toward Zero Deaths Star Awards are given annually to recognize excellence in engineering, enforcement, judicial/court systems, education, emergency medical and trauma services, child passenger safety, media and distinguished public leadership.
Award recipients have demonstrated exceptional creativity, leadership and organizational skills as well as the ability to successfully collaborate with and motivate others in efforts to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on Minnesota roads.
The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program is an interdisciplinary partnership between the Departments of Health, Transportation and Public Safety. This collaboration began 10 years ago and since then has assisted in decreasing roadway fatalities by nearly half.
A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.
You can learn more about TZD at: www.minnesotatzd.org/