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2011 Alcohol Interlock Symposium Update - TIRF announces Gerald Waters from New Zealand as the 2011 Barry Sweedler Award recipient

Ward Vanlaar (TIRF), Kathy Stewart (Nominee), Harry Anderson (Nominee), Steve Luce (Nominee), Gerald Waters (2011 Recipient), Susan McKinney (Nominee), Erin Holmes (TIRF), Robyn Roberston (TIRF). Absent - Bob Maccarone, Secretary of State Jesse White The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is pleased to announce this year’s Barry Sweedler Award recipient, Mr. Gerald Waters. The announcement was made during the awards dinner at last week's 2011 Alcohol Interlock Symposium in Palm Springs, California. As part of the award, Mr. Waters received a special stipend to support his travel to and participation at the Symposium.

Mr. Waters is a road safety advocate from New Zealand, who after losing a friend in 2010 to a repeat drunk driver, wrote to New Zealand’s Justice Minister asking for a review of the justice system’s handling of drunk driving offenders. Later that year, Mr. Waters appeared before a parliamentary select committee and spoke of the need to do more to address recidivist drunk drivers and the impaired driving problem in New Zealand. Mr. Waters provided a voice for victims both living and deceased and was featured in the media for his participation in the committee hearings as well as his commentary on the trial of the repeat drunk driver who had killed his friend.

Although not an academic by trade, after learning more about alcohol and drug impaired driving and consulting with recognized experts and professionals around the world, he wrote a paper in 2011, entitled The Case of Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts in New Zealand, highlighting the connection between drugs and alcohol and a majority of crime in New Zealand. He further emphasized the value of alcohol interlocks as part of the solution, and the need for collaboration between New Zealand political parties on initiatives to address the problem. He also advocated for greater public education on the issue and ways that the public can be part of the solution.  

It is Mr. Waters' unwavering drive for knowledge on and understanding of the issue of impaired driving, promotion of evidence-based solutions such as alcohol interlocks, and his pursuit of change in the justice system in dealing with these offenders that has earned him this year’s Barry Sweedler Award. In a relatively short time Mr. Waters has been able to change the way many people in New Zealand view the impaired driving problem. We look forward
to seeing what he has in store for us in the years to come.  

Once again, congratulations to Gerald and to all this year’s nominees.  

About the Barry Sweedler Award  

Barry Sweedler’s influential career in road safety spanned more than three decades. Following his long and distinguished service at the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, he became a founding partner of Safety and Policy Analysis International, and served as the president of the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS). Barry was also a strong supporter of solutions to prevent and reduce alcohol impaired driving, including alcohol ignition interlocks. He was an active attendee at the Annual International Alcohol Interlock Symposia series, and supportive of new attendees, new ideas, and perspectives to advance the field.  

In honor of Barry's contributions to improve traffic safety, the Barry Sweedler Award is conferred upon one individual each year. Nominees of this award have shown leadership in the drunk driving field through their work to support, promote, strengthen, expand and/or advance the use and delivery of alcohol interlocks. They have also encouraged cooperation across agencies and built partnerships to raise awareness about the effectiveness of these devices and best practice program features.                                                                                                                                                              

New guide on interlock vendor oversight released at Symposium  

TIRF is also pleased to announce the release of a new ignition interlock guide, entitled Alcohol Interlock Programs: Vendor Oversight. The 48-page guide looks at protocols for vendor oversight and monitoring for alcohol interlock programs. As interlock programs have grown, staff has also begun to consider the importance of protocols for vendor oversight and monitoring. A vendor oversight plan describes how and by whom vendor services are monitored to ensure that operations are consistent with device and delivery requirements specified in administrative rules or in any contract or certification process. The guide contains a series of practical steps to guide the development process of vendor oversight and highlights relevant issues that require consideration as part of any vendor oversight strategy. The guide also contains sample oversight documents from various jurisdictions across the United States.  

A companion piece to this report that describes critical steps and considerations involved in the transition from a paper-based reporting system to an automated data reporting system for interlock programs will be released in the winter of 2011/2012.  

Hard copies of the report are available by request. Please note that a shipping fee may apply.                  

2012 International Alcohol Interlock Symposium  

Mark your calendars! The 13th Annual International Alcohol Interlock Symposium will be held in Helsinki, Finland in August 2012.


Click here to download the Alcohol Interlock Programs: Vendor Oversight report.
Click here to learn more about the Alcohol Interlock Symposium.

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