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Oct.17, 2022

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Toward Zero Deaths honors Mary Erickson with TZD Star award

Mary Erickson, Renville County safe roads coalition coordinator, standing holding award in front of Minnesota Toward Zero Death sign.Mary Erickson, Renville County safe roads coalition coordinator

Wilmar, Minn. —Mary Erickson, Renville County safe roads coalition coordinator, was among the 11 individuals and one organization honored by the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program for her work to save lives through improved traffic safety efforts

The awards were announced at the 2022 Statewide Toward Zero Deaths Conference in St. Cloud. The prestigious traffic safety awards recognize excellence and innovation in reducing the number of life-changing crashes and improving traffic safety on Minnesota roads. They are presented annually by the Minnesota departments of health, public safety and transportation. Nearly 900 traffic safety professionals attended this year’s TZD conference.

Erickson received the TZD Education Star Award. Erickson has  demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the many communities she serves in Renville County, and elsewhere, to share traffic safety education.

Among other efforts, Mary has united committees of engineers and law enforcement to tackle at-risk corridors and intersections with her gift of bringing people together for the greater good.

“Mary takes it upon herself to support not only the TZD Safe Roads coalition she has built and leads to provide support, her time – often using her personal funds – to provide diverse resources to all TZD Safe Roads coalitions throughout the state,” said Melissa Hjelle, TZD regional coordinator, southwest Minnesota TZD regional coordinator.

TZD Star Awards are given annually to individuals and organizations in Minnesota that show excellence in TZD’s emphasis areas of enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, engineering, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. They have shown their leadership and creative capacities in efforts to improve traffic safety throughout the state and build partnerships.

“Mary thrives when creating a culture of traffic safety and has never let her passion falter,” said Kristine Hernandez, statewide TZD program coordinator. “When individuals were not connecting in typical ways, Mary created safe and effective means to reach her neighbors and partners to continue sharing the TZD message.”

More details on each award, along with more information and photos of each award winner, can found on the 2022 TZD Awards website.

The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program is an interdisciplinary partnership led by the state departments of health, transportation and public safety. This collaboration began in 2003 and has worked to reduce roadway fatalities by 25 percent.

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 driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response — and everyone doing the right thing when driving.

The Southwest Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program brings area law enforcement, public health educators, engineers and emergency medical and trauma services together to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and severe injuries to zero in southeast Minnesota. The southwest area encompasses:  Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties.