Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Jan. 1, 2018

Toward Zero Deaths honors Polk County Engineer

MANKATO, Minn. – Richard Sanders, Polk County engineer, was among the 10 individuals and organizations honored by the state departments of health, public safety and transportation for improving traffic safety under the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program. The awards were announced at the statewide TZD conference Oct. 23-24 in Mankato.

Sanders received the Engineering Star Award. 

TZD Star Awards are given annually to recognize those who display excellence in enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, engineering, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. They have shown leadership and creativity in efforts to improve traffic safety throughout the state and build partnerships with others working towards the same goal.              

Sanders is a founding member of the Polk County Toward Zero Deaths coalition. He advocates on a local and state level to key decision makers and stakeholders on behalf of county transportation infrastructure. He is a strong supporter of TZD’s four Es, which are enforcement, engineering, education and emergency medical and trauma services. He was instrumental in assuring that the Buckle Up messaging is broadcast throughout Polk County and makes it a priority message on all roads leaving the county.

Sanders was the first person to recommend to TZD partners that communities requesting a road closure for community events serving alcohol to think about the TZD mission and to ensure people arrive home safely. He encouraged communities to have a plan for a sober ride home when these road closures occur and also for the establishment serving at the event to receive Responsible Beverage Server Training.    

Saunders currently is president of the National Association of County Engineers and is on the Minnesota Local Technical Assistance program steering committee. He chaired the Minnesota Local Research Board for three years and was president of the Minnesota County Engineers Association.
The Minnesota TZD program is an interdisciplinary partnership with the state departments of health, transportation and public safety.

Learn more about TZD, including a full list of award recipients, at www.minnesotatzd.org.